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Faculty, Students Recognized for Undergraduate Research

The Office of Undergraduate Research announced the recipients of the annual Faculty Mentor of the Year Awards.  Six faculty members have been recognized for their commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers during the 2018-2019 academic year.

The following professors received the award this year:

To be considered for the award, recipients must have been nominated by at least two students: one who presented at EUReCA 2018, and an additional current or former student.

“We’re proud to recognize the dedication of our faculty to mentoring undergraduate students,” said Marisa Moazen, assistant vice chancellor of research engagement and director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “These faculty stand as examplars in the field for their work with undergraduate students.”

Two other individuals were recognized for their commitment to undergraduate research at the annual Chancellor’s Honors Banquet, the largest recognition event of the year.

Barry Bruce, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, was named Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year. The award celebrates a faculty member who has shown outstanding commitment to mentoring undergraduate research students. Bruce is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science was once named by Forbes magazine as one of “Ten People That May Change the World.” He has mentored nearly 250 graduate and undergraduate students.

Brandon Barker, a senior double majoring in physics and mathematics, was named the Undergraduate Researcher of the Year. The award honors a junior or senior who has demonstrated excellence in undergraduate research through independent inquiry, classes, and student employment. Barker has been involved in research since his freshmen year and has been able to work at places like Oak Ridge National laboratory and the national lab in Pisa, Italy. A first-generation college student from rural Tennessee, he plans to pursue a doctorate in astrophysics after graduating in May.

Undergraduate research allows students an opportunity to explore topics and phenomenon in their field while strengthening their understanding of research methods. Students support their faculty mentors’ research while coming up with their own projects, as engaged mentors guide them. Ultimately, this relationship is critical for a successful research experience.



Raphael Rosalin (865-974-2152,