Thompson Rivers University

Jonathan Van Hamme receives Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

  Posted on: April 12, 2016

Dr. Jonathan Van Hamme

Dr. Jonathan Van Hamme’s impressive record of mentoring undergraduate researchers was recognized last month when he was named co-recipient of the 2016 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.

Two such awards were bestowed this year, with another award going to Ginny Ratsoy, Associate Professor in the Department of English and Modern Languages.

Read: Ginny Ratsoy receives Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

The award celebrates a faculty member who actively helps students to explore, inquire and engage in new knowledge creation by providing meaningful guidance and support. Van Hamme, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has supervised 46 undergraduate students in the past 10 years, many of whom have gone ahead to complete graduate degrees, including PhD, with 11 of his former students either in the process of, or have completed medical school training.

“Over the past 10 years Jon has sustained an admirable record of supervising the research of undergraduate students. Often, he has used his own research grants to fund their lab work, support their travel to conferences, and publish their findings,” wrote Dr. Tom Dickinson, Dean of the Faculty of Science.

Many of Van Hamme’s current and former students jumped in to offer heartfelt endorsements, and credit his mentorship as a key component that propelled them into successful careers and higher education.

“To this day, the experience and skills that I acquired from my interactions with Dr. Van Hamme continue to resonate throughout my training and work with patients,” wrote one former student, who has since gone on to medical school.

“There were many times when I doubted myself and my capabilities, but Dr. Van Hamme was always supportive… The breadth of skills he taught me and his positivity are irreplaceable,” wrote another.

Another student wrote: “Jon helped me to become more self-directed and goal-oriented, while showing me that the fun of research is not only in the accomplishments, but also in the process itself.”

Receiving the award was a great honour, said Van Hamme.

“This has brought back a lot of amazing memories of the students I have had the pleasure of working with. Certainly this is the best part of what I get to do at TRU, and an immensely important experience for undergraduate scientists as they explore and learn. I really feed off of their energy. Watching their rapid transformation as they learn new practical skills is fantastic,” he said.