IPiB announces 2020 teaching, mentoring awards and new GDLC officers

The Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) is pleased to continue its commitment to teaching and mentorship by announcing the 2020 graduate student awards that celebrate these important aspects of the program.

Photo of three IPiB award recipients.

Megan Dowdle, from the lab of Michael Sheets, and Harriet Saunders, from the lab of Jill Wildonger, received the 2020 Denton Award for Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. Josie Mitchell, from the lab of Jill Wildonger, received the 2020 Sigrid Leirmo Memorial Award in Biochemistry.

The Denton Award honors IPiB students who consistently provide quality guidance and scientific training in mentoring undergraduate students in their research efforts, and show evidence of quality, commitment, and innovation in teaching.

“I feel very honored and lucky to have even been nominated for the Denton Award. IPiB is a great community full of many great mentors, so to be recognized as one of them is very humbling,” said Saunders. “I’ve learned so much from working alongside some fantastic undergrads, so it’s nice to know my efforts are appreciated. I’ve had so much fun mentoring throughout graduate school and hope to continue to grow as a mentor throughout my career.”

The award is made possible by the generosity of Arnold E. and Catherine M. Denton. IPiB is the joint graduate program of the Department of Biochemistry and Department of Biomolecular Chemistry.

“One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my time as a graduate student is mentoring undergraduates. Receiving this award is an incredible honor, knowing the importance IPiB places on teaching and mentoring,” said Dowdle. “I’d like to give a shout out to all the Sheets lab undergraduates for keeping me young, teaching me to be a better mentor and teacher and scientist, and for being incredible people to work with in the lab.”

The Leirmo Award recognizes graduate or postdoctoral students who exemplify the spirit of Sigrid Leirmo. Leirmo received her Ph.D. from the Department of Biochemistry in 1989. She was widely acknowledged among her fellow students and colleagues as a promising researcher and enthusiastic friend and mentor.

“I am honored and grateful to be nominated for this award by my awesome mentor, Jill Wildonger, and even more ecstatic to receive the award,” said Mitchell. “I’m so thankful to be recognized by the department with this award in memory of an incredible woman and scientist. Sigrid’s legacy inspires me, and I will strive to carry her commitment to service throughout my career. Receiving this award encourages me to continue to do what I love, build relationships and community, and make science accessible to everyone. Thank you to the entire IPiB community and Sigrid’s family for supporting and encouraging me with this award. I am filled with immense gratitude.”

“Josie is an outstanding teacher and mentor,” said Wildonger. “She’s an exceptional student leader, a thoughtful, collaborative, and energetically determined scientist. She has all the essential qualities to flourish and be an outstanding scientist and teacher who gives back to her community by inspiring excitement for science.”

IPiB’s Graduate Leadership & Development Committee (GLDC) typically holds a reception to honor these students and announce their new officials, however, gatherings of this type are currently restricted. In lieu of this tradition, the GLDC’s new officers are listed, and photographs of Denton and Leirmo award winners are posted above. Congratulations to award recipients and newly elected officials.

Chair: Josh Mitchell

Vice Chair: Andrea Killian

Treasurer: Jen Peotter

NSOC/Wellness: Aryel Clarke

Recruiting: Liz Larson, Alex Duckworth, and Kim Huggler

Social: Anna Zmich and Nithesh Chandrasekharan

Outreach: Lily Miller, Aspa Amiridis, and Kyle Flickinger

Career and Lunch Symposia: Rachel Cueny and Josie Mitchell

Curriculum: Christine Hustmeyer

Student Invited Speaker: Christine Hustmeyer

Retreat: TBD, mentored by Andrea Killian