2020 Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award Winners Announced
The 2020 Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award winners are John Higginson from the Department of History, Asha Nadkarni from the English Department, and Paige Warren of the Environmental Conservation Department.
A common theme among John Higginson’s students is how he embodies the mission that diversity matters at UMass Amherst, as he has strived over the years to mentor graduate students, especially graduate students of color at UMass. Students describe Higginson as a brilliant and dedicated mentor who encourages them to do their best. He helps them reach their potential by providing meaningful feedback and also by pushing them to think carefully and critically about the material. Higginson is truly a treasure to students he supports and the history department, he is capable of communicating to students regardless of where they are from. He identifies with their interests and a rapport with them. His generous spirit and genuine concern for students make him a model mentor.
Asha Nadkarni balances enriching class discussions in her graduate courses, helpful pointers for undergraduate teaching and strategies to make steady dissertation progress effortlessly. Her own commitment to her research and intellectual rigor has compelled students to have the courage to push myself out of their comfort zone. Her ability to help underrepresented students arrange critical research and sustenance funds cannot be emphasized enough. Her stellar mentorship is grounded in practicality and is cognizant of the need to foster healthy robust communities for innovative research. UMass’ dedication to inclusion and the rigorous pursuit of research is impeccably exemplified in Nadkarni’s mentorship.
It is no accident that Paige Warren's lab has an unusual amount of National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipients. She works continuously with all of her students to develop not just the details and methods of research, but a comprehensive understanding of how the research fits into the overarching conceptual architecture of the student’s fields. Warren is always willing to read, comment, and edit her student’s research designs, grant applications, and publications in detail. As an advisor Warren does an exemplary job of walking the line between providing support and fostering independence.