Graduate School Honors Distinguished Mentor and Staff Award Recipients

Christian Appy
Christian Appy
Krista Harper
Krista Harper
Sankaran Thayumanavan
Sankaran Thayumanavan
Shelley Silva
Shelley Silva

Recognizing outstanding contributions to graduate education on campus, the Graduate School recently announced its selections for the 2018 Distinguished Graduate Mentor and Distinguished Graduate Staff Awards.

Three faculty members were chosen for the Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, which honors individuals who have had a transformative impact on the intellectual and professional development of advanced degree candidates. This year’s recipients include:

  • Christian Appy, professor, history
  • Krista Harper, professor, anthropology
  • Sankaran Thayumanavan, professor, chemistry

The Graduate School also selected Shelley Silva, academic programs manager in the anthropology department, for the Distinguished Graduate Staff Award, which recognizes staff members who have played a vital role in helping students complete their academic degrees.

Recipients of both awards receive an honorarium and will be congratulated on stage by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy at Graduate Commencement on May 10. Distinguished Graduate Mentors are selected based on nominations submitted by university faculty and supporting letters written by current or former graduate students. The winner of the Distinguished Graduate Staff Award is chosen based on nominations provided by current university graduate students.

“I am delighted to announce the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Graduate Mentor and Distinguished Graduate Staff Awards,” said Barbara Krauthamer, dean of the Graduate School. “Professors Appy, Harper and Thayumanavan are creative, dedicated and inspiring teachers, advisors, and mentors who are deeply invested in guiding students towards the attainment of their academic and professional goals. Likewise, Shelley Silva has devoted herself to helping graduate students navigate academic and administrative hurdles as they progress to their degrees. Each of these award recipients has excelled in advancing the university’s educational mission.”

According to Krauthamer, the award recipients are representative of a broader UMass culture that supports graduate student achievement. “Every year the Graduate School receives strong recommendation letters for dozens of faculty and staff members who deserve recognition for their outstanding work on behalf of our students. The long list of impressive nominees for both awards—representing almost every department on campus—illustrates the university’s far-reaching commitment to graduate student success.”