On Tuesday, April 10th, Dartmouth’s Graduate Student Council (GSC) announced the recipients of the 2012 Faculty Mentor Awards at the Graduate Poster Session. Established in 2005, the award recognizes and highlights the outstanding graduate mentoring activities that are undertaken by Dartmouth faculty advisors. In addition to publicly recognizing each recipient’s contributions to the school’s graduate community, the GSC also credits $500 dollars to each faculty member’s Dartmouth account to encourage further mentoring. This year, Dean Madden of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) and Thalia Wheatley of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS) were selected for the award.
Each year, students from all of Dartmouth’s Arts and Sciences graduate programs submit letters of recommendation to the Graduate Studies Office for faculty members who they feel exhibit excellent mentoring qualities. All nominated faculty members are then asked to email their curriculum vitae to the award’s selection committee—a panel of student volunteers from the GSC’s Executive Board—who then review all of the letters of recommendation submitted for each nominee before selecting the award’s recipients.
Professor Dean Madden of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) was selected as one of this year’s award recipients. A Dartmouth faculty member since 2001, Madden’s lab is currently comprised of four graduate students and one rotation student. The primary research focus of Madden’s lab is understanding the functional characteristics of ion channels and transporters in terms of their molecular structure.
All of the letters submitted on Prof. Madden’s behalf spoke of his approachability, his positive demeanor, and his dedication to mentorship. “When I have my own lab, I hope I can laugh as much as Dean. He is genuinely happy, and it is contagious… He is always the first to ask a thought-provoking question in a seminar,… [and I admire his] ability to affect the lives of all students, and faculty, he comes in contact with,” wrote Jeanine Amacher, a current member of the Madden Lab.
In addition, many students spoke of Madden’s unique ability to foster self-directed, independent research while providing the professional guidance needed to strengthen both the research and scholarship of his lab’s members. “[Dean] provided me with a great balance of independence and direction, which have helped me progress my research while learning how to be an independent scientist,” said Lemira Sahar Al Ayyuobi, a member of Madden’s lab whose research examines the connection between mutations in the chloride channel CFTR to the genetic disease Cystic Fibrosis.
Finally, this year’s Faculty Mentor Award Selection Committee chose Prof. Madden for the award because of his approachability. Christopher Bahl, a member of Madden’s research group stated, “[Dean’s] open door policy facilitates and fosters a collegial, productive atmosphere in the lab. He is always available and excited to troubleshoot or discuss project ideas when we want help.”
Congratulations, Professor Madden! The Graduate Student Council thanks you for all of your contributions to Dartmouth’s graduate community.