THIS PROGRAM ENDED AT THE END OF THE 2012.13 YEAR. WE WILL BE REAPPLYING FOR THE HHMI GRANT AT THE END OF THE CURRENT FOUR-YEAR CYCLE.
With the Distinguished Mentor Awards, Furman recognizes faculty who have made outstanding
contributions toward engaging undergraduates outside the classroom in
collaborative scholarship and supporting such opportunities locally and
nationally through service and wide-ranging impacts.
The awards are jointly funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
through Furman's HHMI-BRIDGES Undergraduate Science Education award and
matching funds provided by the university. Since 2009, six Furman
faculty members across six departments have been recognized with the
In total, each honoree is granted $10,000 for supplies and discretionary
funding to directly support undergraduate research and scholarship
For more information or to obtain an application for the 2012 Distinguished Mentors Program, please e-mail a request to Dr. John Wheeler, Program Coordinator, Furman HHMI-BRIDGES.
2012 HHMI Distinguished Research Mentors
Dr. Judy Grisel
Dr. Eli Hestermann
served as a professor of psychology and directed Furman’s Neuroscience program for five years. Professor Grisel mentored nearly seventy undergraduate research students over her Furman
career—including twenty-three, between 2007 and 2012, that resulted in six professional
publications with eleven student co-authors. Judy was highly successful in garnering research support from extraordinarily competitive national funding agencies,
including three major awards from the National Institutes of Health. She also served
as the Herman N. Hipp Professor of Psychology at Furman (2000–2003). Between
2005–2010, Professor Grisel participated as a target faculty member in the
NIH-INBRE biomedical research program, and over several years she made
special effort to provide research opportunities not only to Furman students through
programs such as HHMI, but also to those from South Carolina’s historically
black colleges and universities (HBCUs), other regional predominantly
undergraduate institutions and students enrolled in the South Carolina Governors School for
Science and Math. As one illustration of the success of Judy’s mentoring
efforts, of seventeen of her former students who have elected to pursue doctoral degrees
in neuroscience, eleven are women and four of these are from racial or ethnic
groups signicantly underrepresented in the sciences.
Eli Hestermann is
an associate professor of biology who has mentored nearly thirty undergraduates in biology research since 2003,
including twenty-two since 2007; impressively, nine of these students have been
accepted to medical school, and an equal proportion to graduate school. Hestermann has multiple publications with Furman student co-authors, and has given numerous
invited presentations at prestigious venues such as the Society of Toxicology (2010)
and the Association of College and University Biology Educators (2011). Professor Hestermann’s students have delivered over twenty presentations themselves at
professional meetings, and five have received special recognition as “best
presentation” (in some cases among all graduate as well as undergraduate submissions). He has
served as an NIH-INBRE target faculty member and mentor since 2005, providing
research opportunities to a range of faculty and students from other South Carolina
institutions including the Governors School for Science and Math, Women’s Colleges,
and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Hestermann served
as co-PI on Furman’s prestigious Merck/AAAS and HHMI awards in 2008, and has
directed the HHMI Undergraduate Research Fellows Program, and HHMI
Introduction to Research and Seminar courses since their inception. In 2008, he was
South Carolina's state nominee for the Sydney McNairy Mentoring Award given by the
National Institutes of Health.
2011 HHMI Distinguished Research Mentors
Dr. Kevin Hutson
Dr. Sean O'Rourke
Kevin Hutson, Associate Professor of Mathematics, has mentored 13 students in
undergraduate research at Furman and his former institution (Denison
University), including 10 students in the last five years. He has
directed students participating in the HHMI Research Fellows program in a
disciplinary field where researchers seldom enlist undergraduates. Due
in large part to Hutson's efforts, the number of students conducting
summer research from 2009-2011 grew from a scant few to an average of
more than seven undergraduates per summer. In addition to co-authoring
professional publications with Furman students, Hutson has participated
as both an invited lecturer and panelist on national disciplinary forums
about inquiry-based learning and advising undergraduate research.
Sean O'Rourke, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, is recognized
for his exceptional efforts in mentoring significant numbers of Furman
students. O'Rourke has directed scholarly writing and research of more
than 45 students during the academic year and nine Furman Advantage and
South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities summer research
undergraduates. Since 2006 he has served as primary mentor for 19
student publications and, this year, 17 new submissions. Impacting
students beyond Furman, O'Rourke has received local and national
attention for his service as faculty advising editor and/or associate
editor for multiple undergraduate publications including Young Scholars
2010 HHMI Distinguished Research Mentors
Dr. Brannon Andersen
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Gil Einstein
2009 HHMI Distinguished Research Mentors
Dr. Timothy Hanks
Dr. Victoria Turgeon
The HHMI Distinguished Mentor Awards
Purpose: The HHMI-BRIDGES Distinguished Mentor (DM) award acknowledges outstanding faculty engagement with undergraduates in areas of research, scholarly endeavors and original creative activities.
The Award: The award period will be for a one-year term starting the semester after the competition. In addition to the title, each DM faculty member will receive $5,000 to be applied toward supplies supporting appropriate scholarly activities (e.g., research supplies, computer hardware/software, etc.) and $5,000 in discretionary funds which can be applied to summer salary, faculty or student travel, student stipends, etc. for a total of $10,000. All tenured and tenure track faculty are eligible to apply.
Competitions: Two DM awards will be made to Furman faculty each year, 2009-2012. Furman participates in the DM program in concert with several additional HHMI-funded institutions. The selection committee is comprised of representatives from Furman, the University of Florida and other participating schools.
Responsibilities: DM awardees from all institutions must be willing to mentor students in their respective HHMI programs and have sufficient funding and infrastructure support to provide for the activities commensurate with their research. DM awardees may be asked to serve on the HHMI student selection committee and must be willing to participate in student recognition events as their schedules allow. DM awardees should also be willing to participate in events to share their work with the public.
DM Criteria: DM awards will be based on demonstrated excellence in undergraduate mentoring associated with research/scholarly work. The award criteria are designed to give the broadest definition of excellence in undergraduate mentoring, recognizing the range of academic disciplines. All faculty are invited to prepare for the 2011 competition based on criteria to include career-long contributions in any of the following areas:
- Active involvement of undergraduates in the applicant's laboratories or work environment related to research, education, scholarly publication and/or original creative composition. Several of many possible indications include student co-authorship of peer-reviewed journal publications or other published works, or student presentations/performances at major conferences or other professional venues.
- Evidence of institutional or national recognition of the applicant related to undergraduate mentoring. Examples include participation in national review panels, invited presentations or performances related to mentoring at national institutions and meetings.
- Evidence of honors, awards, or career success of the applicant's undergraduate mentees. Examples include success in post-graduate education, receipt of prestigious fellowships, or former students who have risen to high positions in professional organizations, government laboratories, or the academy.
- Evidence of fundraising activity for undergraduate research, scholarship, or mentoring. Examples include extramural funds obtained from federal agencies, private foundations or individual donors supportive of the institutional culture in engaged learning, or fundraising success with institutional foundation offices.
- Evidence that the faculty member will be an active member of the program and the broader worldwide research/education community. Examples include participation in HHMI-BRIDGES seminar course presentations and serving as a mentor to HHMI Undergraduate Fellows or high school students involved in outreach programs.