Prior years' winners

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.




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.

CieraLorio_UROPMentorAward2017 2.jpg



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.





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.

Charles Upchurch




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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