Professorship and Mentorship: An Interview with Professor Bernadette Pérez
In a series entitled “Professorship and Mentorship,” Princeton Correspondents for Undergraduate Research (PCUR) interview professors from different departments. In these interviews, professors shed light on the role that mentorship has played in their academic trajectory, including their previous experiences as undergraduate and graduate students as well as their current involvement with mentorship as independent work advisers for current Princeton undergraduates. Here, Rafi Lehmann shares his interview.
I met Professor Pérez last semester as a student in her course on Commodity Histories. Throughout the semester, I was inspired by her commitment to interdisciplinary research and her focus on subjugated histories. I was excited to hear about her personal research journey and any advice she might have for a confused undergrad like me.
Did you know you wanted to be a historian as an undergraduate?
No, I was a somewhat clueless undergraduate. I had no idea what I was doing, or what discipline I wanted to be in, or even what the differences were between different disciplines. I ended up doing my Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs—I don’t even quite know why. It wasn’t until my senior year that I discovered a discipline that really matched my interests. In my senior year, I took a geography course taught by a feminist geographer and realized, “Oh, this is what I like! Geography’s so cool!”