LAWRENCE — Two University of Kansas faculty members and one graduate student will be honored at KU’s 18th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium for their extraordinary commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers. The recognition will take place at the Symposium’s Award Banquet on Saturday, April 25.
Professor Paula Fite, clinical child psychology, and Professor Joy Ward, ecology & evolutionary biology, will receive 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. Professors Darren Canady, English, and Mikhail Barybin, chemistry, also received honorable mention for this award.
“Both Dr. Fite and Dr. Ward have challenged their students to achieve much more than they originally thought they were capable of. Their students have gone on to publish their research in professional journals and present at national conferences,” said John Augusto, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “But what is particularly striking about both Dr. Fite and Dr. Ward is the diverse students they take into their research groups and the differing paths these students take after leaving KU. Both mentors are wonderful examples of the transformational role that a mentor can play in helping students develop critical skills that translate to a variety of career paths.
Carla Harper is the 2015 recipient of the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. She is a doctoral candidate in ecology & evolutionary biology. This award began 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 will be presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium and comes with a $500 award. Rachel Bowes, ecology & evolutionary biology, also received honorable mention for this award.
“Ms. Harper’s nomination packet stood out because of her ability to help students understand how their projects have relevance to the community of scholars within the discipline,” Augusto said. “Combined with her ability to set clear expectations for her students, Carla’s mentoring style has pushed her students to gain a much deeper understanding of the research process.”
All 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. A full list of nominees can be found on the Center for Undergraduate Research’s website for both the faculty and graduate student/staff award.
The 18th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium will take place from 1:30-5:30 p.m. in the Kansas Union, followed by a banquet dinner where the mentors will be presented with their awards. The Symposium will feature over 160 undergraduate student presenters representing a wide variety of disciplines. The program for the Symposium, including a list of presenters, can be found on the Center’s website.