Two University of Washington Bothell faculty members who exemplify student-centered education received the 2018 Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research & Creative Practice Mentor Awards.
“It’s always a difficult decision because so many of our faculty practice this on a daily basis,” said Chancellor Wolf Yeigh. “This year, I’m pleased to announce that Jody Early and Milagros Loreto were honored as the award recipients. Like past faculty awardees, they both serve as exemplary role models and resources to other mentors across the campus community.”
Early is an associate professor in the School of Nursing & Health Studies, and Loreto is an assistant professor of mathematics in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.
These two faculty are recognized for making themselves available to students, both supporting and challenging them in a wide variety of projects, presentations and even co-authored papers. They guide their students through their studies and on to careers and graduate school. These mentors have also seen many of their students become mentors themselves.
“I view the student-faculty relationship as reciprocal and synergetic,” Early said. “We learn from each other. I find mentoring is most powerful when I am able to include my students in my community-engaged work and research.”
Early is helping the campus peer health educators with a health and wellness survey, participating in research to rehabilitate stroke patients and guiding students studying the use of mobile phones to promote health. She has taught a collaborative online learning course with the Palestinian Al-Quds University and led a study abroad trip to Sardinia.
“She breeds competent, rigorous and creative researchers with greater goals aimed at making an impact in the lives of people,” one former student said.
Milagros, a first-generation college graduate from Venezuela, shares her math enthusiasm with underrepresented students. She has been the faculty mentor the past three summers for the National Science Foundation-funded summer research experience for undergraduates. Her students have presented research results at the national level, making progress on an unsolved math problem. Several of her students have entered Ph.D. programs.
“I do believe the bond between mentor and students in the pursuit of research has the potential to become a strong collaborative relationship as colleagues in the future,” Loreto said.
Based on her success, she received a grant supported by the Mathematical Association of America for the National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program this summer. It is designed to prepare underrepresented students for research projects.
“Her communication about high expectations is clear. She provides a supportive but challenging environment so that students make substantial contributions to the work,” colleagues said in a nominating letter to the award review committee.
The UW Bothell Office of Research celebrated Early and Loreto at a reception May 30 at the Hollywood Schoolhouse in Woodinville. Each received a $2,000 stipend in recognition of her contributions.