Graduate Mentor of the Year Award

The University Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award recognizes faculty excellence in the complex process of mentoring graduate students to prepare them for productive careers.

Nominees should be effective advisors who facilitate degree completion, model sound scholarship and ethical behavior, help students understand and benefit from departmental and university resources, provide emotional support, offer constructive criticism, and involve students in publishing and other professional activities.

The $2,000 award is presented at the RGS Gala, as well as recognition in the printed Commencement program.

Alexander Boldyrev, recipient of the 2017 USU Outstanding Graduate Mentor of the Year Award

During his career Boldyrev’s research in computational chemistry has introduced chemists to the concepts of “superhalogens” and “superalkalies.” Superhalogens are useful in chemistry as superoxidizers, and superalkalies are useful as supereducers. Toyota Research Institute researchers have shown that superhalogens have applications in novel Magnesium batteries. In another area, in collaboration with Professor Lai-Sheng Wang (Brown University) Boldyrev has advanced the concepts of aromaticity into metal systems. His two pioneering articles on this topic were published in Science magazine and have been widely cited. Since then, chemists have discovered such systems throughout the molecular spectrum. Students in Boldyrev’s lab developed new theoretical tools and software, known as Adaptive Natural Density Partitioning Method (AdNDP) and the Solid State Adaptive Natural Density Partitioning Method (SSAdNDP) for analyzing chemical bonding in novel molecules, clusters, two-dimensional materials, and solids. For the first time these theoretical methods allow scientist to rationalize chemical bonding in complicated cases, where classical ideas of bonding do not apply. These new advancements are a transition from two-center-two-electron bonds, which dominated chemistry in the last century, to multi-center bonds. These new tools help scientists design new molecules and materials for electronics and catalysis, and assist the teaching of chemical bonding.