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Sunha Choi named Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year for the College of Social Work

Congratulations to Dr. Sunha Choi, one of 2018’s winners of the Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year award, her second year in a row receiving this recognition!

Choi motivates her students to engage in research, often providing the initial spark for those with no prior research experience. One student, Abbey Geater, describes how “undergraduate research, to me, always seemed like something out of the ordinary that was reserved for Haslam Scholars or students who entered the university knowing they wanted to be a researcher” until learning and being inspired by Choi’s guidance: “Through Dr. Choi’s mentorship, I have broadened my scope on what undergraduate research looks like and become confident in my own abilities to integrate research into practice. Often at field, I find myself collecting more data or looking up the latest research on issues that affect my clients because Dr. Choi has shown me that social workers are not just practitioners, but scholars as well.”

Other students similarly describe the confidence gained from her guidance. As Sarah Henson writes, “She has been very empowering and encouraging as she has guided me individually and helped me to focus, be realistic, and maintain excitement for my project.” Moreover, students praise her ability to explain complex programs and processes, such as Excel, SPSS, or IRB forms and project proposals.

Choi helps her students across all stages of academic work, exposing them to the nature of undergraduate research, supporting them throughout the research process, and offering guidance on how to present, share, and build on completed work. Her supportive mentorship, which goes beyond the classroom, has shaped the post-undergraduate goals of her students.

Dr. Choi is an assistant professor and Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar in the College of Social Work. She received her MSW and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research studies healthcare disparities amongst older, foreign-born individuals.