Undergraduate Research Program

Each year, Undergraduate Research Symposium presenters are given an opportunity to nominate their mentor for the Research Mentor Award. Nominations are considered by a small review committee of faculty and staff. Faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and research staff are all eligible for nomination.

Provost Mark Richards and Vice Provost and Dean Ed Taylor thank mentors


Congratulations to our 2020 Research Mentor Award recipients!

Taryn Bipat, Graduate Student, Human Centered Design & Engineering

Photo of Taryn Bipat

“Taryn welcomed my enthusiasm even when I didn’t have any prior experience in the HCDE and computer-supported cooperative work fields. Through being a mentor in both the English and Spanish Wikipedia research projects, Taryn has helped me develop some valuable research skills that I have been able to use in subsequent research projects I am involved in. Taryn placed faith in me and extended an offer to me to present our poster with her at the ACM CSCW conference in Austin, Texas in 2019. This experience helped me learn more about the research in the computer-supported cooperative work fields beyond the project I worked on, meet other researchers from all over the world, and get feedback on our work. Her leadership fueled my excitement in working on a research project that combined language, technology, and discourse.”
— Diana Davidson, senior, Linguistics, Japanese


Sharon Laing, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing & Healthcare Leadership, UW Tacoma

Photo of Sharon Laing

“Dr. Sharon Laing is an amazing mentor because of her expertise in the field of research, sharing her experiences with students, and reaching out and checking on us constantly to see if we need any help.”
— Yusra Iftakhar, senior, Healthcare Leadership, UW Tacoma

“After working with Dr. Laing, I have a newfound confidence in my research abilities and a new understanding of the importance of skills like inquisitiveness, humility, and teamwork in research.”
— Anna Lee Howard, senior, Healthcare Leadership, UW Tacoma

“I remember when we started doing our research, I and my team members were having a difficult time figuring out a cluster and theme for our paper and Dr. Laing did not hesitate to spend extra hours with us.”
— Myai T Nguyen, senior, Healthcare Leadership, UW Tacoma


José Antonio Lucero, Associate Professor, Chair of Latin America and Caribbean Studies, Jackson School of International Studies Associate Director

Photo of Professor Lucero

“Professor Lucero has been an excellent mentor for our undergraduate research group throughout the past three years of its existence. While he has allowed the group to grow as a strong student-led cohort and team, he has been actively present as a resource and mentor for us.”
— Minsu Kim, Senior, Accounting, Law, Societies, & Justice, Sociology

“Tony made many contributions to our research and always made sure to take the time to help us with our questions and problems. He is a great, kind, caring and supportive mentor. We love him very much!”
— Julia Ge, junior, International Studies

“He’s really been helpful in our research process with not only taking time out of his day to allow us to interview him, but also connecting us to other interviewees as well.”
— Amy Nguyen, senior, International Studies, Spanish


Franziska Roesner, Associate Professor, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering

Photo of Franziska Roesner“I have the best research mentors I could ever have asked for. Professor Roesner empowers me to be a meaningful contributor in project planning and implementation, giving me ample room to grow and contribute. Her communication is always clear, prompt, and friendly. Even amidst a busy faculty schedule, she always takes time to comment thoughtfully on works in progress: anything from a brainstormed list of ideas to a section of an academic paper to a research scholarship application essay. She’s given helpful advice at career decision points I’ve faced, sharing anecdotes that advise and reassure. And she always has a positive attitude and infectious energy. Her biggest contribution, though, has been in helping me become increasingly self-sufficient and skilled as a young researcher. With her guidance and feedback, I’ve taken on increasing levels of autonomy and responsibility in my work. Most recently, I’ve been able to run my own research project from start to finish: I presented the resulting paper at a top conference in my field.”
— Kimberly Ruth, senior, Computer Engineering, Mathematics


Joshua Russell, Postdoctoral Scholar, Pathology

Photo of Josh Russell“I’ve worked with Josh since my freshman year, and I have grown so much as a researcher since. Josh started off training me in the basics, and then started giving me more and more things to do. He’s always there to answer any questions I may have and to help. He wants all his undergraduates to develop the skills to work independently, so he places a lot of trust in them and tries to give everyone their own independent project.”
— Haoyi Lei, senior, Neuroscience

“Josh has been a great mentor for the nearly three years I have worked at the Kaeberlein Lab, and helped many students achieve their educational and research goals. I think his passion about getting students into science as well as his willingness to help them achieve their research goals should be commended and recognized.”
— Rahul Chaliparambil, senior, Neuroscience


Phillip Thurtle, Professor, Comparative History of Ideas

Photo of Phillip Thurtle“Phillip has done more to reshape my conceptions of this world than anyone I’ve ever met. He is extraordinarily compassionate, understanding, and open with students. He forces us to stretch further beyond the barriers of our imagination than thought possible. His passion for the work is contagious and genuine. His impact on me is profound and lasting, and has forever changed how I understand understanding.”
— Rosemary Jones, senior, Comparative History of Ideas 


Suzanne Withers, Associate Professor, Geography

Photo of Suzanne Withers“Professor Withers has been closely involved with my undergraduate thesis over the course of the year. She has discussed with me various considerations that have helped me conceptualize the implementation of my research. She has also helped me get in contact with other faculty in the department who are knowledgeable about my topic, and has provided various documents and news articles that have helped inform my approach. Professor Withers has also facilitated weekly discussions with our departmental honors cohort, providing prompts and texts that challenge us to explore our research further and consult with each other for advice. I am very thankful to her for creating an environment that supports our first attempts at producing meaningful research.”
— Orion Daokang Chen, senior, Geography


Undergraduate Research Advocate and Mentor Award

Gabriel Gallardo, former Associate Vice President, Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

Photo of Dr. Gabriel GallardoThis special award recognizes Dr. Gabriel Gallardo’s mentorship of individual students as well as his efforts and impact in establishing undergraduate research as a practice that engages students traditionally underrepresented in the research enterprise.

From the award letter: “As director of the UW’s McNair Scholars and Early Identification Programs, you have helped introduce 450 students to the idea of research and scholarship as a potential career path. Many of these students were first in their families to go to college, and then have gone on to become college professors themselves. More than 175 of those students are still engaged in academia, teaching and doing research at colleges and universities around the world. The legacy of your efforts at establishing, nurturing, and growing these programs is truly remarkable. Your work has changed students’ lives, and the character of the institutions at which they work.”
— Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean, Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Janice DeCosmo, associate dean, Undergraduate Academic Affairs


“He taught me that a leader can lead with both mind and heart.”
— Jennifer Harris, director, UW Undergraduate Research Program


“Dr. Gallardo has been the most influential mentor I have had since stepping foot on the UW campus. His leadership, advocacy and continued support for students makes the UW a better place. His support, advice, and recommendations have been instrumental to my successes in undergrad and now in a dual title Ph.D. program. Thank you for inspiring and helping this first-generation Mexicana literally reach for the stars.
— Guadalupe Tovar Mendoza, ‘17, UW Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program; UW Ph.D. student in Astronomy