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SoHE Recognizes Two Grad Students as Exemplary Mentors with New Award

Winners Madelaine L’Esperance and Carolyn Liesen graduate this summer with an extra feather in their caps.

Graduate student Carolyn Liesen

Madelaine L’Esperance and Carolyn Liesen are the very first recipients of the School of Human Ecology’s new Graduate Student as Mentor Awards. The awards will annually recognize outstanding efforts by two SoHE graduate students (MS, MFA, or PhD) in sharing their time, expertise, and resources with less experienced peers.

“Overall, mentoring is one of those essential skills in academia that often falls under the radar,” Liesen shared from her own experience. “However, I believe that it is one of the most important skills not only in preparing undergraduate students for success in their future prospects, but also in ensuring that current graduate students thrive in a graduate program. The creation of this award in particular shows that SoHE wants to highlight the importance of mentoring and reward those that take the time to professionally guide others.”

Madelaine L'Esperance

Liesen graduated this summer with a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies, with specific interests in parental and contextual influences on children’s cognitive development and school readiness. She was a Future Faculty Partner as a member of the Teaching Academy, recipient of the Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) Outstanding Service Award (spring 2019), lecturer in the HDFS courses “Research Methods” and “Family and Community Influences on the Young Child,” and winner of the department’s 2016 Outstanding Teaching Award.

L’Esperance also graduated this summer. Her PhD is in Consumer Behavior and Family Economics, with research interests including household finance, financial education, social welfare policy, and intergenerational mobility. A 2014 honors graduate of Loyola University Chicago, she excelled in her time at Madison as well: L’Esperance was an Ausman Teaching Fellow, Project Assistant for the Center for Financial Security, Graduate Research Fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty, and Research Assistant for Innovations for Poverty Action–Peru.

On learning she had won the award, L’Esperance remarked, “I am honored to be recognized for mentoring graduate students. I have had many influential mentors in my own graduate school journey, and I am proud to now be able to take on that role myself.”