Dr. Janeal White receives national mentorship award

Lamar University family studies professor Dr. Janeal White was recently awarded the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) Emerging Mentor/Teacher Award. Dr. White receives award

Every year, the NCFR recognizes one outstanding family science faculty recipient for their exceptional efforts in teaching and mentorship. White was honored at the NCFR conference in November. 

“Selection for this award is affirmation that I am on the right track to building relationships and creating space for students to engage with me, their peers, the course content, and their future careers,” White said. “To be nominated by my colleagues, students, and alumni for an award like this is deeply moving for me as an educator.” 

The tradition of strong mentorship within family studies dates back to when White was a Lamar student herself. She credits Dr. Kim Wallet for noticing her potential during her time as a graduate student. 

“I am thankful that she took an active role in encouraging me to explore academia as a career option, for the doors she has opened for me to find my place in family science and in the life of Lamar University," White said. 

Since starting her teaching career at Lamar in 2014, White recognized that the mentoring aspect of her program had to evolve due to the transition of a fully online format. Though many would see this as a challenge, White Dr. Janeal Whitesaw it as an opportunity to prove how much she cared for her students and prioritized their guidance. 

“I recognized that I needed additional training to prepare me for a new type of student engagement, and I began taking courses and completing workshops to learn the necessary skills to succeed as an online educator,” White said.  

“Dr. White is a champion for her students. I feel blessed to have been a student of hers, and now to have her as a mentor. Dr. White works tirelessly to ensure that her students succeed academically and professionally,” Lamar graduate counseling student, Ava Simmons, said. “Dr. White's influence has shown me how to guide young people in the fields of family science and mental healthcare.” 

White introduced Simmons to the NCFR where she is currently the Student New Professional Representative for the NCFR Affiliate Councils Board – a position that White once held as a student. 

“Dr. White introduced me to NCFR during my undergraduate time,” Simmons said. “This organization has provided numerous professional opportunities along with information that allows for development and networking.” 

Since 2012, White has served as President and Annual Conference Chair of the Southeastern Council on Family Relations, served as Chair of the MENTORganization of the Texas Council on Family Relations, and served as the Student New Professional Representative on NCFR’s Affiliate Councils Board, which provides leadership for the 37 regional, state, and university level affiliates of the national organization. 

Currently, she serves as Chair of the National Steering Committee for the NCFR Mentoring Academy and was recently elected to serve as the Student New Professional Representative-Elect for NCFR’s National Board of Directors. She’s currently working with a group of Lamar students to establish a new student affiliate in connection with NCFR.