itn060404 (2)Last week, Lawrence Martin, the Dean of the Graduate School, announced this year’s recipients of the Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Graduate Education. Three MSRC faculty were among those honored. Professor Glenn Lopez will receive a certificate of special commendation for Excellence in Service to Graduate Education as the department’s Graduate Program Director, and Distinguished Professors Cindy Lee and Nicholas Fisher will receive certificates for Excellence in Graduate Mentoting.

Lopez has served three terms as Graduate Program Director in his 25 years at MSRC for a combined total of 8 years of graduate program service. One of the nomination letters for Lopez was co-signed by over 40 MSRC graduate students and highlighted his dedication to both the students and the department. One student noted, “It’s hard to find another faculty member who cares more about the students. He listens and he’s thoughtful in dealing with problems. and he takes our problems seriously – and always manages to find solutions.” To that end, Lopez noted, “There are real rewards in making things work.” Lopez expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the nomination and said, “Unquestionably, the best part of my job is working with the students.”

Cindy Lee’s nomination for Excellence in Mentoring was initiated by her current Ph.D. students – Lynn Abramson, Jenni Szlosek, and Zhanfei Liu. Abramson said, “What distinguishes Cindy as an advisor is how deeply she cares about her students.” Liu continued, ”You can knock on her office door any time and talk to her about your excitement, depression and tears from both science and personal life, and she is always a patient listener and gives you the appropriate advice.” Szlosek added, “Cindy has mastered the art of guiding by an invisible hand … She manages to guide you without pushing you.” Lee also expressed her gratitude in receiving the award noting, “I appreciate this honor more than most I have received. For me, having students has always been the best part of my job. There is nothing as wonderful as watching a student have that “Aha! Now I see!” moment when they learn something new, unless maybe it is when THEY come in and teach ME something new that I didn’t know.”

Nicholas Fisher’s nomination for mentoring was also supported by two of his current Ph.D. students. Teresa Mathews said, “One of the reasons I think Nick is such a good mentor is simply because he leads by example. In his own work, he is direct and focused, and I think this carries into his advising of students.” Catherine Vogel added that he is a very hands-on and involved advisor: “(Nick) keeps an open door policy and urges us to approach him at any point with questions, ideas, and problems we may have.” Fisher said, “I was delighted to receive this commendation, for which I am most grateful. Mentoring graduate students at MSRC has been the highlight of my time at Stony Brook, and continues to be so.”

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