Using an autoethnographic poststructural lens, I examined my academic journey in becoming a qualitative methodologist. I integrated my mentor’s maxims such as, “the institution will not love you back,” “prisoner of your words,” “make plans; if they don’t work, make new plans,” “one has mentors and tormentors and both help shape us,” “ever the opportunist,” “strategic groveling,” “a mosaic approach to mentoring” and “just get naked.” Despite paradigmatic contradictions between my doctoral and postdoctoral experiences, I gained much from working between the polarities of the social science and biomedical discourse. In time, I became a “pathological optimist,” one of the many lessons learned from an academic mentor that eventually led to my professorship.


Qualitative, Autoethnography, Mentoring, STEMM, Academia

Author Bio(s)

Carol A. Isaac is an Assistant Professor of Research at Mercer University-Atlanta, GA, 30341, USA. Her areas of interest are qualitative research methods, and women's leadership in STEMM. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: isaac_ca@mercer.edu.


Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, Arizona State University; Linda Behar-Horenstein, University of Florida; and Molly Carnes, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for their mentorship that created a motley and sometimes foolish academic.

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