The Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement is keenly aware of how much time and energy our faculty contribute to undergraduate research at FSU, and we are glad to be able to recognize that hard work and dedication. In addition to the Honors Thesis Mentor Awards made available by the University Honors Program, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement offers one Undergraduate Research Mentor Award each year reserved for a faculty research mentor participating in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). The $2,000 award is funded by the FSU Student Foundation and presented at the annual FSU faculty awards dinner.
One graduate student/postdoctoral researcher is also selected for a $500 annual award for recognition of excellence in undergraduate research mentoring.
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.
"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.