KU Awards Inaugural Undergraduate Research and Creativity Faculty Mentorship Awards

Old Main at dusk

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Kutztown University's Undergraduate Research and Creativity Faculty Advisory Board and the Office of Grants and Sponsored Projects awarded its inaugural Undergraduate Research and Creativity Faculty Mentorship Awards at a ceremony held Tuesday, April 27. The awards recognize excellence in faculty engagement with undergraduate researchers.

The four award recipients (two STEM and two non-STEM) are Dr. Khori Newlander, assistant professor, anthropology/sociology; Dr. Adrienne Oakley, associate professor, physical sciences; Dr. Ed Simpson, professor and department chair, physical sciences; and Dr. Carol Watson, associate professor, education.

Each award carries $500 in professional development funds.

"The twofold purpose of the awards is to raise awareness of all the outstanding undergraduate research that is taking place on campus and beyond, whether in local forests or streams, or much farther away; and reward, recognize and celebrate these impressive achievements," said Dr. Lynn Kutch, coordinator of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.

The selection committee considered candidates’ exemplary contributions to one or more of the following categories:

  • Guiding students toward independent work.
  • Expanding research opportunities to reach new communities or groups.
  • Encouraging public presentation of research idea.
  • Supporting students from underrepresented communities.
  • Offering academic and career advice, including assisting students in advancing to graduate school.
  • Implementing Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences or CURES.
  • Publishing alone or with students on teaching and learning effectiveness in undergraduate research.

"I am honored to receive a 2021 Faculty Mentorship Award," Newlander said. "Archaeological research requires a team. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with numerous dedicated students to understand the past and share that understanding in the present. To guide students as they immerse themselves in a research project and watch as they are transformed into confident scholars is truly awesome. It is why I am a professor."

"It is such a privilege to have the opportunity to watch the growth over time as my undergraduate researchers develop confidence, critical thinking skills and begin to realize they are capable of so much more than they ever knew," Watson said. "I feel lucky to be able to contribute to that."

"It is a great honor to be selected in the inaugural group for the Faculty Mentorship Award," Oakley said. "I am in great company. As an undergraduate student, I was fortunate to have had an especially devoted faculty mentor who provided me with research and field work opportunities that directly influenced my career path. Because of him, I chose to get a Ph.D. and work at a PUI in hopes of providing similar research opportunities for undergraduate students. I am delighted to be part of this long tradition in education. I love working with our students and am extremely proud of all that they have accomplished. I truly appreciate the recognition of this work by my colleagues."

"Conducting undergraduate research is the most rewarding part of being a faculty member," Simpson said. "The excitement and sense of participation that motivates students leaves a positive impact throughout their career."