STAR Faculty Mentors routinely go above and beyond in their duties as mentors. To recognize some of our best faculty mentors, the Office of Undergraduate Research established the STAR Scholars Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award in 2011. STAR Scholars are able to nominate their faculty mentors by submitting an official nomination form and writing a letter explaining why they believed their Mentor deserved the award. These words of gratitude are then incorporated into a personalized letter, signed by Provost Greenberg, for each of the nominated mentors, thanking them for their service.
Outstanding Mentor of the Year
Many STAR Scholars nominate their faculty mentors for the Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award; throughout these nominations, the Mentors are uniformly recognized for the following:
- They are passionate experts in their field who freely share their expertise with students.
- They care deeply about their students and treat them with respect.
- They create comfortable but challenging work environments that facilitate open discussion.
- They generously foster students’ intellectual and professional development.
- They actively engage students in learning and celebrate their success.
- They are kind and patient.
- They go above and beyond in supporting their students.
Thank you, STAR Faculty Mentors, for all you contribute to the STAR Scholars’ experiences each summer!
In Summer 2013, the Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Glen Muschio (Digital Media, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design). Dr. Muschio received a plaque engraved with his name, as well as a $1,000 grant to support his further work with undergraduate researchers.
Dr. Glen Muschio has shown an outstanding commitment to mentoring, developing, and supporting STAR Scholars and other undergraduate researchers. In nominating Dr. Muschio for the award, mentee Zachary Stockmal wrote:
Glen challenges us to care about the project as much as he does… He went out of his way to make sure I had the necessary research materials; he prepared me for the work ahead, on his own behalf. And whenever the time came that travel was necessary to do more research, he took care of it without a moment’s hesitation. …It was his sheer joy in the work that we were doing that inspired me to care so much about my STAR project. Anyone can spend a summer doing research, but with Glen Muschio, it became more than just research – it became an adventure. This research project turned into a trip to the past that was intriguing and invigorating… .I might pursue a Master’s degree so that I could be a man like him.
Dr. Muschio has inspired students in this same way for years. He was the first and only non-engineering mentor in the first year of the STAR Scholars Program (AY 2002-2003), and he has served as a mentor nearly every year since then. Over the past 11 years, Dr. Muschio has mentored more than 17 STAR scholars, including Amol Sathe (STAR Alumnus ‘03), who earned a BS/MS in Digital Media, works for Disney Animation, and was recognized this year as lighting supervisor for Paperman, winner of the 2013 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Dr. Muschio also mentored Jim Malazita (STAR Alumnus ’05), which is currently a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Culture & Communication and who acted as a STAR Mentor this summer to Colton Terrace. Recently, Dr. Muschio, Jim Malazita, and Mark Petrovich (another Digital Media graduate student and STAR Alumnus), along with the OUR Staff, wrote an article for the Council of Undergraduate Research on the STAR Scholars Program and the emerging discipline of Digital Cultural Heritage.
Dr. Muschio understands the importance of immersing undergraduate students in a discipline, understands undergraduate research as a transformative experience for students, and gets the fact that undergraduate research benefits our students, their mentors and the University as a whole. And for that, we honor him as Outstanding STAR Mentor for 2012-2013.
In Summer 2012, the Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Jean-Claude Bradley (Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences). Dr. Bradley received a plaque engraved with his name, as well as a $1,000 grant to support his further work with undergraduate researchers. He plans to use the grant for travel, chemicals and other applications that would enable his group to continue their research efficiently.
Dr. Jean-Claude Bradley is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the College of Arts and Science at Drexel University. He has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and has published articles and obtained patents in the areas of synthetic and mechanistic chemistry, gene therapy, nanotechnology and scientific knowledge management. Dr. Bradley leads the UsefulChem project, a synthetic organic chemistry initiative started in the summer of 2005 to make the scientific process as transparent as possible by publishing all research work in real time to a collection of public blogs, wikis and other web pages. Jean-Claude coined the term Open Notebook Science (ONS) to distinguish this approach from other more restricted forms of Open Science. In 2008, he created the Open Notebook Science Solubility Challenge to crowd source the measurement of non-aqueous solubility. Sponsored by Submeta, Sigma-Aldrich, Nature and the Royal Society of Chemistry, the ONS Challenge has resulted in the publication of a book combining the results of 12 student award winners from the U.S. and the U.K. Dr. Jean-Claude Bradley teaches undergraduate organic chemistry courses with most content and is freely available on public blogs, wikis, games, Second Life and audio and video podcasts.
In Summer 2012, Dr. Bradley was awarded the second "Outstanding Mentor of the Year" Award for his work with STAR Scholar Matthew McBride. He has mentored numerous STAR Scholars in the past few years and expresses that “it has always been a beneficial experience for both [him] and the students.” He was recognized on behalf of his commitment to the students' academic growth throughout their STAR experiences. Matthew McBride recognized “Dr. Bradley’s willingness to work beside [him] … and to verbally lead [him] step by step through an experience. Dr. Bradley gave [him] his time and attention, but allowed [Matthew] to perform the experiment.” After his STAR experience, Matthew McBride believes he has “gained new skills that [he] will be able to use for the rest of [his] life.” Today, they continue to work on research in Dr. Bradley’s lab. We recognize Dr. Bradley’s commitment to the education of Matthew McBride and other undergraduate students and are proud to have named him an official Outstanding STAR Mentor of the Year, 2012.
In Summer 2011, the Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Sriram Balasubramanian (School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems). Dr. Balasubramanian received a plaque engraved with his name, as well as a $1,000 grant to support his further work with undergraduate researchers.
Dr. Sriram Balasubramanian joined the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems at Drexel University as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2010. He also serves as an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Balasubramanian is the Director of the Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory at Drexel University, and his research efforts include studying the structural characteristics of the spine and thoracic cage for pediatric deformities, pediatric head and neck injury research, and developing age-equivalent animal models for pediatric long bones. Dr. Balasubramanian mentors several undergraduate and graduate biomedical engineering students in his lab. He has mentored over ten STAR Scholars over the past five years; these students have participated in various collaborative projects with researchers from Drexel University School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems; Drexel University College of Medicine; CHOP; and University of Pennsylvanian - School of Veterinary Medicine.
In Summer 2011, Dr. Balasubramanian was awarded the first ever "Outstanding Mentor of the Year" Award for his work with four STAR Scholars: Rohan Agarwal, Muzammil Hasan, Nathan Lear, and Sona Rathod. He was recognized on behalf of his commitment to the students' academic growth throughout their STAR experiences. The students recognized his "great knowledge, kindness, and connection to the students in the lab" and noted that they are "proud to call him ... professor, mentor and teacher." We recognize Dr. Balasubramanian's commitment to the education of these and other undergraduate students and are proud to have named him the first official Outstanding STAR Mentor of the Year, 2011.