During Oklahoma State University’s Graduate Education Week, the College of Human Sciences recognized excellence among both students and faculty at the Graduate Education Breakfast on April 25.
The College presented awards to outstanding students at the master’s and doctoral level and recognized faculty and students in the area of mentorship. Student award winners received stipends and a plaque to recognize their achievements.
“The caliber of award applications this year was outstanding and represents the vast accomplishments of our graduate students as well as the meaningful contributions made by our graduate faculty,” Christine Johnson, associate dean for research and graduate studies, said. “Our graduate student award nominees articulated their passions for helping others and their commitment to their respective fields. This year we had 19 graduate faculty members nominated for the outstanding faculty mentor award, which may be an all-time record, and this reflects that graduate students recognize and appreciate the dedication of the faculty.”
Alex Ware, Outstanding Graduate Student Award – Master’s Level
The College of Human Sciences Outstanding Graduate Student Award - Master’s level was presented to Alex Ware. Ware is studying in the Department of Human Development and Family Science and is advised by Dr. Karina Shreffler. A highly-motivated student, Ware is interested in family dynamics, resilience and youth development. Having aged out of foster care herself, Ware is passionate about helping youth in foster care as they age out and has strong desire to help others navigate the educational and social service systems to help them meet their full potential. She is working with OSU Student Affairs to identify and research needs of current OSU students to help the university develop a program to improve recruitment and retention efforts for students who aged out of foster care. Ware has been remarkably successful in academia and Shreffler calls her, “an outstanding graduate student who exemplifies the mission of our college.”
Babajide Ojo, Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research Award for Graduate Students
Babjide Ojo, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, received the Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research Award for Graduate Students. The award recognizes and encourages outstanding mentoring of undergraduate by graduate students in research activities outside of the classroom. Ojo was nominated for the honor by undergraduate student Grace Gallucci and his advisor is Dr. Edralin Lucas. Lucas considers Ojo as partner in training both undergraduate and graduate students for her research lab. Gallucci’s nomination cited Ojo’s teaching approach to mentorship and his ability to not only to teach her how to operate lab equipment, analyze samples and interpret data, but also to convey “the big picture” of the study.
Lei Wu, Outstanding Graduate Student – Ph.D. Level
Lei Wu is the recipient of the College of Human Sciences 2018 Outstanding Graduate Student Award – Ph.D. Level. Wu is pursuing a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences and was nominated for the honor by faculty mentor Dr. Dingo “Daniel” Lin. Wu’s research project investigates the role of carotenoid metabolism in the mitochondrial function and low-grade inflammation. Her work has led to five peer-reviewed publications in top-tier journals. Lin said that Wu, “is an intelligent and enthusiastic student with outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.” She is one of only 12 finalists for the American Nutrition Society Graduate Student Research Award. The honor is among the most prestigious awards given and reflects Wu’s excellence among future leaders in the field of nutritional sciences.
Li Miao, Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor
Dr. Li Miao, associate professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, was presented with the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor Award. Miao was chosen from 19 nominees by a panel of graduate students. Student nominations said that Miao, “inspires a community of learning and knowledge sharing within the program” and “ensures that we do our best and expects nothing less.” She initiated a monthly Brown Bag Research Series within the graduate program to facilitate the exchange ideas and develop research topics. Miao serves as the faculty advisor for the Hospitality and Tourism Management Graduate Student Association at OSU. She also is associate editor of the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research and vice president of the Central Federation Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education Conference.
Ashley Harvey, Julie Branch Staton Outstanding Graduate Student Award
The Julie Branch Staton Outstanding Graduate Student Award was presented to Ashley Harvey. This honor was established in 2017 as a memorial to Staton, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) at OSU-Tulsa. At the time of her death in 2016, Staton was a doctoral student in HDFS studying child development and early childcare teacher mental health. The Julie Branch Staton Award is given to an outstanding HDFS graduate student at OSU-Tulsa who exhibits drive and leadership in the field of child development. Reviewers commented that Harvey demonstrates, “passion for helping families and children and a commitment to academics, leadership and resilience.” Harvey was named a Tulsa Albert Schweitzer Fellow and developed the Family Strengthening Project, a resilience program for justice-involved families, along with another graduate student. Harvey’s faculty advisor is Dr. Michael Merten.
Learn more about graduate programs in the OSU College of Human Sciences at https://humansciences.okstate.edu/future-students/graduate-students.html