Congratulations to Vermont Dia, one of seven recipients of the 2017 Undergraduate Faculty Research Mentor of the Year Award! He was the top mentor in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Dia is an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, specializing in food chemistry and food bioactives.
Dia is known both for the challenge of his courses and the great lengths he goes to in order to help his students with the challenge. As Alexis Hamilton writes, “Undergraduate research can be daunting and many students, including myself, struggle with feelings of inadequacy toward or insufficient knowledge to complete research projects. Additionally, approaching professors to ask for the opportunity to pursue research under their guidance can be nerve-wracking. Dr. Vermont Dia has made that process easier by proving continuously his appreciation for his students, their education, and their contribution to the scientific community. Dr. Dia not only trained me personally and spent several hours ensuring I knew experiment steps and procedures, but also made himself available to problem solve if and when those experiments did not go as planned.”
Hamilton goes on to say, “His lab was a superior environment to learn, practice, and encourage pursuit of science. It is clear he is a well-trained, intelligent, and professional scientist who is exceedingly enthusiastic about his research and educating students. He has further inspired me to pursue a STEM graduate degree program and remains a mentor to me now.”
Vermont Dia received a BS in food technology and an MS in food science from the University of the Philippines, and a PhD in food science and human nutrition from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.