October 12, 2016
The Geoscience Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (GeoCUR) presented its annual Undergraduate Research Mentor Award last week at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Denver. This year’s recipient of the award is Wendy Bohrson, Professor of Geological Sciences at Central Washington University. Wendy is the sixth recipient of this award, following previous award winners Mark Wilson (The College of Wooster, 2015), Mary MacLaughlin (Montana Tech, 2014), Mary Savina (Carleton College, 2013), Tracey Holloway (Univ. of Wisconsin Madison, 2012), and John Brady (Smith College, 2011).
The following is the citation written by Erin Kraal (GeoCUR) who presented Wendy with the award on behalf of GeoCUR:
Wendy Bohrson has been engaging undergraduates in research since 1999 from working with individuals to transforming university culture. Through Bohrson’s cutting edge research understanding the evolution of magma chambers and young volcanoes, over 25 undergraduates have worked in her group. However, it is not just scientific discoveries that impacts her students. She is described as giving the “most caring, patient, meticulous, and beneficial advising any undergraduate could possible ask for” balancing her approachability and careful guidance with “rigor, scientific integrity, and work ethic.” Though many of her students were funding through NSF grants, students noted that “instead of taking that [faculty] stipend, Dr. Bohrson put the money towards my research…this is just another example illustrating [her] selfless mentoring style.” This commitment and devotion has brought about deep respect from her students as well as their success. Bohrson’s research students regularly win presentations awards at regional and national meeting and have met great success in the graduate school and the professional fields.
At Central Washington University, Bohrson extends undergraduate research beyond her own students as a “leader of undergraduate research at the university level.” She served as the director of both the Office of Undergraduate Research as well as the NSF funded Science Talent Expansion Program (STEP). She initiated a day-long, campus wide undergraduate research symposium and established the Science Honors Research Program for grant funding, together impacting hundreds of students each year. When the NSF STEP granting funding concluded, Bohrson “fought tirelessly to have the program institutionalized” successfully transitioning the STEP mentored research ‘bridging program’ as a permanent part of the university curriculum. Her colleagues note that even while focusing on administrative duties, Bohrson maintained a vibrant research group, where “a student can succeed and experience research at a level suited to their ability.” She is known as a “role model for productive and transformative faculty-student mentoring relationships.”
The Geoscience Division of CUR accepts nominations and self-nominations for the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award annually between March 1st and June 1st. Nominees need not be CUR members. For more information, please visit http://geocur.org/awards/faculty-mentors/application/.