Marietta Collins, PhD
associate professor, psychiatry
and behavioral sciences, Emory
University School of Medicine
How did you find a mentor?
I was in my third year of graduate school
when I applied for a research assistantship
with Nadine Kaslow, who worked in
psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
We shared an interest in providing
mental health services for underserved
populations, which had not been an
emphasis in my clinical psychology
program. I hadn’t been able to find a
mentor, and she was someone I could
connect with. She was a very open and
available person. She was also interested in
helping me figure out where I wanted to
go professionally and how to get there.
How did she help you succeed?
Nadine believed in me and encouraged me
in a way that nobody else ever had. I was
an African-American in a predominantly
Caucasian field, and she believed there
was a place for me not only as an African-American, but also as a researcher focused
on underserved populations. She was one
of the first non-African-Americans I felt I
could talk openly with about race issues.
Nadine also created opportunities for
me professionally. When she was writing
an NIH grant about pediatric sickle cell
disease, she invited me to be part of the
process. Once she received funding, I
helped with the study. This experience
helped me when I went on to write grants
of my own.
When I had my first child, she was also
available to talk about the importance
of being a mother and how to balance
my career as a psychologist with being a
parent. She helped me set goals and believe
I could successfully navigate both of these
How are you paying it forward by mentoring others?
When I was part of Nadine’s research lab as a graduate student, I
helped to bring other African-American students to the lab. I had
the opportunity to supervise and mentor these students, interns and
fellows. Once I was a faculty member, I formed the African-American
Training Research Lab, which is a support group for African-American
women in psychology. We have co-authored a couple of articles,
including one about the importance of mentoring for African-American trainees in psychology. I also hold an annual potluck at my
home for incoming minority trainees to give them an opportunity to
network with one another and other minority faculty members.