Assistant Professor Jennifer Birch never misses an opportunity to treat her students as if they are her professional colleagues. Where some teachers may reinforce perceptions that they inhabit a lofty, inaccessible world, Dr. Birch recognizes the value of inviting her students into this world early and often. After all, many of them are on track for careers in academia. When asked to identify the leading factors in her own success, Birch points to the teachers and mentors who built up her confidence by treating her with the same collegial respect and high expectations.

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