July 26, 2016

2016 CUR Fellows Award – Dr. Jill Singer

Posted by Laura Guertin

Every two years, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) recognizes two CUR members who have influenced undergraduate research through their own research, through scholarly or creative projects with undergraduates, and through demonstrated leadership activities, with the CUR Fellows Award. One of the awardees selected this year is Dr. Jill Singer, Professor of Earth Sciences and Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at SUNY- Buffalo State (see CUR press release). Feel free to explore this interview on SERC’s website to learn more about Jill and her thoughts on mentoring undergraduate student researchers, explore Jill’s contributions to the SERC website, and read summaries of her contributions to CUR Quarterly.

I wrote up some of my thoughts in support of Jill’s nomination for the CUR Fellows Award. I share them here, to bring a smile to the face to those that know Jill, and to encourage others to get to know Jill and as one of the skilled leaders in our discipline of undergraduate research mentoring.

CUR is known as a faculty mentoring organization, and Jill has been one of my earliest mentors since I first learned about CUR back in graduate school. I took a workshop offered by the Geoscience Division of CUR in 1998 at the annual Geological Society of American meeting in Toronto. Jill not only was effective as a workshop leader and understood the knowledge I would need as I transitioned to an early career faculty member, but Jill remembered me from the workshop throughout the entire GSA meeting, taking the time to talk to me about mentoring students and introducing me to other geoscience faculty actively involved in undergraduate research. Jill has always been and still remains an incredible mentor to me today. It is because of her that I am involved with CUR and currently serve as a councilor, and her passion for effectively mentoring students has now become my passion.

If I were asked to name a geoscience faculty member that has made an impact on the enterprise of undergraduate research, Jill Singer’s name rises to the top of the list. To her work on her own campus as an undergraduate research program director, to program officer at the National Science Foundation, to past president of the Council on Undergraduate Research, Jill has effectively contributed to improving the scholarship of student research and establishing best mentoring practices at the local-to-national level. We can certainly look at her impressive list of grants, publications, and numerous students she has mentored, but it is the personal relationships she has developed with both students and faculty that really exemplifies what CUR is all about.

Congratulations and thank you, Jill, for all that you have done for me, for all that you have done for our discipline, and for all that you have done (and that I know you will continue to do!) for every student, faculty member, and institution to have successful research and mentoring experiences.