Undergraduate Mentoring Awards

Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

The Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award honors individuals who demonstrate exemplary mentorship to Rice undergraduate students in research, design and creative works projects. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry is accepting nominations from current Rice students who would like to acknowledge the impact their research mentor has had on them and their experience. Honorees will be announced at the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium award ceremony. Nomination deadline is April 5, 2024.

Instructions and tips for nominating your research mentor are below.

Award Criterion

While the following criterion are not exhaustive in demonstrating excellence in mentorship, the selection committee typically considers did the mentor do the following:

  • Establish and maintain clear expectations
  • Meet regularly and make themselves available for support and supervision
  • Provide guidance on student’s research project, including skill and knowledge development to advance the project
  • Support student in connecting to broader research communities
  • Encourage student to share their work through publication or presentation
  • Support student success in applications for future opportunities including fellowships, graduate school, and/or employment
  • Demonstrate interest in student academic and career goals
  • Actively create equitable opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds in undergraduate research

Nomination Process

Students must complete the nomination form, which includes uploading a nomination letter outlining the qualities that make their mentor deserving of the award. The nomination letter will need to be uploaded as a PDF, and should be a maximum length of two-pages double spaced.

Strong nomination letters provide concrete examples of the qualities and actions of the mentor in the following areas:

  1. How the mentor supported you in being successful in your project, and your development through your research, design or creative work experience
  2. How the mentor impacted your educational and professional pathway including opportunities for sharing your work, future research, or post-graduation plans
  3. How the mentor contributed to a culture of inclusion within undergraduate research at Rice, and supported your sense of belonging to an academic community

Tips for writing the nomination letter

The following structure can be used as a guide in drafting your nomination letter.

  • Introduction: Include an brief overview of your research project, how it was developed with your mentor, and how long you have been working together.
  • Body Paragraphs: In separate paragraphs address the three areas outlined above.
  • Conclusion: Be sure to include any additional information about your mentor you feel is important for the review committee to consider as you summarize why your mentor is deserving of the award.

Finally, when editing your letter, review the “Awardee Criterion” listed above to see if these items have been, or can be, addressed in your letter where appropriate.

Council of Undergraduate Research Mentoring Awards

The Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR) recognizes outstanding faculty mentors of undergraduate research annually with awards in STEM and Arts and Humanities. Faculty who are CUR members are also eligible for selection to CUR Fellows. These awards include funds to support undergraduate research. A number of discipline-specific divisions within CUR also offer undergraduate research mentoring awards to CUR division members. For more information about the awards and the application process, visit the Council of Undergraduate Research.