Prior Years' Winners

The Undergraduate Faculty Research Mentor Award for 2020 was presented to Dr. Elizabeth Coggeshall for mentoring UROP student Luis Sanchez in research about modern language, Italian, and Dante Alighieri.

 

Dr. Elizabeth Coggeshall
"Close mentorship of undergraduate students in the fields of the humanities is essential, primarily because students arrive at college with little to no idea – not even a fictional one – of what professional humanities research actually entails and how collaborative it can be. I find that many students begin their college careers with a deep-rooted passion for the humanities, but have only a vague notion of what it means to do the work on a professional level.

In my role as a UROP mentor, I focus on the transferable skills that can be acquired through humanities data collection, fostering curiosity, rigor, and clarity of expression. I know that few undergraduate students who choose to collaborate with me on my project On the Resonance of Dante’s works in Contemporary Culture will go on to become scholars of medieval Italian literature, so I encourage students from the earliest stages to chart their own path within the landscape of the work that we do.The data that we collect in our archive vary greatly across different genres, media formats, content areas, and geographical provenances. I work closely with my UROP students to locate materials that most stimulate their curiosity, and then I encourage them to gravitate further toward those items for their independent research and creative projects. In doing so, I actively foster each student’s sense of ownership over the questions they ask and the ideas they produce."

—Dr. Elizabeth Coggeshall, from her research statement (Pictured with her nominating student, Luis Sanchez)

“Though teaching classes, writing books, and raising a child, Professor Elizabeth Coggeshall has dedicated the time to be an outstanding research mentor to me and others. Through her expertise and warmth, she has created lovers of Dante Alighieri and the Italian language out of her students. Being a young scholar, she knows how to effectively communicate with her mentees, and sincerely empathizes with the trials that undergraduate researchers undergo. She has supported me in my endeavors, in giving great feedback on my work, and in my best interest, has directed my attention toward many calls-for-papers and undergraduate journals. When she was sick with the flu, she still found the time to respond to my emails and even ask how I was getting along. Professor Coggeshall has talked me through personal problems, checked on me during my first conference out of state, and continues to insist on buying the coffee in each and every one of our meetings. She’s selfless, indefatigable, and so humble as to prefer my calling her 'Beth'."

—Luis Sanchez, UROP student 2019-2020, from his nomination letter


The Post-Doc Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2020 was presented to Dr. Lorenzo Ruffoni. Dr. Ruffoni mentored UROP student Miguel Barquinero in mathematics beyond proofs and theory.

 

Dr. Lorenzo Ruffoni

"As a first-generation college student, I am deeply aware of the fact I can be a researcher today mainly thanks to the amazing mentors who have guided and inspired me through school and college. This is a debt that I am very excited to pay back by mentoring undergraduate students, initiating new minds to the pleasures of research.

My area of research is Pure Mathematics; the problems we are interested in are abstract, not quite motivated by applications or concrete problems, but rather by aesthetic taste: we choose problems because members of the mathematical community are fascinated by them. Finding other people with whom to work on a problem is somehow similar to finding friends who agree to try my favorite restaurant. As with colleagues, so with students, with one major difference: students are not expected to have a refined culinary taste, nor even to know how to use utensils. When mentoring undergraduate students, my main objective is helping them to gain technical knowledge so they can transition from the status of student to that of collaborator. It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever tried to do. When it happens, my research gets a scientific boost too, as an inexperienced collaborator is an unbiased collaborator, able to bring a fresh point of view to the project."

—Dr. Lorenzo Ruffoni, from his research statement

"At the start of my first semester in UROP, I knew nothing more than just the theory, Dr. Ruffoni additionally introduced me to the world of formal mathematics. It is vastly apart from the classroom mathematics with which most students are familiar. The proofs must explain everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. He taught me how to create abstracts for a variety of audiences, from the randomness of the UROP Symposium to the quite informed and knowledgeable audience of mathematics conferences. At the start of my first semester, I knew nothing  about Group Theory or Abstract Algebra, much less Right Angled Artin Groups. It is a testament to Dr. Ruffoni's guidance and mentorship capabilities that I was able to go from such a position to coauthoring what will likely be peer reviewed paper, publishable to an official journal."

—Miguel Barquinero, UROP student 2019-2020, from his nomination letter


The Graduate Student Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2020 was presented to Katherine Musacchio Schafer. Katherine Musacchio Schafer mentored Gabriela Herrerias and Summer Grace Fulcher in researching meta analysis on the risk and preventive factors of veteran suicide.

 

Katherine Musacchio Schafer

"Imagine meeting over a dozen undergraduate students, all of whom excitedly and emphatically want to collaborate with you. Imagine their eagerness to contribute, so many good ideas, and obvious potential for academic success. Now imagine the impossible task of choosing just two. Choosing two who will be smart, quick, efficient workers. Choosing two who will happily meet with you until the project is done. And most importantly, choosing two who will be kind, lighthearted, and a joy to work with. As a Undergraduate Research Opportunity Mentor that was my task.

Working with Gabrielle Herrerias and Summer Fulcher is one of the greatest joys during my time as a Florida State University graduate student. They challenge me, even by their mere presence, to conduct strong and bold academic research. I am immensely grateful for our time together.

I often consider myself lucky to be working with such strong UROP researchers. I routinely ponder my good fortune in working with them. I wonder if working with such competent and kind students is good luck, or if there is something more. Will I be able, as I continue my academic career, replicate this success and continue to work with strong upcoming scientific researchers? Being a scientist, I keep a running list as to some hypotheses that led me to working with Gabrielle and Summer. This is a “living document” that I am sure will over time, as I learn who I am as a mentor. But this is a good start, and I hope to continue the good fortune of wonderful mentoring in the future."

—Katherine Musacchio Schafer, from her research statement

"My research mentor Katherine Musacchio Schafer is truly one of the best mentors I have had to this day. As a first time student in the UROP program, the first few weeks in the program could be quite nerve racking as you embrace yourself for the weeks of interviews and meetings with research mentors ahead. Katherine was in the process of conducting a meta analysis on the risk and preventive factors of veteran suicide. With ease I responded that my grandfather was a veteran and I know plenty of others who are as well and the topic had resonated with me. She could see the genuineness in my answer and was really astonished. Katherine later contacted me asking if I would be willing to be a part of her research team and at that moment it was an offer I could not refuse."

—Gabriela Herrerias, UROP student 2019-2020, from her nomination letter

"Katherine Schafer is one of the most outstanding leaders that I have had the honor of working with at Florida State.  Anyone who knows her knows how passionate she is about her research and how it will be used to benefit the lives of others.  From the beginning of my assistantship, it has always been clear how deeply she cares for her studies, her family, and her students. Katherine Schafer truly has a heart for others, and this can be observed in everything she does.  Her mentorship and careful guidance has opened so many doors for me and for her other students who seek to achieve great endeavors. I can not express in words how grateful I am for everything she has allowed us to learn from her, and I earnestly look forward to working with her in the future."

—Summer Grace Fulcher, UROP student 2019-2020, from her nomination letter

 

The Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor Award for 2019 was presented to Dr. Paul Conway for mentoring UROP student Kailyn O'Connor in research about morality and justice and how people think about good and bad.

Dr. Paul Conway (nominated by UROP student Kailyn O'Connor)

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"Over the past three years, I have mentored six honors students, two UROP students, and fourteen directed independent studies students (though one name appears twice). My style of mentorship tends to involve not only regular laboratory meetings where the whole lab discusses relevant research, but also working one-on-one with each student to develop a novel empirical hypothesis, design measures to operationalize and manipulate the constructs in question, obtain ethics clearance, make the actual questionnaire, obtain participants, and analyze the results together, before crafting posters and manuscripts together. In other words, I treat undergraduates like graduate students—collaborators in generating, testing, and communicating cutting-edge science. 

Naturally, then, my style of mentorship involves hours and hours of time spent together with students in my office doing science. Sometimes my colleagues suggest I spend too much time this way, but in my view the process is useful. Students get steeped in psychological theory as they work to first derive hypotheses and later compare their results to expectations and previous research. Along the way, students organically pick up skills in designing research, analyzing data, and presenting results. We discuss each of these steps as they come up in the process of doing research before performing the steps in question. This facilitates deep learning and retention because each concept is immediately self-relevant."
— Dr. Paul Conway

"Dr. Conway made my experience in UROP much more fulfilling than I expected it to be. He had faith in me to basically run a whole study on my own with his guidance when I had never done anything in research before. I had a wonderful opportunity of running my own experiment and getting first hand experience in the field. Dr. Conway was a wonderful mentor to have. Because this was my first time every doing research I was very confused in the beginning. Dr. Conway was patient with my confusion, answered all of my questions and helped me every step of the way. Not only was I involved in my own research but he also got me involved with several other projects that he is mentoring. With those other projects I got even more first hand experiments by running participants in the lab for a few hours every week. I am so thankful for everything that Dr. Conway has taught me and I look forward to working with him in continuing my research."  – UROP Student Kaitlyn O'Connor

The Undergraduate Research Post-Doc Mentor Awards for 2019 was presented to Dr. Peter Cheetham. Dr. Cheetham mentored UROP student Alexia Mullings in researching superconductive materials at the Center for Advanced Power Systems.

Dr. Peter Cheetham (nominated by UROP student Alexia Mullings)

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Alexia Mullings left, Dr. Peter Cheetham right

"My philosophy in mentoring undergraduate student researchers is to nurture their scientific curiosity, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. The nurturing process is multifaceted, as it encompasses the development of both their scientific and technical skills as well as their personal and professional skills.

The students I have mentored are from diverse backgrounds and varied science and engineering majors. However, there are a few firsts all of them are exposed to when working with me. My major research focus is on the development of superconducting power cables which is primarily hands on research with a direct real-world application. For the undergraduate researchers, this is their first time working in an engineering laboratory setting, first time working with the constraints of the real world, first time realization that cost is an important constraint when solving an engineering problem, and first time they are expected to learn from the failures, which are part of the research and development process. These are a lot of firsts the students will experience as part of working under my mentorship. When you consider this is only a part-time 10 hours per week position, these are the areas that I must emphasize when mentoring." — Dr. Peter Cheetham

"Dr. Peter Cheetham has demonstrated outstanding guidance and mentoring during my UROP research project by giving me the opportunity to observe projects and experiments that take place at the Center for Advanced Power Systems, even when they do not involve my own research, in order to give me the opportunity to gain more exposure to real life projects and environments that engineers work in. Through my research I have learned an extensive amount about superconducting materials due to the resources provided to my by Dr. Cheetham. He has also given me the chance to branch out and learn more about 3D printing by working more closely at the InnovationHub with the people who work there. He has also given me tutorials on the Comsol and SolidWorks programs, which is exciting to me because not many first-year students are exposed to these tools. Dr. Cheetham has made an effort to always be available to myself and his other undergraduate research assistants as a source of guidance whenever we have any questions and I greatly appreciate it." — UROP student Alexia Mullings

The Undergraduate Research Graduate Student Mentor Awards for 2019 was presented to graduate student Kate Hill. Kate Hill mentored Elizabeth Campos in researching sponges and their ecosystems.

Kate Hill (nominated by UROP students Elizabeth Campos)

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"A good mentor can foster a student’s interest in a subject area, help them develop lifelong skills, and provide career guidance. My undergraduate experience was largely shaped by my mentor, and his support and interest in my development as a scientist changed my career trajectory. With this great responsibility in mind, I aspire to help my mentees create original projects, cultivate transferrable skills, and explore future career paths.

Student investment in research is built from curiosity and sustained by the student having ownership of a project. My relationship with each mentee begins when they read a paper from the primary literature in preparation for interviewing for a position in the lab. Reading the paper gives us a shared experience, and I open the interview by asking them what interested them and what challenged them about reading the paper. I listen for what interests them, as this may point to a future direction for their research project. Discussing the scientific paper sets the tone that I value their input and that I believe that they are capable scholars. As students begin working in the lab, I encourage them to ask questions and make observations to promote their curiosity, independence, and critical thinking skills. For example, one of my students noticed that different sized sponges had different symbiont communities. Using her observation, I guided her through the process of posing a scientific question, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing the results for a presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. By helping students design projects inspired by their observations, students are more invested in the research project. As a result, they tackle more" — Kate Hill

"Kate Hill has demonstrated outstanding guidance and mentorship through the time of our UROP study. Kate exemplifies the meaning of constant support and dedication to her work and has shown me a new light to the research field. She goes out of her way to help my cohort and me with our projects and has shown us the diverse aspects that build a researcher.

When I first began on this project, I had no idea of the complexity and beauty behind sponges and the tiny ecosystem that lives in and around it. Her passion for this project and the creatures that live within the sponge motivates me to come into the lab and discover something new. Whenever I would get confused about a certain aspect of the sponge, she would help me understand and build my own answer out of the problem while providing resources such as academic literate to further learn about sponges. Whenever I get stuck on my project, she guides me in the right direction and allows me to realize where I make a mistake and then correct to learn from that experience. She has extended me different opportunities and programs such as Research Experiences for Undergraduate and is aiding me through this application process. Kate has inspired me to pursue my master’s in biology and has kindled a fire in me to pursue research head-on. She takes her time to explain the wonderful reality of the research field and how she’s made progress.I will always be grateful for the opportunities and guidance Kate has given me through this program. She has surpassed my expectations and has encouraged me to keep thinking outside of the box, or in this case, around the sponge." — UROP Student Elizabeth Campos.

The Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2018 was presented to Dr. Meredith McQuerry for mentoring UROP student Reannan Riedy on a project that aims to investigate printed cooling technology on T-shirts.

Read more about Dr. McQuerry’s work here.

Dr. Meredith McQuerry (nominated by UROP student Reannan Riedy)

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Dr. Meredith McQuerry

"My overarching philosophy for mentoring and guiding undergraduate students through the research process is to “lead by example.” I strive to provide students with sufficient resources to tackle challenges and answer difficult questions independently, feeling comfortable to seek my guidance as necessary. My approach begins with introducing students to a research topic or problem and guiding them towards a comprehensive understanding of the subject. In some cases, the definition of the research problem is outlined by my ongoing projects, but other times, the students come forward with their own individual research interests. I do believe the latter is my favorite: to observe a student as they blossom in their understanding of a subject and to watch their self-confidence and pride grow as they discover the ability to design, execute, and analyze their own independent research.

[I also strive] to engage students in the broader research community on the local, national, and international stage. My students have presented posters and given research presentations at FSU events, regional consortiums, and international conferences. I encourage students to take advantage of every opportunity to build their network and gain confidence in their presentation skills. I strongly believe in supporting students in this type of outreach as I would not be where I am today had it not been for my research mentors providing me with the same opportunities.”  – Dr. Meredith McQuerry

"An “inspiration" is really the best way that I know how to describe Dr. Meredith McQuerry. Although this was her first year inviting UROP students onto her project, it was very clear that she wanted to do the best she could for the sake of the students…Some of her UROP students came in with no knowledge on the field of textile quality assurance, but her commitment to providing us guidance through these past two semesters has been outstanding. Her door is always open to both her lab assistants and her numerous students throughout the Retail Entrepreneurship program, despite the numerous projects she is working on. Dr. McQuerry provides us with the means to do our own literature reviews and come up with our own ideas, and is even willing to implement these ideas into her own projects. For example, when I came to her saying that I was interested in visually assessing a component of our research on a microscopic level, [so] she put me in touch with a contact at the MagLab and generously added my idea to the project.

 Beyond being a truly wonderful person and educator, Dr. McQuerry's research portfolio is both impressive and impactful. Dr. McQuerry's research serves to help real people in the real world as they perform their everyday jobs. The project that the UROP students are assigned to focuses on testing the durability of t-shirts with an active cooling finish. These shirts are designed specifically to benefit migrant workers who work in an agricultural setting. The phase change material (PCM) cools the human body down when it reaches a specific temperature.

 I will be forever grateful for the opportunities and support that Dr. McQuerry has provided me with during this experience. I have learned more than I ever though I would about research and have truly developed a love for it. Not only does Dr. McQuerry excel as a researcher and an educator, but she also impacts her students' lives every single day."  – UROP Student Reannan Riedy

The Undergraduate Research Post-Doc/Graduate Student Mentor Awards for 2018 were presented to graduate students Henry Cuddy and Joshua Gagnier. Henry mentored UROP student Sergio Carlos Tamez in researching carpentry in 17th century Spanish Florida. Joshua mentored both Madison Orlowski and Luciana Villarroel in researching organic synthesis with microwaves.

Henry Cuddy (nominated by UROP student Sergio Carlos Tamez)

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Henry Cuddy (right) and Sergio Carlos Tamez (left)

My primary intentions for applying for a UROP mentee were simply to have someone share in my boundless love for Spanish colonial history and to give someone the opportunity to earn a publication credit for their contributions to my research article. I will happily admit that I was not prepared for the quality of assistance I was given by Sergio, and I realized my folly almost immediately after our initial interview. The students who apply for research assistantships through UROP are dedicated, driven, creative, inexhaustible, and have an immense desire to learn. I wanted to match that enthusiasm with my own passion for this project and sharing the experiences and tools I have acquired in my own academic career…Sergio comes from a different academic background than I do and has an immense drive and enthusiasm that I have tried to foster with this project. I encourage him to share his ideas and input whenever possible to strengthen the project and take it down new avenues that I might never have considered on my own. It is my belief that a mentor-assistant relationship is not beneficial for either party unless both learn something new from the experience. Sergio's perspective and contributions to my research are instrumental to my project and the challenge of viewing my work as a teaching tool has undeniably strengthened its overall coherence and value." - Henry Cuddy

Working with Henry Cuddy on his research project in UROP this year has been an incredible experience. Henry has a passion for living history and ensuring that marginalized voices and people are heard and seen, and his research into the carpenters at Mission San Luis, who were in fact Apalachee Native Americans, showed just that. The research that we did required that Henry fly to Sevilla in Spain to collect 17th and 18th century Spanish documents so that we could transcribe and translate them. Although I am a native Spanish speaker, transcribing and reading 17th century Spanish script was very difficult. Henry provided excellent resources for learning how to read the unique Spanish abbreviations that helped me become more confident in my transcriptions, and also gave me my first experience in working with historical primary documents. I plan to attend graduate school for ancient history, so having experience and the skills to read difficult ancient documents is critical for my future goals, and I’m grateful Henry helped me through some of the more tedious transcriptions. Most importantly, Henry became a valuable mentor for me, an out gay person, because he is an openly transgender man pursuing graduate work in history. When I first met Henry, he had just begun his transition…and in our interview he was open about the challenges that he would be facing this year as we worked together. Seeing an openly LGBTQ person studying history at the post-graduate level and working in a living history museum, interacting with and educating students, was a powerful moment for me. Classics and History faculties, unfortunately, are still overwhelmingly white, male, and straight, and sometimes that can be discouraging for LGBTQ and POC students who want to be professors and pursue Ph.Ds. But Henry’s research demonstrates the valuable insights diverse researchers can bring to academic discourse…” - UROP Student Sergio Carlos Tamez

Joshua Gagnier (nominated by UROP students Luciana Villarroel and Madison Orlowski)

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Joshua Gagnier

My goal when I mentor an undergraduate is to make them a better researcher and scientist so that the scientific community can prosper, in particular my field of chemistry. With current academic standards pushing STEM programs, it becomes clear that the people within any STEM program must be well versed in their field of study as well as other fields. They must find ways to connect their views with the world around them and be able to analyze all things to the best of their ability. With this in mind I utilize what I term the “See-Do-Teach” method. I apply this method as I teach my research assistants the process of being a scientific researcher beginning with simple techniques before moving to more advanced techniques, and intermittently discuss theory eventually leading them to how they can branch off without my guidance. The use of a mentor is quite helpful for growth of a new researcher. When I started research, my very first day my professor told me what my project was, what reaction I needed to begin with and said good luck. I was thrown to the wolves with almost no experience, and no immediate guidance. It took me a while to grow as a researcher, and my thoughts went to the old saying about teaching a man to fish, and how someone would learn to fish without a teacher. I often recall my struggle and failures, yet somehow got enough results to publish my first paper. Overtime I grew as a researcher, and after coming to graduate school feel more confident in my abilities. I mentor my students as to bypass the mistakes and pitfalls I made, so that they can grow faster. I view every opportunity as a teaching moment whether successful or otherwise.” - Joshua Gagnier

Josh has been a wonderful mentor and has graciously answered all the questions I have had regarding to the lab and beyond. Like Josh, I have plans to go to graduate school for Chemistry. His wisdom about Chemistry, the process of applying to and attending graduate school, and life in general has made him a life mentor, not just a research mentor.  He has inspired me to get more involved in the Chemistry department at FSU and to continue doing research after he graduates in the Fall. His passion for Chemistry and research are undoubtable after witnessing some of the late-nights and weekends he spends in the laboratory. In the few months I have known Josh, he has inspired me to be a better Chemist, inquirer, and student." - UROP student Luciana Villarroel

I was accepted to a research position under Josh in an organic chemistry lab, even though I have never taken organic chemistry in my life. This demonstrates, above anything, what a great teacher Josh is. How far I, individually, have come in my knowledge of chemistry is astounding. This is all due to Josh’s diligence, mentorship, compassion, and willingness to teach with the patience to explain the answer to any question, no matter how complex or simplistic. He assigned me chapters to read and practice problems from the organic chemistry textbook to help me catch up, and reviewed answers and explained to me anything and everything I failed to understand… I have learned so much through this research experience and through Josh’s mentorship. Not only have I discovered the meaning and process of research, but I am familiar with a laboratory setting and I feel comfortable with real-life chemistry. Not to mention, when I finally do take Organic Chemistry I this fall, it’s safe to say it won’t be nearly as challenging. All of these benefits I have acquired through working in the lab are due to Josh’s dedication to not only his research, but to sharing his research with me.” - UROP Student Madison Orlowski

 

The Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2017 was presented to Dr. Lauren Weingarden for mentoring UROP Chase Van Tilburg on a project that aims to digitize a collection of 2,000 19th-century stereocards.

Read more about Dr. Weingarden’s work here.

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Dr. Lauren Weingarden

“Whether serving as an Honors in the Major director or as a UROP mentor, I have encouraged my students to think outside the box and to cultivate projects that foster intellectual exchanges across the university community.” – Dr. Lauren Weingarden

"Dr. Lauren Weingarden has been an amazing and inspiring mentor. From the beginning, she was adamant about me making the project I was assisting on my own and expanding upon it. Her energy always pushes me to dig deeper and push my work further… Because of her I have stepped out of my comfort zone and have started to create something really amazing with my research. Dr. Weingarden has instilled a passion in me for research that I never thought would be there and has greatened my undergraduate experience." – UROP Student Chase Van Tilburg

 

The Undergraduate Research Post-Doc/Graduate Student Mentor Award for 2017 was presented to Ciera Lorio for her role in mentoring UROP student Jenna Wolff in the research of communication disorders in children.

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Ciera Lorio with her son August

“As a mentor, I may be the first person to formally introduce a student to the world of research. My goal is to show students that research is not ‘boring’ or ‘scary’, and that it can actually be fun! I strive to provide undergraduate students with an experience that does not start and stop at data collection and video coding; I want my students to be actively involved in the entire research process.” – Ciera Lorio

“While my UROP colloquium was useful for learning general information about research, Ciera taught me the vast majority of what I learned this year. Her calm, and quiet manner paired with her wealth of knowledge on the subject matter made her an incredible mentor. She helped guide me in the right direction when needed, but also gave me some flexibility so that I could grow as a student and as a researcher.” – UROP Student Jenna Wolff

 

The Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2016 was presented to Dr. Steve McDowell for his role in mentoring UROP student Matthew Hebron on his research into how media covers diplomatic conflicts. Dr. McDowell has mentored several UROP students this year and in years past.

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Dr. Joe O'Shea (left) with Dr. Steve McDowell

"I have been privileged to work with some exceptional undergraduate students during my career at Florida State University, and especially during the last three years with students in the UROP program. In these and other activities I have sought to engage and include undergraduate students at the level to which they are ready and willing to respond and move forward.” - Steve McDowell

"Dr. McDowell has encouraged me to transcend expectations of an undergraduate freshman. I will have presented at three conferences by the end of this year and he has offered to assist me in publishing a paper on my project. By provoking me to think critically about my own work, Dr. McDowell has prepared me well to present my research among respected faculty and fellow students.” - Matthew Hebron, UROP Student

 

The Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2015 was presented to Dr. Charles Upchurch for his role in mentoring UROP student Erin Trumble in research of the humanities.

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Dr. Charles Upchurch (left) with Dr. Joe O'Shea

"Undergraduate research is the future of the humanities at the university level.... For my undergraduate research assistants, such as those within the UROP program, my assumption is that they are considering careers in research, and so I design tasks that allow them to see the multiple steps a project goes through, from initial idea to published work."--Charles Upchurch

"I have benefited immensely from my UROP experience and much of it is due to the efforts of my mentor, Professor Upchurch. My understanding of the research process in our field was clearly important to him.... The fact that he asked for and valued my opinion made me feel as if I was more ingrained in the research. Professor Upchurch made sure that I had the mental skills to better understand how to approach research. More, he inspired me to continue doing research by giving me the tools with which to do it and making me realize that doing my own research project was completely within my capabilities." Erin Trumble, UROP student

 

2014's Undergraduate Research Mentor Award was presented to Dr. Elizabeth Stroupe (Biological Science) for her guidance of an undergraduate studying properties of an unusual DNA structure, known as a G-quadruplex, as well as their protein partners. Research shows that these structures are directly connected with human diseases like cancer.

Dr. Elizabeth Stroupe

"My objective is to guide students in my laboratory so they grow into independent, mature researchers who take responsibility for their own research question. I use a hierarchical strategy to teach laboratory skills in stages of increasing sophistication so students learn to puzzle about questions until they can find the answer. I foster a collaborative environment where this individual learning occurs in a supportive environment. Regardless of a student's path in life, I feel these are lessons that will serve him or her well." --Elizabeth Stroupe

"Dr. Stroupe treats undergraduate students like we are her colleagues. She will always listen to questions carefully and with full attention,and give very thorough response," said Trevia Jackson, nominating student.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Latika Young, Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Undergraduate Research.

Click here for other past award winner highlights.

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