Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, 2022

Ruth Varner

A longtime colleague described Ruth Varner as “a collaborative in spirit as well as an intellect,” which perfectly describes her approach to mentoring students as they pursue innovative and demanding research.

Over the past two decades, she has served as chief mentor to four postdoctoral researchers, four doctoral students and 17 master’s degree students. She has also served important roles mentoring dozens of students with committees chaired by colleagues. Varner and her mentees are actively engaged in international collaborations to research global changes in high-latitude ecosystems, with major support from The National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Energy.

She has also mentored more than 55 undergraduate students participating in Research Experience for Undergraduates projects that she has led.  Many of these students continue to graduate school, and their REU experience is often a key motivator.

Varner provides her graduate mentees with opportunities, training, guidance and professional development that prepares them for rewarding careers.  And she is admired by them for maintaining long-lasting research and mentoring relationships. As one student put it, “Varner’s mentoring is not ephemeral.”  She pushes them to pursue experiences they never thought were possible and continues to support them long after they graduate from UNH.

Professor Varner’s accomplishments as a teacher and mentor were recognized by the American Geophysical Union, the largest geosciences professional society in the world, which awarded her the 2015 Sulzman Award “for significant contributions as a role model and mentor for the next generation of biogeoscientists.”

About This Award

The Graduate Faculty Mentor award is designed to honor a faculty member whose commitment to excellence in graduate student training has contributed significantly to graduate students’ professional development. Forms only accepted during application period.

Award Details