The Office of Undergraduate Research has created a faculty award to honor mentors for their work with students. The Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, now in its inaugural year, is given to those who were selected by their college leadership and peers for their dedicated service to mentorship.
Of the 420 mentors across campus who worked with the Office of Undergraduate Research this year, two of the 2023 winners of the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award are seated in the College of Science: Ofer Rog (biology) and Gannet Hallar (Atmospheric Sciences).
Dr. Ofer Rog’s research focuses on the complex regulation of chromosomes during meiosis. Dr. Rog and his assembled team of top-notch researchers have developed new methods, used innovative approaches, and carried out meticulous studies that are now revealing key elements of this complex process. The work conducted by him and his research group has provided stunning insights into the fundamental cellular processes explaining the origin and maintenance of different sexes, including our own. As Director Frederick Adler states, “Dr. Rog is also an extraordinary communicator with a dedication to helping colleagues and students find new ways to communicate.”
The Mario Capecchi Endowed Chair in the School of Biological Sciences (SBS), Rog was a catalyst in forming and managing the LGBTQ+ STEM interest group in the College of Science. The group seeks to create change in our campus community with an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies.
You can read about Rog’s work with condensate illustration in a recent feature in SBS’s OUR DNA here.
Dr. Gannett Hallar has been successfully mentoring undergraduate researchers at the University of Utah since 2016. Her mentees participate in the Hallar Aerosol Research Team (HART) making connections between the atmosphere, biosphere, and climate. Her mentees have successfully received awards such as the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and Wilkes Scholars. Her commitment to mentoring includes her role as a faculty fellow with Utah Pathways to STEM Initiative (UPSTEM), training in inclusive teaching and mentoring strategies.
As stated by Dean Darryl Butt, “Dr. Hallar is a world-class mentor. Her dedication to our undergraduate students comes naturally, but she is also very deliberate in creating a structure of experiential learning that is inherently unforgettable.”
Director of the Storm Peak Lab, the premier, high-elevation atmospheric science laboratory in the Western U.S., Hallar says the facility atop Steamboat Springs Ski Resort is “the perfect place, to have your head in the clouds.” The laboratory sits in the clouds about 40 percent of the time in the winter. “That allows us to sample clouds and the particles that make clouds at the same time. And from that, the lab has produced about 150 peer-reviewed publications.”