Dr. Alexa Veenema, professor in the College of Social Science, and Dr. Adam Lock, professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, were honored at the annual 2019 UURAF Award Ceremony with the Michigan State University Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor of the Year award. Two awards in the areas of Science, Mathematics, & Engineering and Humanities, Social Science, & Communication Arts are presented annually in recognition of those faculty members who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers.

Ashley Chambers, a chemistry major and undergraduate researcher in the Veenema Lab, nominated Dr. Veenema for her commitment to both research and academia. Chambers wrote, "Dr. Veenema’s commitment to my undergraduate research experience has helped shape me into a better student, and I know that the other undergraduates who she mentors would say the same. Being able to see Dr. Veenema’s success and passion for science inspires me to work harder to achieve my goals and makes me excited to see where my future in science will lead."

Maia Machiela, a dietetics major, and Ariana Negreiro, an animal science major, both nominated Dr. Lock for his mentorship and commitment to undergraduate research. Both have served as undergraduate researchers in Dr. Lock's lab and spoke highly of his involvement and attention to his students. Machiela said, "Every time that I see Dr. Lock, he always has a smile on his face and he always makes sure to personally say ‘hello’ to each person that is in the lab that day. During our bi-weekly lab meeting, Dr. Lock and the graduate students always make sure to thank the undergraduates for the work we do in the lab and the farm." Negreiro adds, "I was given a past study to present on, and Dr. Lock spent hours patiently working with myself and other undergraduates to prepare graphs for our slides, understand what the results mean and their implications, and practice presenting. I had the honor of winning first place in the undergraduate competition at Tri-State that year, and went on to win first place at the American Dairy Science Association Undergraduate Original Research Oral Presentation Competition under his mentorship."

This award recognizes MSU faculty members who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers. The award is completely student-driven, as only undergraduate researchers can submit nominations and the university’s undergraduate research ambassadors review and select the finalists.

The awards were presented during the annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts (UURAF) Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 10.