HWISE Mentorship Highlight: Asher Rosinger

Dr. Asher Rosinger is the Ann Atherton Hertzler Early Career Professor at Pennsylvania State University. He founded and directs the Water, Health, and Nutrition Laboratory (https://hhd.psu.edu/bbh/research/research-labs/water-health-and-nutrition-lab) alongside undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate researchers to understand cross-cultural variation in how humans meet their water needs across distinct ecological contexts and how this relates to both acute and long-term health, hydration status, nutritional status, stress, and disease risk.

“I believe that learning happens best through engaged activities. This is easy when we are in the field, but on campus I use my Water, Health, and Nutrition lab as a key place for mentorship in the lab and field-based methods relating to hydration status, longitudinal data analysis, and field-based data collection. I also encourage peer-to-peer learning in which RAs and students, postdocs do graded mentoring so that they can have even more time with someone who recently went through their stage.

I spend weekly meetings with my mentees going through all aspects of research and professional development and get them engaged in the content – the big “why this is important questions” and then delve into the methods. One of my mentoring philosophies is to provide direct feedback and provide resources and not all the answers right away so that the junior scholars can also push themselves to go through those resources and learn to problem-solve to increase their self-sufficiency and then they can always come back to me if they are stuck.”

Leslie Ford, one of Dr. Rosinger’s Ph.D. student’s who joined his lab in 2019, said “Asher is a hands-on mentor, but that doesn’t mean he wants to do the work for you, instead he encourages you to take ownership of your ideas by working through it independently then letting him know when and where you need guidance. Sometimes the task can seem daunting but he challenges you to push the boundaries of your thinking into spaces that will help you grow by gaining new skills and insights.

“One thing we have been working on in the time of COVID is work-life balance. We set deadlines for different milestones to keep projects on task but also to give a definitive end to the workweek. Asher is always encouraging the students in our lab to go outside, take a run, try something new, or just relax. Everyone is always aware that our mental/physical health and education come first then our tasks for the lab. To this end, he is flexible with the timeline of our projects, and works with us to make sure we are progressing while taking care of our needs outside the lab.”

Another of Dr. Rosinger’s students, Celine Latona, stated that “Dr. Rosinger always has the energy to teach, listen, and inspire others. He takes the time to show his students how to read deeply, analyze evidence, and think critically. He always arrives eager to hear about our interests, both professional and personal. Dr Rosinger’s endless optimism encouraged me to pursue challenging, yet rewarding, professional growth. I am infinitely thankful for his guidance.”

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