Burt, who received an Emerging Leader Alumni Award, is currently an associate professor in the UW–Madison School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. He earned his PhD from the University of Michigan in 2014.
Though Burt has an impressive publication record, the profile begins, it was not only the volume of his work that stood out for the former University of Michigan student who recommended Burt for the award: “Nine out of the 16 articles [Burt] has published since 2014 were co-authored by graduate students,” noted the recommender, who highlighted Burt’s commitment to helping his students navigate all aspects of academia — including publishing.
The recommender went on to write that Burt’s mentorship extended in many other ways, “from quick text conversations about decisions, to helping me conceptualize research ideas, and reminding me that I was indeed worthy of being at Michigan.”
In the profile Burt also speaks about how he came to his research, which explores the experiences of underrepresented graduate students of color in engineering.
As a new graduate student at the University of Michigan, Burt kept his social life to a minimum. However, some friends in the College of Engineering asked him to join their circle, the profile explains. “I didn’t really hang out that much, but some of my friends were in STEM programs across campus, and they had lots of gatherings. I was always curious why they were gathering so often. I began to wonder if they knew that by gathering, they were retaining each other,” says Burt.
This intellectual curiosity turned into a project for a qualitative research class:
“I didn’t have to have an end goal in mind to start the project,” recalls Burt. “I knew there was something that I was observing, but I had no clue what it was. That’s what made me excited. I was trying to figure out the details of something that wasn’t clear in the knowledge base at all.”
“It was the first time I remember saying out loud, ‘I feel like a scholar,’” he says.
Read more about Burt’s journey and accomplishments, here.