2018 Thomas F. Donlon Memorial Award
for Distinguished Mentoring
The Thomas F. Donlon Memorial Award for Distinguished Mentoring is presented to a NERA member who is recognized as being an exceptional mentor to her/his students, colleagues, as well as other members in the field of education. In 2018, the recipient of the Donlon Mentoring Award is Dr. Jody Piro
from Western Connecticut State University. There are many aspects of being a great mentor such as demonstrating effective and supportive teaching strategies and providing the necessary support for someone to finish a demanding project such as a dissertation. From her nomination letter and three recommendation letters, it was clear that Dr. Piro supported and guided her students in multiple areas of their educational career. The best way of fully understanding the depth of Dr. Piro’s mentoring skills are seen in the quotes from her supporting letters. For example, “she models the various educational constructs through her teaching, displaying concrete examples which strength-en her pupils own instructional knowledge.” She also had the expertise to be an effective teacher and researcher: “One of my favorite things about Dr. Piro is that no matter what topic or area of concern you bring her; she is always able to bring forth an article or re-searcher to guide you along in your journey.”
As an advisor and friend, Dr. Piro demonstrates the mentorship skills to support her students’ educational goals. “Her mentor-ship pushed and guided me into the best version of myself, and I could not have accomplished this massive undertaking without her steadfast devotion. More than anything though, I am so appreciative of the friendship that has grown through our working relationship and I will be forever grateful she was my advisor.” Another student stated that “she uses her own practical knowledge to help her students and peers avoid potential pitfalls before they occur.” Dr. Piro not only directly mentored her own students, she fostered an environment where her students could build their own healthy relationships with one another: Dr. Piro “wisely created a collegial relationship between her three dissertation advisees so that we could help and support one another throughout our own individual processes. She provided the perfect balance of soft oversight within a structure of guided autonomy.” NERA is very fortunate and happy to have Dr. Jody Piro as a member of our community. She has selflessly dedicated and sacrificed her time and energy to support her students and colleagues and is well-deserving of the NERA Donlon Mentoring Award.