EL PASO, Texas – Four full-time faculty members at The University of Texas at El Paso were recognized for their excellence in student research mentoring at the Sept. 29 UTEP Research Forum, sponsored by The Vice President for Research and The Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, as a collaborative effort between the National Institutes of Health sponsored-BUILDing SCHOLARS Center and UTEP colleges of Engineering, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts and Science.

The awardees included: Evgeny Shafirovich, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering; Feng Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology; Samuel Brunk, Ph.D., chair of the history department and and the Dr. and Mrs. W.H. Timmons professor of borderlands history; and Jorge A. Lopez, Ph.D., chair and Shumaker professor of physics.


“By working with BUILDing SCHOLARS to establish these awards, the participating colleges have demonstrated a real commitment to helping transform the reward structure at UTEP in order to incentivize deeper faculty engagement in student research mentoring,” said Timothy Collins, Ph.D., professor of sociology and anthropology and a principal investigator of BUILDing SCHOLARS.

“Through these awards, we are able to feature the excellent mentoring of UTEP faculty, which until last year occurred without major recognition. This recognition validates the long hours that our faculty devotes to preparing our students for career success. Without the commitment of faculty members like these, UTEP’s impact on students’ career trajectories would not be as great.”

The Mentoring Awards program was created in 2015 as a joint effort between the BUILDing SCHOLARS Center and the colleges of Engineering, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts and Science in order to foster a campus-wide culture of commitment to mentoring students particularly through engagement in mentored research, scholarly or creative activities. Recipients were selected through a highly competitive application review process and each awarded $1,000. Eight UTEP faculty have received the award since the inception of the awards program.

“I heartily congratulate each of these awardees for their dedication to improving our students’ lives,” said Collins.

Funded by NIH as a Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity initiative, the BUILDing SCHOLARS Center focuses on student, faculty, and institutional development to positively transform the training of the next generation of biomedical researchers from the U.S. Southwest region in an effort to substantially diversify the biomedical research workforce so that it more closely mirrors the population of the nation.


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