UNT’s Fuchs Selected as 2023 CUR-Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Awardee

Dr. Jannon Fuchs, professor in the University of North Texas’s (UNT) Department of Biological Sciences, has been selected as the 2023 Council on Undergraduate Research – Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Awardee. The award gifts $5,000 for the awardee’s undergraduate research program.

Fuchs believes that her calling was mentoring undergraduate researchers. She believes that each student brings a unique constellation of backgrounds, goals, abilities, and personalities to the table. It is a mentor’s job to get in tune with each student’s individuality to establish rapport and to make the journey of discovery engaging. Thus, within her 38 years as a faculty member, Fuchs has mentored over 184 students of which 10 became Goldwater Scholars, including seven that have based their research essays on work they did in her laboratory.

“Dr. Jannon Fuchs, who has helped cultivate UNT Goldwater Scholars for three decades, has brought immense recognition to the University of North Texas via her stature as the 2023-2024 CUR-Goldwater Faculty Mentor of the Year,” explained James Duban, associate dean for research and national scholarships. “Since UNT is a Carnegie R-1 university, Dr. Fuchs’ distinction speaks volumes about the generosity of accomplished UNT faculty members who introduce undergraduates to the craft of research while becoming their faculty champions. The outcomes have major implications for our students’ prospects of making significant contributions to their fields of research and to earning paid-for postgraduate admissions.”

According to Glênisson de Oliveira, dean of the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at UNT, “Dr. Fuchs clearly merited that highly competitive award – her lab alone has produced seven Goldwater Award winners, which is more than most universities ever get. We boast to our prospective students that our faculty serve as champions for our students, and Jannon is a prime example of a faculty champion, who year after year guides a large number of students through successful contributive research projects.”

Lindsay Currie, executive officer of CUR, explained, “Dr. Fuchs modelled exemplary dedication to advancing undergraduate research through mentoring. With her background, her mentoring style, and her overall outlook, Dr. Fuchs is the definition of a Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor, and we are excited to honor her as the 2023 recipient.”

Throughout her professional career, mentoring undergraduates has clearly been a calling and a passion for Dr. Jannon Fuchs,” said John Mateja, president of the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation. “While we celebrate her skill as a laboratory mentor and teacher, we must not overlook the fact that she supports her students and continues to change their lives long after they have left the University of North Texas,” Mateja went on to say. As one of her students explained, “At every stage of my career – from undergraduate to MD to HHMI medical scholar to PhD, – Dr. Fuchs has been a tireless supporter, giving advice and writing letters of support.” “The Goldwater Foundation is pleased to be partnering with CUR to celebrate the kind of excellence that Dr. Fuchs exhibits,” Mateja said.

“The CUR-Goldwater Scholars Program highlights the importance of mentoring students during their formative years as they develop talents, discover passions, and make life-changing decisions.  Today’s undergraduate researchers will be tomorrow’s problem-solvers in an increasingly complex and precarious world.  It takes a village, and this Award is a tribute to the mentors, students, colleagues, institutions, and other villagers who continue to inspire my journey,” stated Fuchs.

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.

Established by Congress in 1986 to celebrate the life’s work of Senator Barry Goldwater as he was retiring from the Senate, the Goldwater Scholarship program, one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarship programs in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics in the United States, seeks to identify, encourage, and financially support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming this Nation’s next generation of research leaders in these fields.  The characteristics the Foundation seeks in a Goldwater Scholar include: 1) a strong commitment to a research career in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering, 2) an effective display of intellectual intensity in these fields, and 3) the potential for a significant future contribution to research in their chosen field.

Established in 1890, the University of North Texas (UNT) is one of the nation’s largest public research universities with more than 44,000 students. Ranked a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification, UNT is a catalyst for creativity, fueling progress, innovation and entrepreneurship for the North Texas region and the state. UNT’s programs are internationally recognized with research and scholarship spanning all disciplines. World-class faculty are making breakthroughs every day, and UNT students and alumni are changing the world around them.