DOI: 10.14704/nq.2011.9.3.465

The Flapping Butterfly Wings of Gifted Mentorship: Ruth Richards and Saybrook University

Denita Benyshek


Denita Benyshek is a professional artist and doctoral candidate in the psychology of spirituality and consciousness at Saybrook University. Benyshek shares the life events that led her to study at Saybrook. She describes the serendipitous meeting with her future mentor, Ruth Richards, an eminent scholar on creativity. A metaphor from chaos theory, the butterfly effect, illustrates how one comment from Richards led Benyshek into an international network of scholars, conference presentations, and publications. Mentors are compared with gifted educators and gifted mentorship is discussed. Saybrook University’s role, as a gifted institutional mentor, is considered and recommendations are made, including an endowed chair in creative studies, teaching assistantships, conference travel grants, courses in professional practices, and additional support for the essay and dissertation proposal process. Benyshek also proposes a new, innovative program for Saybrook – a master of fine arts degree in transpersonal, humanistic, and socially transformative arts. Finally, ideas for future studies of mentorship are offered.


mentor, gifted adults, gifted mentorship, graduate students, Saybrook University, Ruth Richards, Stanley Krippner, MFA, transpersonal art

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