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By Ashley Irvin
XULA BUILD principal investigator, Maryam Foroozesh, Ph.D., was recently honored as one of three inaugural recipients of the Council on Undergraduate Research Chemistry Division’s Outstanding Mentorship Award. This award recognizes excellence in mentoring of undergraduate researchers.
Foroozesh is a Margaret W. Kelly endowed professor in chemistry and chairs both the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Division of Biological and Applied Health Sciences. She also is the head of Xavier University’s Department of Chemistry. Foroozesh was honored for her acumen in mentor-led chemistry research projects and her work utilizing diversity and inclusion best practices in undergraduate education. She has mentored more than 90 undergraduates in research, many of whom are from groups underrepresented in science. Undergraduate students are frequently coauthors on her 60 publications and more than 85 percent of her students have continued their education in scientific and medicinal fields.
Foroozesh has been a leader in enhancing the mentoring and undergraduate research experiences for Xavier students, catalyzed by the Research Institute for Scientific Advancement (RISE) and Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) programs, both funded by the National Institutes of Health. She also has been an active mentor of the National Research Mentoring Network and has mentored a number of early-career faculty members, research associates, and postbaccalaureate technicians. Additionally, Foroozesh has served in numerous leadership positions at her institution, establishing an inclusive environment for excellence that encourages professional development, fosters meaningful dialogue, and cultivates ethical conduct in research. Foroozesh earned a B.S. in chemistry magna cum laude from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in organic/bio-organic chemistry from Tulane University.
"Serving as a mentor to students, research associates, and junior faculty has been the most rewarding aspect of my academic career,” Foroozesh said. “Sharing experiences, learning from each other, impacting the mentees' career paths, and leaving a positive mark on their education and life journeys make mentoring worthwhile and enjoyable. Looking back at my career as a faculty member, I believe that my most significant accomplishments have been associated with my role as a mentor.”
The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.