Mentor of the Year

Dr. Dong-Fang Deng, School of Freshwater SciencesCongratulations to Dong-Fang Deng, Senior Scientist at the School of Freshwater Sciences, on being named the 2021 Research Mentor of the Year by UWM’s Office of Undergraduate Research. The annual award solicits nominations from undergraduate research students, and awards one mentor with a plaque, campus recognition, and $500 for research supplies to support their work.

The nominations for Dr. Deng were impressive. One student wrote: “From [Dr. Deng] I have learned that the best scientists are those who know how to share time, expertise, and resources. She has always been a great role model and mentor to me, and this past year was no exception. The consistency in her attitude about science has kept me motivated and given me something to look forward to every week during a year that has been so full of anxiety and loss. I am grateful for all of the time she has spent shaping me into a more knowledgeable and confident scientist.”

Another student wrote, “I had no experience with animal research when I began working with her, and now I have participated in numerous aspects of fish care and research, including spawning and hatching, dissection, and proximate analysis of tissue samples for feed trials. My confidence doing these tasks has increased immensely in the last year and I believe that these experiences will prove to be a unique asset in the workforce. This is furthered by the fact that she is always willing to offer advice on advancing our careers as scientists as well as pointing out avenues for doing so, such as fellowships or opportunities for collaboration with other researchers.”

Congratulations to Dr. Deng, and thank you to all of the students who took time to nominate the many inspirational research mentors with whom they have collaborated in this past year!

The other nominees this year were:

Steven Forst, Biological Sciences

Bonita Klein-Tasman, Psychology

Lucy Mkandawire-Valhum, Nursing

Erin Sahlstein Parcell, Communications

 Marcia Silva, Global Water Center

James “Dimitri” Topitzes, Social Work

 Joseph Walzer, History

 James Wasley, Architecture

 Christopher Willey, Art & Design

 Lia Wolock, JAMS