CISTAR’S 2021 Outstanding Mentor Award Winners

We’d like to take a little newsletter space to thank all our CISTAR faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate fellows who mentored students this past year.  It was an especially tough year to be a mentor, magnified if you were mentoring a new student that you had never met in person before. Even if virtual mentoring is a good skill to acquire, we thank all of you for continuing to be great mentors despite the challenges.  Before announcing this year’s winners, I’d like to acknowledge the help of the Mentor Award Committee in reviewing the nominations and choosing the winners:  Dr. Linda Broadbelt, Elsa Castillo, Maeve Drummond Oakes, and Elsa Koninckx.  Thank you for your time.

For the 2021 winners pictured below, we want to extend a special thank you for being outstanding, often virtual, mentors! 


2021 CISTAR Mentor Award Winners


Allison Arinaga, NU

"Allison still reaches out ...she emailed me when our publication got its first citation, which really made it feel like everything I worked on with her help was worth it!"


Ryan Alcala, UNM

"Ryan is one of the best mentors that I have had... he is patient, knowledgeable, approachable, and very worthy of this award!"


Alexander Bridge, UTA

"Alexander has been an excellent mentor... he taught me to write abstracts and create posters for various competitions!"


Jerry Crum, UND

"Jerry always goes the extra mile to make me feel welcome ...he has been a shining example for me to emulate as I will be starting my graduate program next year!"


Nicole LiBretto, PU

Nicole has always gone above and beyond ...her passion in the lab has led me to be more excited about the discoveries I find!"


Jason Hicks, UND

"Jason is a great mentor who genuinely cares about the students he works with and I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the CISTAR faculty mentor award."



Raj Gounder, PU

"Raj’s outstanding mentorship has been instrumental to my success. Because of him, I am confident that I can achieve my greatest professional goals."

In addition, each of the graduate fellows will be receiving a $200 scholarship.  This year’s winners are probably relieved that I didn’t ask them to “imagine holding a big check and take a picture of yourself” as I requested of the graduate fellows who won last year during the COVID lockdown.