Social Work Spotlight: Meet Manager of Research Support Kendra Wells

Kendra Wells headshotKendra Wells wears many hats as the Manager of Research Support in the School's Center for Social Work Research (CSWR). Kendra has a long history as a Warrior, starting out as a student in 2012 and going on to earn her Master in Social Work with a focus on community, policy and leadership in 2018. Kendra leveraged her extensive research management knowledge to become the first CSWR Assistant of Research Support and more recently transitioned into the Manager of Research Support role. Kendra currently hires, trains, and supervises research assistants who provide technical research support to faculty and community projects via the Research Support Lab. The CSWR provides research support to multiple projects at once and Kendra organizes and manages CSWR staff work on these projects. Kendra also manages the CSWR webpage and the SW Student Research Community, which supports student and faculty research collaborations.

Why did you choose to work at WSU?

The academic, forever-learning culture at WSU was attractive to me in a workplace. I wanted to work somewhere that was forever changing, valued high-standards, and encouraged professional interests of all staff; WSU offers all this and supporting resources.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is being a resource and support for my student staff both professionally and personally. I love the challenge and reward of creating an environment in which they can become confident and proficient in their research abilities. I wasn't always confident with research when I was a student but look where we are now! To bring that same feeling of competency to others means a lot to me.

How did your education prepare you for what you are doing today?

The most valuable things I gained from my education were learning how to respect differing opinions and experiences, appreciate new ideas, and work productively through conflict. All of this came from working in groups!

What's one of the biggest mistakes you made as a student?

As a student, I should have explored more side interests through electives and groups. I think sometimes we can be so focused on our goal we risk not discovering how you could align work and passions more seamlessly.

Do you have any advice for graduating students and alumni?

Social work skills are useful and valuable in many different industries. If you don't explore the unexpected and try to stick with it for a minute, you'll never know how valuable you could be.

How can students interested in research contact you?

I can be reached at

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