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2016 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award winners announced

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


LAWRENCE — Three people were honored at the 19th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Kansas for their extraordinary commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers.  The recognition took place last month at the Symposium’s Award Banquet.

Evangelia Chrysikou, assistant professor of psychology, and Shannon Portillo, associate professor of public affairs & administration, each 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.

Derek Reed, associate professor of applied behavioral science, and Jane Barnette, assistant professor of theatre, also received honorable mentions for this award.

Eric Welch, visiting assistant professor in the Jewish Studies Program, was the 2016 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 was also presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium and comes with a $500 award. Susumu Iwasaki, lecturer in the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences, received an honorable mention for this award.

“The mentors honored all excel in their efforts to engage the student in research as a learning and developmental process,” said John Augusto, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “The student letters 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 as capable of 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 a mentor to be considered for the award, then home departments and supervisors submitted full application packets. 

Above: Undergraduate researchers from the Lawrence and Medical Center campuses presented their research projects Feb. 18 at the Kansas Capitol for the Kansas Undergraduate Research Day. Photo by Meg Kumin, KU Marketing Communications