Tiffany Mathews, education strategy and planning manager and Director of the Office of Science Outreach in the Eberly College of Science, is the recipient of the 2023 Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award.
Established in 1994 by family, friends and colleagues of Rosemary Schraer, a former associate provost of Penn State, the award is presented each year to a University employee who exemplifies Schraer’s giving of herself as a mentor and who has voluntarily, over a period of time, helped others recognize and achieve their potential. Consideration is given to employees who have a record of outstanding mentoring service that goes beyond the requirements of their employment duties and responsibilities.
Those mentored by Mathews said she had a tremendous impact on their graduate school experience. They credit her unwavering support, appreciation and empathy with helping them succeed.
One nominator first met Mathews during a National Science Foundation Materials Research Center for Nanoscale Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at Penn State. The nominator was inspired to attend Penn State after being mentored by Mathews. Participants in these REUs are more likely to continue research, nominators said.
Mathews helped one student make connections to expand the Graduate Women in Science organization to eight group programs at Penn State and two other universities.
Students said Mathews is constantly looking for ways to help them and is always looking for opportunities to grow.
“If you walk into the Eberly College of Science and ask any graduate student if they know Tiffany Mathews, there is a good chance they will smile and tell you about the last time they worked with her,” a nominator said.
Mathews with the support of Penn State’s MRSEC helped create and fund the Graduate Research Experience and Transitioning to Graduate School (GREaT GradS) to help incoming graduate students from underrepresented communities transition to Penn State. Through that program, Mathews connects students to campus resources, student mentors and peers.
Mathews is an advocate for underrepresented students in STEM fields, nominators said. She frequently collaborates with other groups aimed at improving diversity to bring about collaborations that produce results.
“Mathews’ tireless dedication to her mentees, her ability to connect with and support students from diverse backgrounds, and her commitment to increasing access to research opportunities make her an exceptional candidate for this mentoring award,” a nominator said.