Byron A. Alexander & John C. Wright Outstanding Graduate Mentor Awards


Each year, graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences are invited to nominate faculty and academic staff for the Byron A. Alexander and John C. Wright Outstanding Graduate Mentor Awards.  These awards are presented to faculty and academic staff who provide outstanding mentorship to master's and doctoral students.  They inspire their student through their own teaching, research, and mentoring, foster a collegial learning environment, successfully balance personal support and professional guidance, and prepare their student for careers in the academy and beyond.

Call for Nominations


Current and former master's or doctoral students may nominate faculty and academic staff in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Award amount is $850 - $1500. Past awardees (listed below) are not eligible. 

Instructions to Nominator(s):

Please submit the online nomination form along with one or more letters of nomination. The most competitive nominations will include multiple letters from current and/or past students. Letter(s) should explain why the nominee deserves to be awarded an Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. Please use specific examples to address the following award criteria, which the review committee will use to select award winners:

  1. Inspires students through their teaching, research, and mentoring.
  2. Has an established track record of successfully mentoring students through various stages of graduate education.
  3. Provides a good balance of personal support/encouragement and professional guidance.
  4. Creates a collegial environment and supports students' integration into the department/program.
  5. Provides students with information and opportunities for networking within the disciplinary community.
  6. Provides mentoring that is broad in scope and addresses the multiple areas of competency required by practicing professionals in the discipline (e.g., teaching, research, service, professional ethics, career development).
  7. Provides mentoring with a demonstrable impact on student outcomes (e.g., awards, publications, presentations, performances or other professional accomplishments) that would be considered "outstanding" by disciplinary standards.

Nomination packets may include no more than 10 nomination letters. Individual letters may not exceed two single-spaced pages (12 point font).

 If you have questions or would like more information, please email or call 785-864-4201.

Deadline and Nomination Form

Completed nomination packets must be submitted using the online form by noon (12:00 p.m.) on Friday, April 7, 2023. Late nominations will not be accepted.

Current Year Awardees


Amy McNair- History of Art

Bryon A. Alexander Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award:

Dr. Amy McNair is a Professor for the Department of Art History. Dr. McNair’s research and teaching interest revolve around the material culture of the Tang dynasty, Chinese calligraphy, and Buddhist sculpture. Dr. McNair’s numerous recommenders shared that she consistently provides insightful feedback and unwavering support. In fact, she goes beyond mere academic guidance. As expressed by one student, “Dr. McNair offers her unyielding encouragement: you become YOU first, before becoming a scholar or something else.” This statement underscores her belief in the importance of self-awareness and personal development as the fundamental building blocks for students’ future endeavors.

Congratulations to Dr. McNair!

Nathaniel Brunsell - Geography & Atmospheric Science

John C. Wright Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award:

Dr Nathaniel Brunsell is a professor for the Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science. Dr Brunsell’s research encompasses biometeorology, the scaling process from leaf to pixel, remote sensing of the surface energy balance, turbulence measurements using large aperture scintillometry and eddy covariance, ecological consequences of regional climate change, surface-precipitation feedbacks, implications of regional climate change on extreme value statistics, application of non-linear time series analysis to meteorological datasets, and renewable energy. Almost every one of Dr. Brunsell’s many recommenders noted his commitment to guiding students on their academic path, as well as his devotion to mentoring students beyond academics. One student noted, “He knew my potential and helped guide me through the transition period in my life. His mentorship meant the world to me, from a clunky undergraduate to a polished professional, I can honestly say that Nate had made an impact in my life as a successful scientist, and I am grateful for him to this day.”

Congratulations to Dr. Nathaniel Brunsell

Past Awardees

1993 – Professor John C. Wright

1994 – Professor Linda Stone-Ferrier

1995 – Professor Diana Carlin

1996 – Professor Amy J. Devitt

1997 – Professor Byron A. Alexander

1998 – Professor Carol Warren

1999 – Professor Jack Porter

2000 – Professor Stephen Goddard

2001 – Professor Jack Weller

2002 – Professor Mehrangiz Najafizadeh

2003 – Professor Mary Lee Hummert

2004 – Professor Rick Snyder

2005 – Professor Mark Richter

2006 – Professor A. Townsend Peterson

2007 – Professor Joann Keyton

2007 – Professor Robert Timm

2007 – Professor Robert Rowland

2008 – Professor Geraldo de Sousa

2008 – Professor William Johnson

2009 – Professor Alison Gabriele

2009 – Professor Theodore A. Wilson

2010 – Professor Mikhail Barybin

2011 – Professor Juliet Kaarbo

2012 – Professor John Janzen

2012 – Professor Eve Levin

2013 – Professor Stephen Egbert

2013 – Professor Ric Steele

2014 – Professor Maria Carlson

2015 – Professor Nyla Branscombe

2016 – Professor Paula Fite

2016 – Professor Don Haider-Markel

2017 – Professor Luis Corteguera

2018 – Professor Alesha Doan

2019 – Professor Hannah Britton

2019 – Professor ChangHwan Kim

2020 – Professor James Bever

2021 – Professor Utako Minai

2022 – Professor Sharon Billings

2002 – Professor Annette Stanton

2003 – Professor John F. Sweets

2004 – Professor Linda Stone-Ferrier

2005 – Professor Iris Smith Fischer

2006 – Professor Bill Picking

2007 – Professor Craig Lunte

2008 – Professor John (Chris) Brown

2008 – Professor Rick Ingram

2009 – Professor Mabel Rice

2009 – Professor Rolfe Mandel

2010 – Professor Leisha DeHart-Davis

2011 – Professor Adrianne Kunkel

2012 – Professor Randal Jelks

2013 – Professor Michael Roberts

2014 – Professor Amy Rossomondo

2015 – Professor W. Matthew Gillispie

2016 – Professor Omri Gillath

2017 – Professor William Barnett

2018 – Professor Kelsie Forbush

2019 – Professor Eric Vernberg

2019 – Professor Sarah Kirk

2020 – Professor Jarron Saint Onge

2021 – Professor Mary Jo Reiff

2021 – Professor Dorothy Daley

2022- Professor Dorothy Daley