Denise Hershey, assistant professor in Nursing, and Richard Lunt, assistant professor in Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, were both recent recipients of the annual Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor of the Year Award.
Two awards are given each year – one to a faculty member representing science and engineering, which was given to Lunt, and one to a faculty member representing the social sciences and humanities, which was given to Hershey.
Josilyn Roberts, an undergraduate student in the College of Nursing, and one of Hershey’s mentees, nominated her for the award.
“I began interacting with Dr. Hershey because she was committed to getting future undergraduate nurses involved in nursing research, but as time went on she became my trusted mentor,” Roberts said. “She is extremely patient and knowledgeable, and never made me feel inadequate when I didn’t know how to do something. Even though I work for her, I feel like she does so much more for me than I do for her, and I do not know how to repay her. She laughed when I told her this and said she would call it even if I promise to remember that whenever I have an opportunity to mentor someone and treat them with the same patience and support.”
John Suddard-Bangsund, an undergraduate student in Materials Science and Engineering, and one of Lunt’s mentees, nominated him for the award.
“What is remarkable about Dr. Lunt as an undergraduate advisor is his ability to see the potential in students and find projects that are meaningful and engaging,” Suddard-Bangsund said. “In my first semester working with him, Dr. Lunt assigned me an independent research project. The responsibility and trust he placed in me with this project empowered me to develop my own solutions to problems I encounter and to become confident as a researcher. The environment he creates for undergraduates is supportive and intellectually stimulating. He encourages us to contribute to discussion, to ask questions, and to be involved as much as any graduate student.”
This award recognizes MSU faculty members who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers. The award is completely student-driven, as only undergraduate researchers can submit nominations and the University’s Undergraduate Research Ambassadors review and select the finalists.
“These awards mean a lot to those receiving them because they are solely based upon the personal experiences our undergraduate students have with faculty members,” Korine Wawrzynski, assistant dean of Academic Initiatives & director of Undergraduate Research, said. “It is a great opportunity for our students to publicly thank their mentors for the guidance they have provided them.”
The awards were presented during the annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum on April 10, 2015. For more information about undergraduate research at MSU, visit the MSU Undergraduate Research website.