Stephen Schaeffer, professor of biology at Penn State, has been named a recipient of the inaugural Eberly College of Science Distinguished Faculty Mentoring Award, which was created in 2019 to honor faculty members in the college for their outstanding work in mentoring both students and faculty.
Schaeffer was nominated for the award in recognition of his impressive record of student and faculty mentoring and his leadership in implementing programs that have directly benefited graduate students in the college. His lasting contributions to the Department of Biology include establishing the monthly Biology Graduate Student Colloquium, which provides a platform for discussing important topics such as mental health resources and financial planning. In partnership with multiple other Penn State graduate programs, Schaeffer introduced individual development plan (IDP) sessions to facilitate discussions of career options for students in the life sciences and strategies for pursuing those options. He has also been involved extensively in the University's Graduate School workshops on the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships Program (NSF GRFP), including developing his own supplemental sessions to provide further guidance and increase students' success rate with their applications, and he has been a major driver of the biology department's diversity and equity initiatives.
"It is a great honor to be recognized by my colleagues for this award," Schaeffer said. "I always want to see everyone succeed in their academic pursuits."
"Steve has made outstanding contributions to the mentoring of graduate students and faculty, both within the department and beyond," added Tracy Langkilde, head of the biology department. "He is dedicated to graduate student success, and his efforts at the personal level, as well as programs implemented at the departmental, college, and University levels, have had a real and important impact on the diversity, career development, and success of our graduate students."
Schaeffer was formally presented with the award at the fall Benefactor & Distinguished Faculty Recognition dinner, held on October 10, 2019.