Janet Myers: Dedicated, inspiring and supportive mentor

The professor of English received the 2015 Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award for her role as director of National and International Fellowships.

A full understanding of the scope and effectiveness of Janet Myers’ mentoring requires a global map.

Myers, a professor of English and director of National and International Fellowships, has been so successful in mentoring students that there has been an exponential increase in the number of students applying for major awards and grants.

Many of the students that Myers has mentored have gone on to be Fulbright recipients and, in February, The Chronicle of Higher Education named Elon as a top producer of Fulbright students.

“Although there are many people who have helped to make these opportunities possible for our students, few are as central to the process as Dr. Janet Myers,” a colleague says.

Myers started teaching at Elon in 2000 and served as the associate director of the Honors Program and fellowship adviser from 2004 to 2008. By 2008 her work as fellowship adviser increased significantly, and she was named director of National and International Fellowships.

“She has used her warm support, incisive editorial eye and immense dedication to help Elon students in English and across the varied disciplines of the university aspire to extraordinary opportunities and achieve internationally recognized prominence,” a colleague says.

Students who apply for fellowships face stiff competition, and many, despite their accomplishments, will not win them. “What Janet recognizes—and what can be difficult to remember in fellowship advising—is the value of the process for the individual students,” a colleague says. “Having someone work with them, one-on-one for long periods of time demonstrates that Elon cares about their development. It helps them develop a clear and demonstrable vision for their future. It makes them better writers, speakers and self-advocates. It prepares them to try, to potentially fail, and to try again.”

She inspires and motivates even under-confident students and is often a student’s greatest cheerleader. She pushes them to reach their full potential.

“Overall, due to her efforts, I was able to walk into my interview with months of preparation and present my best self in ways that I had never known before I met Dr. Myers,” says an Elon junior who applied for a fellowship. “… In all my time at Elon, there has been no professor or process that has forced me to think about and prepare for my future as much as Dr. Myers had with the Truman Scholarship.”

Even after they graduate, students are grateful to Myers for all the support and guidance she provided while they were at Elon.

“I grew so much thanks to the relationships I formed with faculty at Elon who became incredible mentors to me, and I recognize the extra work and commitment it takes to mentor students outside of the classroom,” an Elon graduate says. “Dr. Janet Myers has done this for many students over the years, particularly when it comes to mentoring us for national fellowships and scholarship awards.”

Some of Myers’ former students refer to her as a “superwoman” touting her ability to juggle so many different roles at Elon and still be present to her students.

“The encouragement and dedication that she has toward her students is inspiring,” an Elon graduate says. “The innovative mind and critical analysis from her English background creates an automatic personal statement and statement of purpose writing machines within her students. Also, a unique fact that sticks out to me about Dr. Myers’ mentoring is that she never brings negativity to the table with her students. She always remains positive and keeps an open mind.”

Myers is the eighth recipient of the Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award, which honors a faculty or staff member who demonstrates a commitment to Elon undergraduates through outstanding mentoring. The award was established by Tom and Beth Ward P ’05, ’08, ’14, their sons, A.T. ’05, Christopher ’08 and Chase ’14, and Tom Ward’s mother, Dorothy Mears Ward GP ’05, ’08, ’14.