Graduate Mentor Awards


Graduate School students honor their outstanding mentors

Three faculty members have been selected to receive the Graduate School’s 2013 Mentor Award, the University’s principal honor for superb teaching, advising, and mentoring of graduate students.

The award, presented at the Graduate School’s Commencement Convocation, recognizes teachers and advisers who have been exceptional in their support of the professional, scholarly, and personal development of their students. It signals the commitment of Yale and the Graduate School to promoting effective and empathetic student guidance.

Awards are given in each of the three academic areas — humanities, social sciences, and sciences — based on anonymous nominations from students.

This year’s winners are: Kathyrn Lofton, professor of religious studies, American studies, history, and divinity; Elisabeth Wood, professor of political science and of international and area studies; and Evan Morris, associate professor of diagnostic radiology, of biomedical engineering, and of psychiatry, and co-director for imaging at the Yale PET Center. Lofton also received the 2013 Sarai Ribicoff ’79 Award for the Encouragement of Teaching at Yale College. (See related story.)

Here is what some of the nominating students had to say about this year’s award winners.

Kathyrn Lofton (humanities)

“She has helped me deepen my thinking and strengthen my arguments by asking that uniquely probing question, while always urging me to own my particular intellectual vantage with confidence.”

“In the classroom as much as in informal conversation, Professor Lofton has been a model of intellectual rigor, generous wit, and genuine care.”

“It is inconceivable to me how she manages to find the time to be so present with all of her students even as she develops her own budding career in research, teaching, and professional service, which in and of itself is an incredible model for her graduate students. Her energy is unflagging, her advice pragmatic and to-the-point, and her feedback incisive and engaged. Professor Lofton is intense in the best way possible, inspiring hard work, appreciation, and awe from those of us lucky enough to work with her.”

Elisabeth Wood (social sciences)

“Professor Wood is an engaging, energetic teacher who maintains high expectations of students. No one is allowed to remain a passive observer in her classes …”

“She is deeply committed to growth in her students, always seeking to provide additional opportunities and resources to help us succeed, putting timeless effort into commenting on papers and writing recommendation letters, and being truly interested in what we as students discover in our own research projects.”

“In her comments, she is tough but respectful; you get the feeling that she treats you like a peer, not just a student.”

Evan Morris (sciences)

“He is extremely accessible for questions and feedback on projects, always prompt to reply to emails, and willing to explain difficult concepts in an understandable manner. Evan listens to the feedback of his students and postdocs as equals, regardless of their experience in the field or time in the lab.”

“As an international student with no family member in the states, I sincerely appreciate Evan’s help and support when I fell sick or felt homesick. Without such a considerate mentor like Evan, I might not be so determined to continue pursuing this wonderful educational experience at Yale.”

“He is an attentive, enthusiastic mentor, and a natural teacher. I think the best evidence of his success as a mentor is us, his students. Dr. Morris has mentored all of his graduate students to successful careers in and out of academia.”