Furman’s Shields Selected as 2022 CUR-Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Awardee

Dr. George Shields, professor of Chemistry at Furman University, has been selected as the 2022 Council on Undergraduate Research – Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Awardee. The award consists of a plaque and $5,000 for the awardee’s research program.

Shields has been recognized for his influential mentoring abilities. In fact, four students under the chemistry professor’s guidance have won Fulbright awards and 13 became Goldwater Scholars, including five at Furman University, three of which we announced in 2021. 

“George is a remarkable mentor,” said Furman University President Elizabeth Davis. “He guides his students as they develop a deep understanding of the field of chemistry and the nuances of life. He gives them a chance to find themselves and identify future careers in science. Furman is very proud to have him on our faculty.”

“Dr. Shields is an amazing mentor,” said John Mateja, President of the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation.  “Since 1989 he has mentored 133 undergraduates.  His mentees have received 37 national awards, including 12 Goldwater scholarships; published in leading journals like the Journal of the American Chemical Society, including as first authors; and 90% have gone on to graduate school or professional programs,” Mateja went on to say.  “What is truly exceptional about George is that in addition to significantly changing the undergraduate research opportunities at the five institutions he has held faculty and administrative positions (Lake Forest College, Hamilton College, Armstrong State University, Bucknell University, and Furman University), he has had a major national impact by mentoring faculty through a consortium he created of computational chemists at primarily undergraduate institutions.  In doing so, he has impacted the lives of countless undergraduates, including many students of color, students who are first-generation college, and female students.”

“The award is just a recognition of the fact that there’ve been lots of good students who’ve come through my lab, who started research early and were able to demonstrate their research aptitude as well as their high grades in order to be competitive for this fellowship,” Shields said.

Shields will be celebrated virtually at the upcoming CUR Spring Celebration on April 21, 2022, from 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET. This celebration is open to the undergraduate research community. You can RSVP 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.

Furman University is a private, undergraduate liberal arts and sciences university of 2,600 students in Greenville, South Carolina. The university is noted for its rigorous academic program and strong faculty, and its 750-acre campus is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful in the nation. At the heart of the university’s academic experience is The Furman Advantage, a strategic plan that combines learning with immersive experiences outside the classroom, creating a personalized pathway that prepares students for lives of purpose, successful careers and community benefit.