Staff Highlight: Casey Donart

Casey Donart

The Wei Lab has started a new blog series: staff highlights.  We hope you enjoy getting to know more about the diverse people that compose the Wei Lab.

Where are you from?

I am from a small town in Wisconsin close to Green Bay.

What is your role at the Wei Lab?

I am the Communications Specialist.

What are your research interests?

I have become increasingly interested in education research since joining the lab team. I also am particularly interested within my major about public opinion and how media influences societal viewpoints.

What current projects are you working on for the Wei Lab?

I am always on a social media search for interesting stories and articles to share with our audience. I also can be found writing or researching content for our blog, website, or e-newsletter.

What do you like best about working for the Wei Lab so far?

I appreciate the atmosphere of the lab and how kind and supportive everyone has been thus far. It is amazing being in an environment where everyone is so passionate about their work and wants to make a direct difference in the world of education.

What is your best memory of working for the Wei Lab so far?

Being able to dive in and learn more about the different research projects my colleagues are working on, especially with the INCLUDES grant program and STEM.

What have you gained from working at the Wei Lab so far?

A greater understanding of the research process and different methods to improve inequalities in education, as well as improvements in my communication and strategic planning skills.

What is your personal philosophy?

Plan for the future, but live in the moment.

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?

I think the biggest challenge I have had to face recently was choosing what to major in college and what I wanted my future career path to be. After taking a few classes in Journalism and Strategic Communication early on in college, I came to the realization that this field is absolutely the right path for me.

Why does education matter to you?

Education is so important, not only because it can lead to so many interesting and amazing opportunities, but because knowledge is powerful on its own. Education can open the door for you to so much in life, and it can truly change and develop who you are as a person and allow you to explore so many perspectives you weren’t originally aware of.

Who has had been your most influential mentor?

I would say that my sisters have been the most influential presence in my life. I have two older sisters who have always been there for me to share advice and ‘mentor’ me through all of the important moments in my life. Just having family support from both my parents and my sisters has been incredibly helpful and meaningful to me.

What does equity/inclusion mean to you?

Ensuring that everyone has the resources and opportunities to succeed; creating equitable policies and practices that ensure all individuals can prosper.

What is the best book you have ever read?

I love ‘classic’ literature, so I’d probably have to say Pride and Prejudice!

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

Don’t worry – you’ll figure it all out one day!

How do you define success?

Success is being content with who you are and where you are in life, and living everyday pursuing the things that will make you happy. I think that success isn’t just when you ‘win’, but rather every time that you are actively trying and accomplishing the little things.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend a lot of time writing (mostly poetry)! I also love hanging out with friends, my loving boyfriend, and my amazing family. I’m just trying to enjoy my remaining time in college, and continue to grow both personally and professionally.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been” – George Elliot


How the Wei LAB is Celebrating Diversity Month

April marks the beginning of a month-long celebration of diversity. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ‘diversity’ is the “condition of having or being composed of differing elements”, often referring to “the inclusion of different types of people.”

The Hilliard Sizemore Research Course

This month is a chance for us to acknowledge and honor our differences and individuality, while still remembering our commonalities. We are reminded that despite our gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and more, we are all still Americans.

The Wei LAB is celebrating Diversity Month with a series of research projects and events that pay honor and homage to both our differences and similarities.

Wei LAB Director Dr. Jackson and Assistant Director Dr. Charleston have been busy collecting data for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant research project. The project will study the effectiveness of various mentoring strategies and help broaden the participation of minority students in the STEM fields.

Wei LAB will be ending the month with the 10th Annual Hilliard and Sizemore Research Course on African Americans and Education, which will occur April 27th in San Antonio, TX.

The course will allow scholars and graduate students the opportunity to work directly with researchers on methods that inform studies of African Americans in education. This program aims to improve diversity efforts in schools by giving researchers tools that can be used to combat non-inclusive systemic problems found in our education system.

To learn more about these projects and events, check out the Wei LAB official website.