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Two Earn Outstanding Research Mentor Awards

SALISBURY, MD---From encouraging students to present research at some of the nation’s most prestigious conferences to giving them the opportunity to present field research in the Brazilian Amazon, Drs. Mike Bardzell and Jill Caviglia-Harris have gone out of their way to mentor students during their years at Salisbury University.

During the ninth annual SU Student Research Conference, their dedication was rewarded with the prestigious Outstanding Research Mentor Award.

Bardzell, of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, and Caviglia-Harris, of Economics and Finance, both earned high praise from fellow faculty, as well as students. In nominating Bardzell, Dr. Kathleen Shannon, former chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, called him “one of the very rare individuals who excels in all areas of faculty responsibility,” adding “but by far, his finest accomplishments are in teaching.

The Mathematics Association of America agrees, having presented Bardzell with its prestigious Haimo Award for teaching in 2009. Since coming to SU in 1996, Bardzell has mentored 13 student presenters at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), a feat “unprecedented for a state-supported institution of our size,” said Shannon. He also has mentored student presenters for the MAA’s MathFest and the Council for Undergraduate Research’s Posters on the Hill event in Washington, D.C. He also has co-authored three peer-reviewed publications with students and supervised 12 summer research students.

Bardzell founded SU’s Pi Mu Epsilon national mathematics honor society chapter and SU’s first departmental honors program, in mathematics and computer science. He also has worked with Wicomico County Public Schools to improve mathematics education, earning two National Science Foundation grants for local schools.

Caviglia-Harris has “an extraordinary record of undergraduate research mentorship with tangible results,” said Dr. Herman Manakyan, Economics and Finance Department chair, in nominating her for the award.

She has mentored 12 student researchers who have presented at NCUR and other prestigious conferences, including the World Congress of Environmental and Resources Economists in Kyoto, Japan; and the Council of University System Faculty Student Research Day. She has published peer-reviewed articles with four of these students. She also has involved students in her National Science Foundation-funded field research of land use in the Amazon.

“This level of research is usually reserved for Ph.D., post-doctoral and master’s students,” said SU senior Simon Hall, who spent last summer in Rondonia, Brazil. “If it were not for Dr. Caviglia-Harris’s dedication to undergraduate students, the opportunity to work on a project of this magnitude would have never been available to me.”

Both honorees also have excelled in other areas, including scholarly publication and their own research.
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