BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo has announced the
first recipients of a new award that recognizes faculty whose
commitment to mentoring gives UB's undergraduates opportunities to
conduct research and scholarship that are not routinely available
at many institutions.
The new UB Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity grew from awareness
within the university that the best faculty mentors demonstrate a
substantial and consistent commitment to providing students with
transformative educational experiences.
"The opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct research
under the tutelage of our outstanding faculty is a distinctive
feature of the student experience at UB," says Lucinda Finley, vice
provost for faculty affairs at UB. "Mentoring undergraduates in
research, introducing them to the joys of discovery and deeper
understanding that one gains through original research and creative
artistic projects, is a vitally important aspect of teaching at a
research university such as UB."
Winners of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity for 2011 are:
Lynne Koscielniak, associate professor of theater and dance,
College of Arts and Sciences whose mentoring in the areas of
lighting and set design, costumes, props and sound has led to UB
students showcasing their work at the Kennedy Center American
College Theatre Festivals and the Prague Quadriennial of Stage
Design, the world's preeminent stage design exhibit for
professionals and students.
John Ringland, PhD, professor of mathematics, College of Arts
and Sciences, who founded and directs the UB Urge to Compute
Undergraduate Research Program, one of 13 programs of its kind
nationwide, funded by the National Science Foundation and whose
mentoring has resulted in his students publishing in peer-reviewed
publications and presenting research at professional
Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, PhD, professor of biotechnology and
clinical lab sciences, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences,
who developed exceptional research mentoring opportunities for
students in her laboratory and a biotechnology summer internship
program, which placed more than 100 UB students over the past
decade in internships at companies, government labs and scientific
institutes in Western New York and around the world.
Kenneth Takeuchi, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in
the UB Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, who
has long welcomed undergraduates into his research lab even as
freshmen and who has mentored more than 100 undergraduates, more
than half of whom are female, and many of whom go on to pursue
graduate degrees in the sciences.
Jennifer Zirnheld, PhD, assistant professor of electrical
engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who
supervises undergraduates in her lab, some of whom cite her as a
critical factor in their academic and career success, and who
serves as faculty advisor for engineering clubs. She supervises
interns from the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program,
the Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness for Minorities program and
the SUNY Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority program.
Award recipients were honored for establishing a strong
professional mentoring relationship with students, acting as a role
model for methods of inquiry or artistic expression in the chosen
field of study and for the responsible and ethical conduct of
research or creative activity. They demonstrate an ability to
inspire students and support the dissemination of the students'
work through recognized professional outlets.
"These faculty are at the cutting edge of their disciplines,"
says A. Scott Weber, PhD, vice provost for undergraduate education.
"As a university, we think it's incredibly important to honor them
for not only being heavily engaged in scholarship but playing a
pivotal role in developing the scholars of the future, too."
In addition to the offices of the vice provosts for
undergraduate education and faculty affairs, the UB Office of the
Vice President for Research also played an important role in the
creation of this award.
The next round of the awards will be announced during spring
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