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.

Susannah French, recipient of the 2017 USU Undergraduate Mentor of the Year Award

Susannah French
Susannah French is an associate professor of biology at Utah State University. Dr. French received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in 2002 and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 2006. She was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Indiana University before she joined the Biology faculty at USU in 2009. Her research group currently includes four Ph.D. students and an army of undergraduates, who are invaluable to her work. Dr. French’s group is widely published in a variety of journals and has received funding from the National Science Foundation, United State Geological Survey, and National Geographic. Through the NSF Faculty Early Career “CAREER” Award, Dr. French has initiated a new undergraduate research training program for science teaching majors at USU.

Dr. French studies reptiles in Utah, The Bahamas, and the Galapagos Islands, to better understand how animals interact with their environments to allocate energy among physiological systems vital to health, survival, and reproduction. Environmental disturbances, including those caused by humans, can alter energy balance and result in significant health and survival consequences. By using a variety of methods in the laboratory and the field, she is working to understand how species respond and hopefully adapt to environmental changes.