Thompson Rivers University

John Church receives Graduate Research Mentor Award

April 13, 2016

Dr. John Church, BC Regional Innovation Chair in Cattle Industry Sustainability, is the lead researcher on a $663,940 NSERC College-University Idea to Innovation Grant.

Dr. John Church, BC Innovation Chair in Cattle Industry Sustainability, has been awarded the 2016 Graduate Research Mentor Award in recognition of his demonstrated excellence mentoring graduate student researchers over a sustained period of time.

Church joined TRU in 2008, and in that time has supervised or co-supervised seven graduate students, three of whom have graduated with their Masters in Environmental Science.

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Read: Jonathan Van Hamme receives Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

Dr. Kingsley Donkor, who nominated Church for the honour, notes that what is truly impressive is Church’s focus on encouraging his students to publish their research.

“This is very important as this is critical to the advancement of their careers,” wrote Donkor, who noted that the three students who have recently graduated have gone on to PhD programs where they have received valuable graduate scholarships within their first year of arrival. Their continued success, wrote Donkor, is “largely based on the outstanding work they did here at TRU.”

“I am amazed at Dr. Church’s time commitment to these students, and how he always assists his students without hesitation,” Donkor wrote.

The value of his mentorship has not been lost on Church’s former graduate students, with many writing in support.

“John provided me with the opportunity to present my research at five different national and international conferences as well as publish my work in four different peer-reviewed publications … my success is directly related to the mentorship that John provided me during my time at TRU,” wrote one student who has since gone on to continue his education at the University of Alberta.

“My studies under John’s tutelage were one of the most rewarding aspects of my career; in large part because of the structure and constant encouragement he provided to me,” wrote another student.

“Dr. Church is an amazing individual who is a visionary thinker and has a robust work ethic … It is unfortunate TRU does not offer a PhD program, as he would have most surely been my supervisor,” another former student wrote.

Church was honoured by the award, and noted that while he’s heartened by his student’s appreciation, he’s equally appreciative of all their hard work.

“To see my students go on to be very successful doctoral students is very rewarding and gratifying.”

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