2013 Mentor Awards
Byron A. Alexander Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award
Stephen Egbert - Geography
Left to right: Stephen Egbert; Bob Goldstein, Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Stephen Egbert’s commitment to supporting the personal and professional development of his students has made him an invaluable resource to students in the Department of Geography. Every student who nominated Egbert expressed a deep appreciation for his friendliness, encouragement, and the effort he puts into making each student’s time in the program as valuable as possible. They note that his wonderful advice and willingness to meet each student’s needs makes all students feel like welcome and competent members of the department. From international students who are having trouble adjusting to life at KU to older students who are struggling to balance the demands of school, work, and family, Egbert is always compassionate as he supports them in their endeavors. As one student states “Professors such as Dr. Egbert believe in their students’ success and will help them reach and attain their goals.” Included in the many examples of Dr. Egbert's mentorship given by students are his encouragement to take leadership positions in research projects, creation of opportunities to further develop their public speaking skills, and help in establishing professional connections. Egbert has also earned the high esteem of his students through his firm belief that one should “Give credit where credit is due.” One student who collaborated on projects with Egbert noted great appreciation for his encouragement to “give the presentations, to take credit for my work, showcase my skillset and develop professional relationships.” In every interaction with his students, Egbert pushes them to improve their skills, persist in their efforts, and to learn to see themselves as professionals in their field. As one student states, “He truly does more than advise his students, he mentors.”
Ric G. Steele - Clinical Child Psychology
Left to right: Kristine Latta, Director of COGA; Jim Mielke, Associate Dean for the Social and Behavioral Sciences; Ric G. Steele.
The students who nominated Ric G. Steele expressed their sincere gratitude for the time and energy he dedicates to making sure each of his students has a well-rounded graduate experience at KU. As stated by one of these students, “Dr. Steele demonstrates the true meaning of a ‘mentor’ in a research university by integrating his research, teaching, and advising into a single, more important role: academic mentor.” Through the integration of these multiple roles and his years of experience in the field, Steele is able to offer his students expert guidance as they work to establish themselves as professionals. He is known for engaging his students in discussions about career and research goals early in their graduate careers and for working with them to make sure these goals are met. This often involves directing them to relevant research opportunities, encouraging them to apply for grants, assisting with grant applications, and helping them design and execute studies. He is also always available to his students, often establishing regular meetings to make sure that their research and writing are on track. Furthermore, when students encounter difficulties in their research, Steele’s experience and expertise allows him to quickly help students examine possible alternatives and redirect their research. In all the ways Steele interacts with his students, his recognition of their individual needs is always appreciated. They feel that “when students meet with Dr. Steele, the conversation is truly about the student, and decisions are made based on his or her best interest.” Steele’s expertise and recognition of individual student’s needs are part of what makes him “a passionate and gifted educator who provides invaluable real-world opportunities for his students to grow and be challenged in a supportive environment.”
John C. Wright Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award
Michael C. Roberts - Clinical Child Psychology
Left to right: Michael Roberts; Jim Mielke, Associate Dean for the Social and Behavioral Sciences: Kristine Latta, Director of COGA
For graduate students in the Clinical Child Psychology Program, Michael C. Roberts serves as an exemplary instructor and researcher with a proven investment in the success of his students academically, professionally, and personally. This investment is evident through his quick and thorough feedback on students’ work, willingness to learn about students’ research topics that lie outside of his area of expertise, and the time he takes to nominate students for well-earned awards. Roberts’ students also benefit from the many professional roles he assumes, including his positions as an instructor, researcher, and journal editor as well as his service in many professional organizations. One student notes that Roberts describes his current role as Editor of Training and Education in Professional Psychology “as that of a ‘door opener’ rather than a ‘gatekeeper.’” Roberts has taken advantage of his broad professional networks to introduce students to other researchers and practitioners in the field, connect them with research opportunities, and provide expert guidance in preparing their work for publication and conference submissions. Furthermore, as stated by one student, “despite the numerous roles Dr. Roberts has held throughout the years, none takes a higher precedence in his professional life than his role as a mentor.” This sense of Roberts’ deep commitment to his mentees was echoed by another student, who stated, “what amazed me most is Michael’s ability to bridge multiple roles at once, and to excel at them all. He is an esteemed professional, a prolific published author, and an advocate for childhood mental health. At the same time, he is an accessible and involved mentor, a store of infinite wisdom, and a professor deeply involved in the success of his students.” These words sum up the sentiments expressed by all of the students who stepped forward to nominate Roberts for this award.