A Trailblazing Professor Championing Diversity and Mentorship in Scientific Research

Imagine stepping up to the podium, your research in hand, heart racing, and then the world starts to spin. This was the reality for Jinni Su during her first academic presentation. Fast forward to the present, and Su stands as a beacon of resilience and leadership in Arizona State University’s Department of Psychology. As an assistant professor, her contribution goes beyond leading her own laboratory; it’s her steadfast commitment to nurturing a diverse and inclusive next generation of scholars that distinguishes her.

Leading the Genes, Environment, and Youth Development lab, Su doesn’t just explore the frontiers of genetics and its intersection with social environments; she’s pioneering a path for underrepresented minorities in the field. “My journey was fraught with challenges, as a first-generation college graduate and an international student. I’ve faced those storms, and it’s my mission to ensure my students have a harbor here,” Su reflects on her role as both a mentor and a researcher.

Her outstanding dedication to mentorship recently earned her the 2024 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Early Career Award from the ASU Faculty Women’s Association. This accolade is a testament to her unwavering support and the positive impact she has on her students.

Su’s approach to mentorship is deeply personal. She shares her experiences and the obstacles she overcame, conveying a message of resilience. “I make it clear to my students that it’s okay not to have all the answers. The most profound scholars are those who dare to ask questions and seek help,” Su imparts wisdom garnered from experiences both humbling and empowering.

One of Su’s mentees, a graduate student in psychology, attributes his growth to her guidance. He praised Su for her pragmatic advice on managing tasks and navigating the emotional ups and, particularly, how to handle the inevitable uncertainties and self-doubt that come with academic research. “Jinni emphasized the importance of embracing our mistakes and the journey of learning. She reminded me that setbacks do not define us as researchers,” he shared.

Su is candid about the challenges of academia, including the rigors of publishing and securing research funding. The journey to receive a significant grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism serves as a teaching moment for perseverance. After enduring several rejections and revising proposals, the success was a collective triumph for her lab, showcasing the importance of resilience in research.

The quest for increasing minority representation in genetic studies underpins Su’s mentorship and research. She aims to dismantle the barriers facing underrepresented minorities in alcohol use disorder research, a field historically dominated by data from European-descendant populations. “Understanding the genetic and environmental dynamics is crucial, especially for minorities who face higher risks. Our goal is to preemptively address alcohol use disorder by identifying genetic risk factors early on,” Su explains.

Under Su’s guidance, the Genes, Environment, and Youth Development lab is not just a hub for cutting-edge research. It’s a training ground for the next wave of scientists, equipped not only with technical skills but a deep understanding of the societal impact of their work. Su’s leadership embodies a commitment to inclusivity and support, shaping a future where diversity in research enriches our understanding of complex issues like alcohol use disorder.

In the grand tapestry of scientific inquiry and mentorship, Jinni Su’s story is a vibrant thread, weaving together the principles of perseverance, inclusivity, and guidance. It’s a narrative that not only enriches the academic community at Arizona State University but also paves the way for a more diverse and empathetic world of research.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Understanding the Implications of Linkerd’s New Licensing Model and the Role of CNCF

Recent Changes to Linkerd’s Licensing Model Ignite Industry Conversations and Prompt CNCF…

Unveiling the Top MOBA Games of 2024: A Guide to Strategic Gameplay and Unrivaled Camaraderie

The Best MOBA Games for 2024 Embark on an adventure into the…

Ubisoft’s Unusual Move: The Aftermath of The Lost Crown Speedrun Event and Its Impact on the Gaming Community

Ubisoft’s Unusual Approach Post-Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Speedrun Event In…