Nature honors four southern U.S. scientists for achievements in mentoring
Four U.S. scientists have been honored by Nature, the leading, international weekly journal of science, for their mentorship of young scientists.
New York, 09 January 2019
Four U.S. scientists have been honored by Nature, the leading, international weekly journal of science, for their mentorship of young scientists. The Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science were first established in 2005 to champion the importance of providing young scientists with valuable support to help further their careers. This is the first time that awards have focused on scientists from the South of the United States, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The joint recipients of the lifetime achievement award are:
- Isiah Warner: Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Professor of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, Louisiana State University
- Jorge Alberto López: Professor of Physics, University of Texas at El Paso
The joint recipients of the mid-career achievement award are:
- Kjersti Aagaard: Professor, Baylor College of Medicine
- Anita Corbett: Professor of Biology, Emory University
“I am delighted at the achievements of our awards winners, and I am especially enthused this year at the diversity of their experiences and of their commitments to mentoring,” said Sir Philip Campbell, Editor in Chief of Springer Nature. “It's wonderful for Nature to be able to celebrate researchers who have been so outstanding in their encouragement of a strong scientific ethos in those who come after them.”
Awardees of the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science are nominated by a group of their former trainees, from different stages of the mentor’s professional life; and the winners of the awards have demonstrated outstanding mentorship throughout their careers. Each winner receives a prize of $5,000 and will be recognized at events held at their respective academic institutions.
More information about the panel of judges and eligibility criteria for this year's awards can be found here.
Quotes from Mentors and Mentees
Dr. Isiah Warner
- “I never tell a student that something is impossible. I truly believe that ‘where there is a will, there is a way.’” –Dr. Isiah Warner, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Professor of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, Louisiana State University
- “He was not just our supervisor...He was our father. He let us make our own mistakes when we had to experiment, in order to learn how to correct the mistake." – Dr. Constantina P. Kapnissi-Christodoulou, Associate Professor, University of Cyprus, and Dr. Warner’s mentee
Dr. Jorge Alberto López
- “Mentoring is not a goal but a tool for improving society through the betterment of its citizens, and as such it must be adapted to the particular conditions of each individual.” –Dr. Jorge Alberto López, Professor of Physics, University of Texas at El Paso
- “I would sum [up Dr. López’s mentorship lessons] as follows: Never lie. Be honest with your students even if that means telling them they do not have what it takes. Try to keep them aware of the ‘reality’ of the field as with regards to what it takes…to get a job.” –Dr. Alfredo Aranda, Vice President for Research, Universidad de Colima, and Dr. López’s mentee
Dr. Kjersti Aagaard
- “My approach to mentorship is equal parts good intention and presence, clear and specific standards and expectations, raw enthusiasm, resilience, and good humor. It is fundamentally important to be a good and ethical leader, with a strong moral compass to guide you in those tricky situations which make mentorship challenging and exhausting.” –Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, Professor, Baylor College of Medicine
- “Dr. Aagaard’s tireless work ethic promotes the best efforts from each of the individuals in the laboratory. Her passion is contagious. Her foresight allows great discoveries to occur.” –Dr. Gregory Valentine, Perinatal-Neonatal Medicine Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine, and Dr. Aagaard’s mentee
Dr. Anita Corbett
- “My ability to listen, compassion, willingness to make sacrifices for others, and boldness allow me to understand what mentees need, put in the time and effort to do the hard work of mentoring, and confront those who may not be aware that they need mentoring or push mentees out of their comfort zone.” –Dr. Anita Corbett, Professor of Biology, Emory University
- “[Anita’s] example of having a career and having a family is incredibly important for junior scientists to observe. Science should not be exclusionary, especially as a woman. Anita breaks this boundary by being a wonderful role model to both men and women.” –Dr. Christine Dunham, Associate Professor of Biochemistry. Emory University and Dr. Corbett’s mentee
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