Excellence in Mentoring Award

The Excellence in Mentoring Award, presented for the 1st time this year, recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated mastery of the broad spectrum of activities associated with outstanding mentoring of graduate students in the School of Marine Science. The award recognizes the key role faculty play in providing intellectual guidance and fostering the development of their students as scholars, teachers, and professionals.

The 2018 award goes to Dr. Jan McDowell.

Dr. Jan McDowellJan has served as major or co-major advisor for 8 former or current students, and served on the graduate committees of 18 others.

Students describe Jan’s mentoring style as intentional, respectful, supportive, and unwavering. She has garnered the trust and admiration of students by being clear in her expectations, highly engaged, and empathetic. A hallmark of Jan’s mentoring is her responsiveness to her own advisees or any student who asks for help. She is known for providing timely feedback, and for challenging her students to move outside their comfort zone.Jan McDowell (R) with VIMS Dean & Director John Wells following the VIMS Awards Ceremony. © C. Katella/VIMS.

Jan is adept at turning mistakes into teaching moments by providing analysis and guidance that helps the student become a more skilled and able researcher. She encourages her students to pursue professional-development opportunities and supports their attendance at conferences and workshops. She also encourages and models a healthy work-life balance.

Students admire Jan’s enthusiasm for science and life, and feel comfortable seeking her advice on issues both scientific and professional. Her advisees leave VIMS as confident, skilled professionals and enjoy successful career trajectories.

For exemplary, holistic support of the professional and personal growth of her students, Jan is most deserving of this award.