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Celeste Pilegard

2023 URH Faculty Mentor Award Recipient


Celeste Pilegard profile image

Please tell us a bit about your educational background and current research.

I received my PhD in cognitive psychology from UC Santa Barbara in 2016. I study how we learn and how, as a consequence, we should teach.

Did you do research as an undergraduate student? How did you get started in your current field?

When I started college I didn't know that professors did research. I ran into a friend from elementary school and her father, a physician, over winter break my freshman year of college. Her father was affiliated with a lab on campus and told me to start going there on Thursday mornings, so I did. It's important to me as a professor to make sure that students have access to research opportunities without relying on such lucky coincidences.

Who are some of your most memorable mentors? How did you meet them?

The mentor I worked with the most as an undergraduate was Dr. Martin Shapiro at Fresno State. I got started in his lab when I met one of his mentees in class and the mentee offered to show me how their EEG equipment worked. Another lucky coincidence.

Why do you enjoy being a mentor?

Mentoring is my favorite part of doing research. I love seeing students develop as scientists, both in their skills and in their identities.

What is the most useful piece of advice a mentor gave you?

Have a hobby outside of work and school.