Undergraduate Research Mentors of the Year

This award was inaugurated in 2003 to recognize outstanding faculty as mentors of undergraduate researchers.

Faculty who mentor undergraduate researchers are characterized as counselors and guides who encourage, instruct, and advocate. A good faculty mentor provides a role model for methods of inquiry in a field of study and for the responsible conduct of research.

Good mentors often provide students with their first entry into professional circles and support the dissemination of the student’s work as through professional conference participation or publication.

Ryan Berke, recipient of the 2019 USU Undergraduate Mentor of the Year Award

Ryan Berke joined Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) as an Assistant Professor in January 2015. He runs a large research group in which undergraduate research plays a strong role in recruiting and training top graduate students. To date, he has advised 34 undergraduates including 10 current (3 seniors, 5 juniors, 1 sophomore, and 1 freshman). His undergraduates are consistently at least 30-40% female every semester — over double the rate for his college and triple the rate for his department. To date, he has advised 12 women, 2 Latinas, 1 Native American, 5 LGBTQ+ students, and 1 veteran. All but one of his current graduate students started their research careers as undergraduate researchers in his lab.

Dr. Berke also serves as both chair and MAE representative for the Engineering Undergraduate Research Program (EURP) selection committee, which provides matching funds for up to three semesters of paid undergraduate research experience. Since taking over the committee,the number of annually admitted students has doubled, and at least 92% of graduating participants have pursued graduate school.He was recently nominated as MAE’s Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year for the fourth consecutive year, and this year also won at the college level.

2019 College Undergraduate Research Mentors of the Year