The University of Kentucky Office of Undergraduate Research is now accepting nominations for the 16th annual UK Excellent Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year awards. The student-nominated award recognizes excellence in supporting undergraduate research and conveys the campus’ high regard for outstanding contributions made to the academic and research community.

Nominations should be based on exemplary mentorship with a focus on advising students on enriching projects, a commitment to providing exceptional undergraduate research experiences above and beyond the classroom, as well as supporting and promoting undergraduate research initiatives on campus. 

“When you nominate your mentor for the excellent research faculty mentor award, it is a way of saying thank you to your mentor for their guidance in your field and contributions to your projects,” said Grace Perrin, a senior Lewis Honors College member and animal sciences major. “Additionally, it can spread word about your mentor and their work across the university and encourage interdisciplinary projects as a result.”

Her mentor, Tayo Adedokun, PhD, associate professor of animal sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, received the award in 2022.

Candidates must be faculty members from any UK department. Past award winners are not eligible for future nomination due to the large number of faculty participating in undergraduate research mentoring activities at UK.

Nominations must be submitted by 11:55 p.m. EDT Saturday, April 1, 2023. Students may nominate their faculty mentor for the award here. View previous faculty award recipients here. Applicants will be reviewed anonymously by a student review committee.

“It’s so important to nominate your exceptional research faculty for an award to support that reciprocal relationship. Just as your mentor supports you and works to benefit your academic and professional goals, you should support them,” said Caroline Sumner, a senior Lewis Honors College member and neuroscience major. “If they’re doing a great job, they deserve to know and be recognized for the amazing work they’re doing. It also sets an example for other mentors.” 

Sumner’s mentor, Michael Wesley, PhD, professor of behavioral science in the College of Medicine and director of the Neurobehavioral Systems Lab, received the Excellent Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year award in 2022.

The awards will be presented at the Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars’ awards ceremony at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, 2023, in the Gatton Student Center Grand Ballroom. Last year’s faculty award winners were Adedokun, Wesley, Kendall Corbin and David Weisrock.

If you have questions about submitting a nomination for the UK Excellent Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year, contact Jesi Bowman at