CUR Names Rhodes College’s Stoddard as Silvia Ronco Innovative Mentor Awardee

May 24, 2023 09:00 AM

Dr. Shana Stoddard, associate professor of chemistry at Rhodes College in Tennessee, has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Council on Undergraduate Research’s (CUR) Silvia Ronco Innovative Mentor Award. This award, established in February 2022 by a gift from Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA), is in honor of CUR’s past president and current RCSA Senior Program Director, Silvia Ronco. The Silvia Ronco Innovative Mentor Award recognizes a tenure-track faculty member within ten years of their first faculty appointment who demonstrates success in chemical sciences and whose mentoring practices have supported undergraduate research.

“I really feel that research is a way of life that allows scholars to be able to embark upon a journey that can bring good to the world. I most enjoy that journey when I have students by my side,” said Stoddard. “The opportunity to mentor students and to teach them that it is the scientist who is the connection between science and society is a truly rewarding experience. This award allows me to continue to reflect on how the platform of being a teacher-scholar-mentor-leader has been impactful and affirms the work we do at primarily undergraduate institutions in investing in students to become the world’s next generation of scholars.”

Stoddard, who received her Bachelor of Science in chemistry at Prairie View A&M University and a doctorate in chemistry and biochemistry at The University of Mississippi, continued on with postdoctoral work at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Amongst the many achievements and awards Stoddard has received in her career, in the last two years, she has been awarded CUR’s Health Sciences Divisional Mentor Award in 2021 and the Henry C. McBay Outstanding Teacher Award presented by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers in 2022.

Stoddard is the founding director of The STEM Cohort Mentoring Program at Rhodes, which she established in 2017. Many scholars from the program go on to pursue graduate degrees in STEM. Currently, 32 scholars have been accepted into 67 STEM graduate and/or professional programs with 36 program acceptances being at the doctoral level from the first three graduating cohorts (Rhodes Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023).

Lindsay Currie, CUR’s executive officer commented, “Dr. Shana Stoddard’s innovative mentoring work and drive in the chemical sciences should be viewed as a model for sharing passion in research and excelling in mentoring undergraduate researchers. Her dedication to encouraging success among her students is inspiring and provides hope for the future. This award is a testament to the hard work and determination Dr. Stoddard has put forth in her career and it is an honor to welcome her as a Silvia Ronco Innovative Mentor Awardee.”

Stoddard will be recognized at CUR’s upcoming Award Celebration on June 13, 2023. You can RSVP to the award celebration here.  

Founded in 1978, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity. Among the many activities and networking opportunities that CUR provides, the organization also offers support for the professional growth of faculty and administrators through expert-designed institutes, conferences, and a wide-range of volunteer positions. The CUR community, made up of nearly 700 institutions and 13,000 individuals, continues to provide a platform for discussion and other resources related to mentoring, connecting, and creating relationships centered around undergraduate research. CUR’s advocacy efforts are also a large portion of its work as they strive to strengthen support for undergraduate research. Its continued growth in connections with representatives, private foundations, government agencies, and campuses world-wide provides value to its members and gives voice to undergraduate research. CUR is committed to inclusivity and diversity in all of its activities and our community.

CUR focuses on giving a voice to undergraduate research with learning through doing. It provides connections to a multitude of campuses and government agencies, all while promoting networking and professional growth to its community.

Founded in 1848, Rhodes College is a nationally ranked liberal arts and sciences college located in Memphis, Tenn. Because of the colleges’ unique position as one of the few liberal arts colleges in an urban setting, its students have myriad ways to immerse themselves in a major metropolitan area through service and internship opportunities. Students also explore the world through study abroad. Rigorous and small in size, the classroom experience integrates faculty-mentored student research and fellowships.

Research Corporation for Science Advancement, founded in 1912, is a private foundation that funds early stage, high-potential basic research in the physical sciences (astronomy, chemistry, physics, and related fields) at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.