Yale Bulletin and Calendar

May 24, 2002Volume 30, Number 30Two-Week Issue















Graduate School will honor three
faculty members for their mentoring

Three faculty members will be honored for their outstanding dedication to their students during the Graduate School's Commencement Convocation on Sunday, May 26.

This year's winners are: Robert Apfel, the Robert Higgin Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Glenda E. Gilmore, the Peter V. & C. Vann Woodward Professor of History and professor of African American and American studies; and David Mayhew, the Sterling Professor of Political Science.

"A core mission of the Graduate School is to guide our students along the path from student to colleague," says Graduate School Dean Susan Hockfield. "The relationship between graduate student and faculty adviser lies at the core of graduate education. In recognition of the crucial importance of this mentoring relationship, three years ago the Graduate Student Assembly proposed the creation of the Graduate Mentor Award. The award is designed to honor outstanding faculty members who have provided inspiration and encouragement as well as academic direction to their students."

The winners were chosen by a committee of three faculty members and six graduate students, which was chaired by Bill Rando, director of the Office of Teaching Fellow Preparation and Development. This year, more than 140 letters of nomination were submitted by graduate students, and the committee spent many hours in deliberation.

"This year, it was a truly daunting task to select our honorees," says Rando. "The sheer quantity of nominations, combined with the enthusiasm expressed in the letters, made us wish we had no limit to the number of faculty members to whom we could give this distinction. It was a problem, but a very gratifying one for us."

Tyler Radnieki, chair of the Graduate Student Assembly and a member of the selection committee, notes, "These awards were established so that students could express their appreciation to faculty members who go above and beyond what is required. ... They teach us not only how to be better scholars but also how to be better people."

Brief profiles on this year's winners follow:

Robert Apfel

Comments from students who nominated Apfel for the award include: "Training with Bob involves more than pure academics; it is also a lesson in life, with a good dash of humor; a lesson in humanity; and a lesson in human decency." And, "His enthusiasm and love of science (and life) is contagious. He expects a great deal from his graduate students, but also communicates his faith in our abilities in a way that always inspires us to do our best."

Apfel's research explores the use of acoustic waves to probe the bulk and surface properties of liquids and biological materials and to deform, manipulate, cavitate and levitate such materials on earth and in space. He also studies the safety of diagnostic ultrasound and applications of therapeutic ultrasound to medicine. He is the creator and editor of the new on-line journal, Acoustics Research Letters Online, published by the American Institute of Physics for the Acoustical Society of America. He also volunteers his time for the New Haven Public Schools Science Fair Program and mentors many undergraduates in independent research projects.

Glenda Gilmore

Students nominating Gilmore expressed similar sentiments: "Professor Gilmore has emerged not only as a steadfast mentor but as a model for me of the type of academic I hope to be: innovative, engaged, encouraging, compassionate, full of integrity and full of life." "In seminars and as an adviser, Professor Gilmore blends professional training with sagacious counseling and a genuine enthusiasm that stimulates students' intellectual growth and creativity."

Gilmore's research and writing focus on the American South. Her areas of interest include the history of U.S. women and African Americans in the 20th century. Her 1996 book, "Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920," won numerous prestigious awards, including the Organization of American Historians' Frederick Jackson Turner Award for the best first book by an author and the James A. Rawley Prize for the best book on the history of race relations in the United States. Gilmore is coeditor of "Jumpin' Jim Crow: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights." She is editor of "Who Were the Progressives?"

David Mayhew

In nominating the scientist for the mentoring award, students wrote: "David Mayhew represents the very best of the scholar-mentor figure that Yale has to offer." "As an adviser, Professor Mayhew has been nothing short of amazing. Despite his senior status, incredible commitment load and constant demands of other faculty, he always has endless time for his students. He is quite possibly the summation of everything I hope to be as an academic... [He is] both a wonderful friend and a great mentor."

Mayhew's research concerns U.S. legislative behavior, American political parties, Congressional elections and policymaking. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2000-2001 he was John M. Olin Visiting Professor in American Government at Nuffield College, Oxford. His books include "Party Loyalty Among Congressmen," "Congress: The Electoral Connection," "Divided We Govern," "America's Congress," and the forthcoming "Electoral Realignments: A Critique of an American Genre."


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