OUR Announces 2021 Nominees for the Michael Dickey Outstanding Research Mentor Award

The Office of Undergraduate Research is excited to announce this year’s nominees for the Michael Dickey Outstanding Research Mentor Award. Each mentor was nominated by an undergraduate student who has worked with the researcher for at least one semester. “This year’s nominees are truly exceptional,” said Dr. Chris Ashwell, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “It is clear they have made a significant difference in the lives of our students.”

The Michael Dickey Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence in mentoring and supporting undergraduate researchers. Strong nominations for the award will show a commitment to the following:

  • Serving as a guide
  • Creating opportunities
  • Offering academic and career advice
  • Supporting underrepresented students
  • Encouraging communication

The winner of the 2021 award will be announced during the Spring Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium, held April 22-23, 2021.

2021 Nominees

Dr. Eric Chi

College of Sciences, Statistics

Dr. Chi’s current research interests are in statistical learning and numerical optimization, and their application to analyzing large and complicated modern data in biological science and engineering applications. [read more]

From Dr. Chi’s nomination: “Any time I had questions he would explain any concepts or notations that were confusing to me. I learned that day that Dr. Chi truly loves both aspects of what he is doing: the research and the teaching.”


Picture of Dr Qiana R. Cryer-Coupet

Dr. Qiana Cryer-Coupet

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Social Work

Dr. Cryer-Coupet’s program of research focuses on parenting practices and their impacts on family health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Her current research explores the roles of fathers in families, particularly among those engaged in kinship care or who have been impacted by family-traumas such as paternal incarceration, experiences of homelessness, and paternal substance use disorders. [read more]

From Dr. Cryer-Coupet’s nomination: “Dr. Cryer-Coupet has made real all of my aspirations for my academic career. Dr. Cryer-Coupet has inspired me to continue pursing education and continue making knowledge and resources accessible to everyone. “


Dr. Matthew Green

College of Sciences, Physics

Dr. Green’s work focuses on experimentally probing the properties and interactions of neutrinos, elementary particles lacking electric charge and of diminutive mass. Currently he is working with the Majorana Collaboration to build the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR. This experiment aims to observe Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay (0vBB), a nuclear decay which can only occur if neutrinos are their own anti-particle. [read more]

From Dr. Green’s nomination: “…Dr. Green inspired in me an awe for the subject of nuclear physics. Today I am grateful to have taken this first step, and more so that Dr. Green was there to guide me in skill-building and preparation for my future as a physicist.”


Dr. Steven Greene

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Political Science

Dr. Greene’s research and expertise focuses on American public opinion and American elections, broadly. He has more specific interests in gender and politics, media and politics, political parties, and North Carolina politics. [read more]

From Dr. Greene’s nomination: “He has consistently encouraged me to search for interesting and novel questions. His insight and feedback have been critical, and have allowed me to move forward with my research far more quickly than I could have unaided.”


Dr. Adam Hartstone-Rose

College of Sciences, Biological Sciences

Dr. Hartstone-Rose studies functional morphology and comparative anatomy in vertebrates, predominantly in mammals and mostly in primates and carnivorans. His lab examines the relationship between anatomical form and behavioral functions – especially the relationship between diet and the masticatory apparatus. [read more]

From Dr. Hartstone-Rose’s nomination: “As I approach graduation this semester, I realize how impactful him taking me onto his brand new lab at NCSU was during my freshman year. It boosted my academic self-confidence and motivated me to work towards a publication, which I will be receiving this semester hopefully.”


Dr. Alexander Kemper

College of Sciences, Physics

Dr. Kemper has embarked on a research project in non-equilibrium physics of complex materials. Non-equilibrium phenomena are studied experimentally using ultrafast lasers, which perturb the material under study and observing the subsequent dynamics. He has developed a set of software tools that theoretically model the pump-probe process in a variety of systems, which has to the first theoretical examinations of the pump-probe process. [read more]

From Dr. Kemper’s nomination: “He has provided strong input on my research projects with him, helped me find awards/grants/presentations/conferences to apply to, written dozens of letters of recommendation on my behalf, and introduced me to his colleagues leading to other fruitful research work. In many ways, my work with Dr. Kemper was the strongest encouragement to pursue my physics career as strong as I have.”


Traci Lamar

Dr. Traci Lamar

Wilson College of Textiles, Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management

Dr. Lamar’s research area is the textile product design and development process including the application of technology, virtual design and development, and managing innovation in a demand driven business environment. [read more]

From Dr. Lamar’s nomination: “Dr. Lamar gave me creative advice when I was feeling overwhelmed or stuck, and she made sure I had remote access to design software. At one problematic juncture, she encouraged me to collaborate with Data and Visualization staff and to learn Python coding. She also made sure I could produce woven fabrics free of cost.”


Dr. Kelly Lynn Mulvey

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

Dr. Mulvey’s research interests focus on social-cognitive development, in particular moral and social development. She conducts research examining theory of mind, social exclusion, and group dynamics, including when children challenge peer group norms. Her work focuses on intergroup contexts, and examines the influence of children’s bias, prejudice and stereotypes on their intergroup relations. Her work also examines broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in the STEM fields and understanding stereotypes regarding who can and should be a scientist. [read more]

From Dr. Mulvey’s nomination: “Because of Dr.Mulvey, I was able to see myself as a researcher. She took a chance on my craft and motivated me to advance to the next level as a future master’s student.”


Dr. Shevaun Neupert

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

Dr. Neupert’s research interests include contextual and individual differences surrounding stressors and well-being outcomes (e.g., physical health, cognition, affect). In particular, she is interested in the psychosocial and sociodemographic characteristics of individuals along with changing contextual factors which may be related to emotional, physical, and cognitive reactivity (or responses) to stressors. [read more]

From Dr. Neupert’s nomination: “Dr. Neupert has also provided me with priceless advice on topics such as resume building and graduate school applications. Ultimately, Dr. Neupert has enabled me to put my education to work, and she has shown me what a career in Psychology could really look like.”


Dr. Lisa Paciulli

College of Sciences, Biological Sciences

Dr. Paciulli is a physical anthropologist by training and has dedicated the past 30 years to studying nonhuman primate biology, behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation. Her current research centers around the behavior and biology of lemurs including vocalizations and how they respond to novel objects. [read more]

From Dr. Paciulli’s nomination: “I managed to accrue experience presenting conference works, writing grants and publishable literature, and teaching other students under her mentorship. I think Dr. Paciulli has a special knack for discovering the potential in her students, that even they didn’t know they had. “


Dr. S. Thomas Parker

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, History

Dr. Parker’s major field is Roman history and archaeology, especially the Roman Levant. His research focuses on the economy of the Roman Empire, Roman frontiers, the Roman army, and the origins of Christianity. [read more]

From Dr. Parker’s nomination: “Every day I go into work I have been not only supported but trusted and valued. My opinions and suggestions are consistently heard, expected, respected, and taken seriously. To know that Dr. Parker trusts me enough to conduct independent database and textual analysis for his on-going publications has played a crucial part in my undergraduate career.”


Dr. Antonio Planchart

College of Sciences, Biological Sciences

Research in the Planchart lab combines high throughput techniques, including proteomics and transcriptomics, to understand how environmental factors affect vertebrate embryonic development. We are focused on identifying genetic modifiers of craniofacial development that can be modulated by changes in the environment during embryogenesis. [read more]

From Dr. Planchart’s nomination: “I was a veteran that had just returned home. I had been out of school for a long time, I had little in common with my peers, and I did not have the clearest idea of what my academic intentions were. Dr. Planchart saw potential in me and provided me with an environment to learn and progress as a student, and helped me to find a passion for science.”


Dr. Justin Post

College of Sciences, Statistics

Dr. Post currently teaches coursework in the department of statistics while also serving as the director for online education. His areas of expertise are in statistical education and penalization methods. [read more]

From Dr. Post’s nomination: “Dr. Post always listened to any of the ideas I had and gave his honest opinion on everything. I greatly appreciated how he would guide me enough to get the ball rolling in my research, but wouldn’t do too much to where he is basically doing the research himself.”


Dr. Brad Reaves

College of Engineering, Computer Sciences

Dr. Reaves’ research is dedicated to measuring and improving the security and privacy of computer systems, with a particular emphasis on telephone networks and software for mobile platforms. His research integrates knowledge from fields as diverse as signal processing and digital communications; data science, machine learning, and statistics; cryptography; program analysis; reverse engineering; and Internet and telephone networks. [read more]

From Dr. Reaves nomination: “I discovered my love of research under his tutelage… I have been accepted to 5 Ph.D. programs this year and have amazing opportunities in my future all thanks to Brad. He’s also been great for personal support, understanding my struggles and guiding me through a particularly rough patch… His passion for ensuring students have appropriate work life balance is one that all researchers could learn from.”


Dr. Andrew Taylor

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Political Science

Dr. Taylor’s research focuses on American governmental institutions. He teaches courses in American politics, including Introduction to American Government, the Presidency and Congress, the Legislative Process, Public Choice and Political Institutions, and the Classical Liberal Tradition. [read more]

From Dr. Taylor’s nomination: “Not only has he answered my many academic questions, he has also made me aware of different opportunities to further develop my research. I greatly appreciate all of his time and effort.”


Dr. Nicholas Taylor

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Communications

Dr. Taylor’s research interests broadly concern the role of digital gaming and play in our everyday lives, and the new and re-mediated forms of communication, sociality, work and labor that coalesce around digital games. He is particularly interested in the growing professionalization of video game play, through the rise of competitive gaming (aka “e-Sports”) communities and the leagues, clans, and tournaments that constitute the emerging e-Sports industry. [read more]

From Dr. Taylor’s nomination: “He has always been willing to field questions and discuss projects at length. His feedback has been invaluable to me as a student researcher.”


Dr. Laura Widman

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

Dr. Widman’s research interests are in the areas of adolescent sexual decision-making and sexual communication, as well as the development and evaluation of technology-based interventions that improve sexual health outcomes among youth. Her recent research focuses on understanding how adolescents communicate about sexual topics with their parents, friends, and romantic partners, and investigating the links between sexual communication and safer sex practices. [read more]

From Dr. Widman’s nomination: “I do not know what I would be doing or where I would be going if I had not crossed paths with Dr. Widman. She has helped me focus my attention on activities that I can do to improve our community and how to better myself academically and personally. “


Dr. Jeffrey Yoder

College of Veterinary Medicine, Molecular Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Yoder is a leader in comparative immunology with a special focus on leveraging the zebrafish for specific questions of innate immune function in combination with human cell culture systems. The overall focus of his laboratory is on identifying novel mediators of innate immunity. Dr. Yoder’s lab uses the zebrafish as a model for identifying novel mediators of immunity and for examining the immunotoxicological effects of environmental chemicals. [read more]

From Dr. Yoder’s nomination: “Dr. Yoder was very insistent on developing my writing and presentation skills in addition to the technical skills required for my project. He provided amazing feedback when working through my final paper drafts and gave me the opportunity to develop a presentation to give at a lab meeting.”

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