Release Date: January 11, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo faculty members Mostafa A. Nouh and Timothy R. Cook have been named recipients for the 2022-23 President Emeritus and Mrs. Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring, UB’s highest honor for undergraduate mentoring.
The Meyerson award honors faculty members for the crucial guidance and support they provide undergraduate students to help them develop the necessary skills for research, creativity, critical thinking and innovation.
It was established through a generous gift by the late President Emeritus Martin Meyerson, who served as UB’s 10th president, and his wife, Margy Ellen, to recognize exceptional teaching and mentoring at the university.
“As New York’s flagship university, UB prides itself on providing students with a transformational educational experience that is enriched by countless opportunities to engage with our stellar faculty,” says Ann M. Bisantz, dean of undergraduate education.
“The Meyerson award provides the university with the opportunity to honor the faculty doing exceptional work mentoring our undergraduate students.
“Professors Nouh and Cook are two of the many amazing faculty members who dedicate their time to supporting our students’ academic journey by creating lifelong connections,” Bisantz says.
Nouh, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has had a profound impact on students’ educational journeys and “helped shape the course of my future academic and professional endeavors,” according to one of his former students.
“Working with Dr. Nouh and his graduate students in the Sound and Vibrations Lab was one of the most enjoyable, rigorous and rewarding experiences of my undergraduate education,” the student wrote in a letter supporting Nouh’s nomination for the award. “His consistent willingness to provide advice, technical clarification and encouragement created a welcoming and supportive atmosphere in the lab — the perfect environment in which to learn and push oneself beyond what they thought they were capable of.
“Overall, the skills and experience I gained while working with Dr. Nouh helped enable me to be where I am today,” the student wrote. “I am extremely grateful for the influence Dr. Nouh has had on my life, and I hope that he is recognized for the positive impact he has had on me and many others.”
Shanna Crump-Owens, program director/project investigator for the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), praised Nouh for his enthusiasm when sharing research, in particular work on thermoacoustic energy conversion and vibration and noise control.
“He is also outstanding at creating the best educational environment and climate for exchange and learning to take place,” Crump-Owens wrote in a nominating letter. “His expertise has been essential in teaching research interns to connect to each other, the faculty and the larger University at Buffalo community, a skill that is particularly important in encouraging collaboration across scientific disciplines.
“Most importantly, Dr. Nouh easily communicates and connects with diverse students, faculty members and staff.”
Cook, professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, was similarly praised by his students.
The high caliber of mentorship in UB’s chemistry department “is taken even further with Professor Timothy Cook,” a former student who is now a graduate student with the Nocera Research Group at Harvard University wrote in his nomination letter. “I cannot think of a more deserving candidate for the Meyerson Award.”
Cook’s mentorship has always been exceptional, the student wrote. “Despite having never taken a course with him, when I reached out to discuss what academic research was and what the path toward becoming a professor looks like, Prof. Cook was eager to meet and illuminate the academic world to me … As time went by, my time in Prof. Cook’s laboratory yielded progress that I could not have imagined.”
A postdoctoral researcher in the chemistry department called Cook’s tutelage “incredibly fulfilling.”
“His mentorship in the laboratory and dedication to undergraduate research have been second to none,” the researcher wrote. “Regarding Prof. Cook’s mentorship, as one of the founding members of the Cook lab, I had the unique opportunity to help build a lab from the ground up. This engendered close interaction with Prof. Cook during the formative years of my chemistry career and nurtured my chemical curiosity. During this time his passion for training researchers was ever apparent,” the researcher wrote.
“Prof. Cook’s excitement towards chemistry is infectious, and he has a remarkable ability to guide undergraduate researchers to achieve their goals.”
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