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Savina Honored With Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

October 16, 2013 at 11:46 am

Washington, D.C.––Mary Savina, the Charles L. Denison Professor of Geology at Carleton College, has been awarded the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award from the Geosciences division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

The awardee is an individual who serves as a role model for productive and transformative student-faculty mentoring relationships and for maintaining a sustained and innovative approach to the enterprise of undergraduate research. The award will be formally presented at the Geological Society of America Meeting in Denver, Colo., in October.

Savina has been involved in research and mentoring undergraduate students for the last 35 years. She has been effective at reaching underrepresented students and has incorporated service-learning elements into the projects long before current trends. Her longstanding excellence in creative undergraduate research mentoring was defined by a nominator as “deeply thoughtful and helpful, and nurturing.” She has discovered a potent formula for a “powerful pedagogy,” one in which her students have ownership of ideas, mastery of content, and are often informers for civic decision makers. As another nominee stated, she has “a passion for undergraduate teaching and commitment to providing students with authentic and meaningful research experiences.”

Savina’s guidance does not end on graduation day; one nominator explained the importance of their mentoring relationship continuing after graduation, highlighting how she acted as trusted guide navigating a complex professional landscape. “After leaving Carleton, Mary continued to be one of the people I most trusted when I needed to make important professional decisions – where (and if) to go to graduate school, how to cope in an academic job, and how to be an effective teacher in different settings,” wrote the nominator. This service as a mentor and supporter of undergraduate students is critical to the success of the next generation, they added.

Council on Undergraduate Research: The Council on Undergraduate Research ( supports faculty development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. 680 institutions and over 9000 individuals belong to CUR. CUR believes that the best way to capture student interest and create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty members.