2013 BEACONS OF EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Academic Associate Research Program, School of Medicine
This enterprise from the Department of Pediatrics offers students an opportunity to understand and experience clinical research in a healthcare setting. Dr. Maija Holsti, MD & MPH, leads the Academic Associate Research Program Team. Through courses and clinical studies, students gain exposure to clinical research, interact with pediatric patients and their families, and develop relationships with Department of Pediatrics faculty. Some of the many skills gleaned are professionalism in the clinical setting, identifying a study design, applying to the Institutional Review Board, characteristics of Good Clinical Practice, ethics in research, computing basic statistics from research data, and submitting to scientific journals. One nominator summed it up this way: "The program is a perfect example of offering a transformational experience for students. Through the program, undergraduate students have the unique experience of conducting real-time research in the fast pace environment of the Primary Children's Hospital Emergency Department." See a video of Academic Associate Research Program.
Jill Baeder, Undergraduate Studies
As the Associate Director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), Jill Baeder has spent the last 12 years engaging students through the art and science of research. She meets with them individually to assess their needs and interests, and recommends possible matches with research faculty. Once a match is finalized, she mentors them through the research process, provides grant monies and avenues for them to present their research, and then attends research conferences that highlight the products of this engaged learning experience. One nominators offered the following, "Jill is an amazing individual who deeply cares for and empathizes with the needs of each student she encounters. She is a Beacon of Excellence because she inspires and motivates students to broaden their horizons, expand their studies, and reach beyond the confines of the classroom while helping to provide them with the means to do so." In addition to meeting with students individually, Jill co-chairs undergraduate research conferences, serves as a point of contact for Research Posters on the Hill, and is chief editor of the Undergraduate Research Abstracts. See a video of Jill Baeder.
Students Promoting Eating disorder Awareness and Knowledge (SPEAK), College of Health
Students Promoting Eating disorder Awareness and Knowledge (SPEAK) is an influential campus group that strives against the troubling trend of eating disorders on university campuses nationwide. The diverse students who make up SPEAK help promote self-esteem, healthy body images, and healthy eating habits, but also the prevention and treatment of eating disorders. The program also allows undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to practice outreach to college classes and the community and prepare them for leadership roles. Since inception by Professor Justine Reel, this organization has focused on understanding eating disorders through education. One nominator wrote, "They are a voice of empowerment and promote healthy lifestyle and behaviors. This is important for college age students." See a video of SPEAK.
Dr. Elizabeth Tashjian, David Eccles School of Business
"I had a number of excellent and engaging professors during my time at Utah, but Professor Tashjian is in a class of her own in terms of her commitment to fostering engaging and transformational experiences for students." Dr. Elizabeth, Tashjian, affectionately referred to as " Liz", is a powerhouse for connecting students to her discipline of finance as well as the joy of learning at the University of Utah. The recipient of numerous campus and community awards, Liz has taken the time to invest in the student experience. These activities include advising the Finance Club, teaching a course that facilitates the Student Investment Fund, and focusing students for future careers through the Week on Wall Street trip. A student nominator wrote, "she has changed the lives of countless students, including myself. Liz is a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. She challenged me and my peers to challenge ourselves -- both in and out of the classroom." See a video of Dr. Elizabeth Tashjian.
Theatre, Fine Arts, and Humanities in London Learning Abroad Program, College of Fine Arts
Theatre, Fine Arts, and Humanities in London Learning Abroad Program, initiated in 2001, has offered hundreds of students the opportunity to explore a global perspective of the genre of Theater firsthand, with faculty who know the academic and cultural background as well as the locale of London. "Not only is this an excellent way to experience the artistic qualities of another culture; it is also an exploration of life itself." This representative student evaluation echoes those of hundreds who have participated in this transformative summer term. Sponsored by the Department of Theatre and the Learning Abroad Center, this program, crafted and individualized each year by Tim Slover and Jane England, uses living theatre as a window and London as a classroom to explore art, cultures, history and urban living in this most cosmopolitan of the world’s cities. "I found direction in my life and a passion for my art," said another student. And a third: "I am so thankful that the University of Utah values such programs which taught me what I had in myself and what the world had waiting." See a video of Theatre, Fine Arts, and Humanities in London Learning Abroad Program.