UC Riverside Academic Senate

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

2017–2018 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award Recipients

Jack Eichler
Lecturer with Security of Employment

Since 2010, Dr. Jack Eichler has mentored 11 undergraduate research students, and now has 6 peer reviewed publications all with UCR undergraduate first authors andco-authors. These publications have involved 16 different undergraduate students, some of whom are authors on multiple papers. As Prof. Zhang notes, “Also remarkably, his papers often included many different undergraduate co-authors. These papers have been published in highly recognized journals such as Inorganic Chemistry and Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry...his students are deeply involved in writing and revising these papers, as Dr. Eichler makes an attempt to give his students an authentic research experience that closely mimics what they might experience as a graduate student.” He has mentored undergraduate research students by himself, with no graduate students or postdocs to assist. Additionally (excerpted from Prof. Zhang’s letter): “Dr. Eichler has encouraged his students to present their research at local, regional, and national symposia (including SCCUR, SCALACS Regional Undergraduate Chemistry Research Symposium, UCR Undergraduate Research Symposium, and ACS National Meetings). The 11 different UCR undergraduates he has mentored have made a total of 30 presentations at these conferences...Dr. Eichler has also organized the Fall 2016 Southern California Conferences in Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) conference here at UCR (which helped raise $10-15K for undergraduate research fellowships at UCR). Students have won numerous awards under Dr. Eichler’s guidance, including presentation awards at conference symposia, undergraduate research fellowships, and honors designations for work on undergraduate research theses...Eight students, a majority of the undergraduate researchers Dr. Eichler was the PI on an external grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and this funding was used to create a freshman learning community that integrated issues of environmental science and sustainability into his general chemistry courses, as well as a summer research experience for rising sophomores. In Summer 2013 and 2014 Dr. Eichler’s learning community program supported total 18 undergraduate researchers, and these students conducted research for 10 weeks with a variety of environmental science and agricultural science faculty at UCR. Dr. Eichler is also a co-PI on an NSF S-STEM grant that will support for training and preparing undergraduate students for research.”

Kawai Tam
Lecturer with Security of Employment
Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Tam is currently a Lecturer with Security of Employment and Associate Teaching Professor. Since 2005, she has mentored more than 220 undergraduate students, resulting in first place awards in 10 competitions since 2011, and 6 since 2015. Her undergraduate student teams have earned an additional 6 second-place awards since 2011, with another 3 EPA Honorable Mention Awards since 2013. These teams have won 12 EPA grants since 2011 for student design competitions in addition to grants from the Southern California World Water Forum, UCR, and the American Public Power Association (APPA). As her department chair, Prof. Wyman, notes, Dr. Tam has proven herself to be “invaluable to undergraduate research in the UCR Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and the Bourns College of Engineering and richly deserves recognition for her exceptional fostering of undergraduate research and creative activities through this award. Dr. Tam in the UCR Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department. Since joining UCR, she has devised programs to enhance undergraduate training in research conduct, presentations and writing, and professional development. Dr. Tam’s mentorship provides excellent preparation for the transition of undergraduates to future employment. Through her approach, large numbers of undergraduate teams develop research plans that result in highly successful projects that greatly broaden research experiences for undergraduate students in the College of Engineering. In particular, students work in groups on research topics directed toward extramural design competitions with support for needed supplies and equipment. The research projects are tailored to fit within the curriculum requirements of each student’s home department and may also be applied toward design requirements of CEE’s Senior Design Course... Dr. Kawai Tam exemplifies an outstanding record of mentoring undergraduate research that gives her students unique, invaluable experiences in independent planning and execution of research projects.”

Folasade Ayodele, Theatre, Film, & Digital Production

Folasade (or “Sade,”) Ayodele has emerged as a student who combines excellent critical analysis, sophisticated acting and intellectual acumen. Prof. Merlin notes: Sade “has overcome obstacles as a young African American for whom the use of language and physical presence have always been challenging” and has distinguished herself as a leading talent and student within TFDP. Sade received one of only 13 UCR Chancellor’s Research Fellowships, which enabled her to take the month-long Summer Training Intensive for undergraduates at the prestigious Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts, where she garnered one of the coveted places on the Shakespeare & Company intensive (an internationally competitive program). Sade combines her acting practice with scholarly critique.

Christ Ordookhanian, Biochemistry

Since the Fall of 2014 Christ Ordookhanian has already received a total of 18 honors and awards; is volunteering at 3 free health clinics dedicated to assisting underrepresented and lower income populations; and has been promoted by Prof. John Perry to a ‘Staff Scientist’ within his lab. Prof. Perry notes, “Christ is pushing the boundaries as an outstanding researcher on cutting-edge collaborative projects relating to the development of novel therapeutics targeting age related macular degeneration, triple negative breast cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. Christ is operating at the graduate level within the laboratory and working independently while leading his own personal research team and also driving the interactions with other laboratories.

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