Professor Chelsea Wood received an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Project Outstanding Research Mentor Award, one of only six UROP sponsors to receive this award.

The award recognizes contributions to the mentorship and development of future young scholars, performers, and researchers, states a UROP announcement. The wonderful nominations received from students speak to the importance of such mentorship, not only in a student’s academic pursuits but also in helping them identify future academic and career goals and pathways. Wood is an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and a Michigan Fellow.

“Chelsea has always gone out of her way to help Hannah and me in every way, whether we need academic or professional advice or just want to talk,” said Austin Rife, an undergraduate student in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. “Chelsea is an inspiring mentor, a fabulous cook, an outstanding person, and a great friend. I can't thank her enough for all she's done.”

“From the very beginning, Chelsea took a very special interest in each of us. I really liked how easy she was to converse with,” said Hannah Maier, an Earth and Environmental Science undergraduate, who nominated her mentor. “I will never forget how concerned Chelsea has been with my well­being, how interested she has been in my life outside of work, and how much she has invested in my success.” She said that Wood has suggested a number of amazing REU opportunities to her and has written her letters of recommendation.

The recognition comes with a $500 award that was presented at a ceremony Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Students presented the awards to their mentors. Wood is mentoring three UROP students this year.

Another experience that stood out to Maier was when Wood invited her students to watch her dissect huge South American frogs. They learned about the parasites she was looking for and watched her anatomize a frog.

“Chelsea has definitely influenced my academic pathway at the University of Michigan,” Maier continued in her letter. “She has been very encouraging when I have been overwhelmed or when I have doubted my capabilities. She has given me advice about introductory level classes and her past undergraduate work and experiences have made me very interested in taking ecology and evolutionary biology upper level classes. Through my UROP experience, I have come to really enjoy ecology and I hope to graduate with a dual degree in ecology and evolutionary biology and environmental engineering.

“She has made my UROP experience unforgettable.”