Dr. Nicole Pinkard

I met an amazing lady this week. Actually, I met several amazing people this week at the 2013 Digital Media and Learning Conference. I met Tracy Edwards from Pepperdine EDLT Cadre 15, who I began working with since October. I also met Akili Lee, the amazing Director of Digital Strategy and Development of the Digital Youth Network, and Asia Robeson, the Media Arts Coordinator and Mentor. But I was the most touched and inspired by Dr. Pinkard, who pulled me out of my insecurities with a couple of statements, and I thank my lucky star for having had the opportunity to meet her.

During a conversation about my peer-to-peer mentoring project, I said to Dr. Pinkard, “I don’t know anything. I am just a teacher, but that’s just what I think.” She gently reminded me with the warmest smile, “A man would never say that. So you need to quit. You have had to overcome a lot. If a person can’t respect you, it’s their problem, not yours.” She made me stand up straight and be proud of myself with her gentle encouragement. When I shared my desire to pursue the peer-to-peer mentoring project as my doctoral dissertation, she said, “The intent of the Digital Youth Media has always been for others to use it to do more research. No one person can do all the research. I am happy to help you pursue it.”

Then I found out more about her after the conference. A Stanford and Northwestern graduate, she is considered a leading expert in youth digital media. She even has a gigantic Wikipdia page with so many awards! So imagine my surprise how she didn’t dismiss me while I went on and on about how my idea of peer mentoring can make her “good” social media website “amazing.” Despite her status as an expert in the field, she was so open to listening to all my ideas. She truly is an amazing teacher. I can’t wait to work with her some more.