Undergrads: Nominate your outstanding faculty research mentor

Martha Grady, Ph.D.
Carlos Rodriguez Lopez, Ph.D.
Kathryn Saatman, Ph.D.
Yosra Helmy, Ph.D.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 12, 2024) — The University of Kentucky Office of Undergraduate Research is now accepting nominations for the 17th annual UK Excellent Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Awards. The student-nominated award recognizes excellence in supporting undergraduate research and conveys the campus’ high regard for outstanding contributions made to the academic and research community. 

Nominations should be based on exemplary mentorship with a focus on advising students on enriching projects, a commitment to providing exceptional undergraduate research experiences above and beyond the classroom, as well as supporting and promoting undergraduate research initiatives on campus.  

“Nominating your research mentor for the Excellent Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Awards is crucial to acknowledging and celebrating UK’s faculty members’ exceptional commitment to education and guiding the next generation of researchers,” said Gretchen Ruschman, a senior agricultural and medical biotechnology major. “Your nomination highlights their role in your personal and professional development, showcasing the transformative impact mentors have on students. I believe it is crucial to express gratitude and contribute to a culture that values and honors exemplary mentorship to continue UK’s strong legacy in undergraduate research.” 

Her mentor, Carlos Rodriguez Lopez, Ph.D., associate professor of horticulture in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, received the award in 2023. 

Candidates must be faculty members from any UK department. Past award winners are not eligible for future nomination due to the large number of faculty participating in undergraduate research mentoring activities at UK. 

Nominations must be submitted by 11:55 p.m. EDT April 1, 2024. Students may nominate their faculty mentor for the award here. View previous faculty award recipients here. Applicants will be reviewed anonymously by a student review committee. 

“This award recognizes and celebrates the important role that faculty play in supporting and promoting undergraduate researchers,” said Tony Butera, a senior mechanical engineering major. “My mentor’s guidance, support, advice and other resources have helped me in being successful in my research endeavors and should be recognized.”  

Butera’s mentor, Martha Grady, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering in the Stanley and Karen Pigman College of Engineering, received the Excellent Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award in 2023. 

The awards will be presented at the Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars’ awards ceremony at 3 p.m. on April 24, 2024, in the Gatton Student Center Grand Ballroom. Last year’s faculty award winners were Grady, Lopez, Yosra Helmy and Kathryn Saatman. 

If you have questions about submitting a nomination for the UK Excellent Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year, contact Jesi Bowman at 

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