News 2023: Inaugural outstanding faculty research mentor award recipients announced

News 2023: Inaugural outstanding faculty research mentor award recipients announced
Inaugural outstanding faculty research mentor award recipients announced

Professors Kristen Sethares (Adult Nursing), Vijaya Chalivendra (Mechanical Engineering), Rebecca Hutchinson (Art & Design), and Scott Field (Mathematics) all honored

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Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Dr. Ramprasad Balasubramanian is pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural research mentor awards. Professors Kristen Sethares (Adult Nursing) and Vijaya Chalivendra (Mechanical Engineering) were honored for their work with undergraduate students engaged in research, scholarship, or creative activities over the past five years. Professors Rebecca Hutchinson (Art & Design) and Scott Field (Mathematics) were honored for their work with graduate students in research, scholarship, or creative activities over the past five years. A committee of faculty reviewed all the nominations and their recommendations were used to identify the recipients. 

Dr. Sethares has mentored 13 research-active undergraduate students, a notable achievement in nursing, where undergraduate students are not always aware of research activities in the nursing field. Dr. Sethares helped develop the undergraduate student research fellow role and has served as a member of the Honors College Advisory Board. Her nominators, June Horowitz (Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, College of Nursing and Health Sciences) and Kimberly Christopher (Dean, College of Nursing and Health Sciences) said, “Dr. Sethares is a champion for undergraduate students who show promise and interest in pursuing graduate education. It is particularly notable that as Nursing PhD Program Director until 2022, she spearheaded creation of the successful BS-PhD track to promote a realistic pathway for BSN graduates to move to the research doctorate in a timely way.”

Dr. Chalivendra has mentored 20 research-active undergraduate students, received funding from NSF for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site, organized student symposiums, and published 17 papers with undergraduate student authors. Wenzhen Huang, who nominated Dr. Chalivendra, said “Prof. Chalivendra’s love for mentoring undergraduate students is a hallmark in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. I am amazed by his energy levels to train the undergraduate students and always preparing them to excel in their careers is very impressive.” 

Professor Hutchinson has worked with an impressive 98 graduate students since joining UMass Dartmouth. In her narrative, Professor Hutchinson describes her mentorship as “centered on assisting them in finding their unique research voice, technical and process choice appropriateness and execution mastery.” The National Ceramics organization, NCECA, has recognized more than 20 UMass Dartmouth graduate students with awards. Professor Hutchinson’s nominator, Lawrence Jenkens, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, notes that, “I have seen exemplary work from Rebecca’s students. The quality of their work is the best measure of how well a studio faculty member mentors graduate students. Seventeen of these students are currently faculty members at institutions of higher learning in the US. Her students have also been recognized with numerous awards in graduate school and afterward.”

Dr. Field has mentored more than twelve graduate students over the past five years, six who have completed their Master's Degrees at UMassD and have gone on to Ph.D. programs or work in industry, and six are current students. He has published eleven papers with graduate students, with more currently under preparation. Many of these papers, with students as first authors, have already garnered an impressive number of citations. Students working in his research group have given over 50 talks and presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. Dr, Field was nominated by four of his colleagues, Yanlai Chen, Sigal Gottlieb, Gaurav Khanna, and Saeja Kim, who said, “Dr. Field is a superior mentor and major asset to the university’s graduate programs and, more importantly, to all his students. The impact of his advising in the last five years has been tangible and far-reaching.”