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Ten faculty and staff earn inaugural VCU REAL Outstanding Mentor Awards

Honor driven by student nominations; recognizes excellence in experiential learning

Ten VCU faculty and staff members have been named VCU REAL Outstanding Mentors for 2021, the VCU REAL office announced April 2. The inaugural award recognizes those in the VCU community who have made exceptional contributions to students’ professional and personal development through experiential learning.

The 2021 VCU REAL Outstanding Mentors are as follows:

  • Andy Bristow, assistant professor, Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
  • Cheri Doucette, instructor, Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
  • Lexy Holcombe, assistant professor, Department of Interior Design
  • Laura Lemza, assistant director of career and industry advising, Engineering Career Services
  • Juan Lu, associate professor, Department of Family Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Nicole Patterson, coordinator for student civic engagement, University Student Commons and Activities
  • Thomas Scharpf, professor, VCU Brandcenter
  • Rebecca Segal, associate professor, Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
  • Roxanne Spindle, associate professor, School of Business
  • William Newmann, associate professor, Department of Political Science

“We are excited to be able to honor a truly exceptional group with our first-ever Outstanding Mentor Awards,” said Erin Webster Garrett, Ph.D., assistant vice provost for REAL. “These awardees exemplify the compassion and commitment to student success that makes experiential learning such a vibrant part of VCU academics.”

The road to the Outstanding Mentor Awards selection began in early February, when students were asked to nominate members of the VCU community who helped them connect their classroom work to the larger world outside the university.

“What makes these Outstanding Mentor Awards special is that the nomination process is entirely driven by students,” Webster Garrett said. “We heard, in the student’s own words, the important role that these honorees have played in their academic experience here at VCU.”

Several of the Outstanding Mentor Award awardees (and their student nominators) will be on display at the Keeping It VCU REAL 2021 event on April 15-16. The full schedule for that event will be posted on the REAL website in the coming days.