An exceptional mentor can make a fundamental difference in the life of an undergraduate researcher, and it is clear, based on the comments from current and former students, that Dr. Catherine Ortner and Dr. Karl Larsen are truly exceptional.
Both received 2018 Research Mentor Awards, and have been acknowledged for their willingness to help students explore, inquire and engage in new knowledge creation by providing meaningful guidance and support.
Ortner, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, oversees the Emotion Science Lab at TRU, in which she explores the cognitive costs of different emotion regulation strategies.
“Dr. Ortner is a compelling advocate for student empowerment and promotes scholarly independence. I attribute much of my current success in graduate school to Dr. Ortner’s mentorship, guidance, support and scholarly example,” wrote former undergraduate researcher and current PhD student Esther Briner.
“She shared with me her enthusiasm for research, provided meaningful feedback, and created a positive learning environment. I truly believe that many of the successes I have had academically and professionally have been impacted by the mentorship and teaching I received from Catherine,” wrote Lisa Hodgson, who is currently studying midwifery at UBC.
“She is an incredible human and very much on my list of people who I aspire to be like as I navigate my new career in psychology,” wrote Tyla Charbonneau, PhD, and Registered Psychologist.
“It’s a very nice honour,” said Ortner. “For me, research is a collaborative endeavor. I really want my undergraduates to feel like collaborators, and to be involved in all stages of the research process.”
Similar praise poured in for Larsen, Professor of Natural Resource Sciences, who specializes in wildlife ecology, conservation and management.
“Karl goes above and beyond for his students. If you need someone to hold a rattlesnake, or help you put a backpack on a toad, or gently restrain a particularly nippy squirrel, Karl is there for you. If your statistics software won’t run, or you can’t find your badger … Karl will help you succeed,” wrote TRU alumna Kim Perreault Kennedy.
“Karl and I have maintained contact over the past decade and his unwavering confidence in me combined with his genuine support has continued to lead me down an academic path,” wrote Kristine Teichman, now a PhD candidate at UBC studying carnivore ecology on farmlands.
“I was very pleased, and very humbled,” Larsen said, upon receiving the award. “I had a great experience in graduate school, where I learned that you work best when you’re part of a team. I treat my students as equals — as part of my research team — and give them ownership of their projects.”