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2017 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award Winners Announced

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

LAWRENCE — Three people were honored at KU’s 20th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium for their extraordinary commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers.

Audrey Lamb, professor of molecular biosciences, and Lorie Vanchena, associate professor of Germanic languages and literatures, received the K. Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. This award is named after Professor Emeritus of Chemistry K. Barbara Schowen, whose efforts to promote undergraduate research at KU led to the development of the Undergraduate Research Symposium and the Undergraduate Research Awards. Each recipient will receive $1,000. Arghya Paul, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, and Kapila Silva, associate professor of architecture, received honorable mention for this award.

Maria Eifler, collection manager at the KU Biodiversity Institute, was the 2017 recipient of the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. This award was started in 2014 at the request of undergraduate students who wanted to recognize the important role that graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and academic staff play in mentoring undergraduate researchers at KU. The award comes with a $1,000 award. Graduate students Alex Nolte, geophysics, and Erika Northcutt , pharmacology  and toxicology, received honorable mention for this award.

“The mentors honored all engage students in research as a learning and developmental process,” said John Augusto, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “The student testimonials that were part of these nominations testify to the transformational role that a mentor can play in guiding a student’s development as a scholar, both in terms of the technical skills learned as well as the confidence to see oneself making a meaningful contribution to the scholarly conversation.”  

Both mentor awards are coordinated through KU’s Center for Undergraduate Research. Mentors were nominated through a two-part process: Students, faculty or staff submitted recommendations for the award, then home departments and supervisors submitted full application packets. 

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