The OVPRS Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research and Creative Work was created in 2020 by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship (OVPRS) at UHM. The award recognizes up to two tenured/tenure-track faculty mentors each academic year (one from a STEM discipline, and one from a non-STEM discipline) who have shown dedicated and sustained excellence in faculty mentoring of undergraduate students in their research and creative work endeavors

Call for Nominations and Nominations Guidelines

The Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research and Creative Work recognizes up to two outstanding UHM faculty mentors committed to mentoring undergraduate students in research and creative work (one from a STEM discipline, and one from a non-STEM discipline; See general guideline on discipline categories here). The application process consists of two steps:

  1. nominations of faculty by current and/or former (mentored within last 5 years) undergraduate student mentees; and
  2. for a selected subset of nominees a faculty application consisting of their undergraduate research/creative work mentoring record and philosophy, and letters of support.

UROP encourages UHM undergraduate students to nominate UHM faculty who exemplify dedicated and sustained excellence in mentorship of undergraduate research and creative work across all disciplines on campus. See below for a summary of the award process, and here for more detailed information.


Student Nomination Deadline: 5:00 p.m. on February 1 of each academic year

Faculty Application Deadline (by invitation): 5:00 p.m. on March 15 of each academic year


$500/award. Up to two awards each academic year

Award Eligibility

Any tenured or tenure-track UHM faculty involved in mentoring undergraduate students conducting research or creative work projects who is not a previous recipient of this award.

Nomination and Application Procedure

Any current or former (mentored within last 5 years) UHM undergraduate student is eligible to nominate a faculty mentor by submitting the Student Nomination Form by the February 1 deadline. The award review committee will select a subset of the top student-nominated faculty by March 1 to request a complete Faculty Application Form by the March 15 deadline.

Evaluation Criteria

The review committee will consider the following evaluation factors when reviewing both the student nominations and the faculty applications (see the evaluation rubric here):

  1. Evidence of dedicated and sustained excellence in faculty mentoring of undergraduate students in research and creative work endeavors
  2. Impact of research or creative work mentorship on the mentee’s academic and/or professional achievements
  3. Content and strength of support letters  

Award Procedure

Awards will be conferred at the Mānoa Awards Ceremony, typically held at the end of April each academic year.

Past Awardees

Brittany Biggs

Brittany Biggs

Brittany Biggs is an assistant professor of animation with the Academy for Creative Media. Her feature film credits include Trolls, Kung Fu Panda 2, Kung Fu Panda 3 and Turbo. Biggs creates hands-on, practical mentorship projects that help students excel in their academic studies and prepare them for future careers. Her students apply and hone their animation, filmmaking and storytelling skills by creating films and/or researching new applications for animation that are beyond the scope of the curriculum. Their resulting work is critical material for demo reels, portfolios and resumes for graduate school admission and/or professional work. Student works have been recognized in local media, film festivals, the prestigious SIGGRAPH conference and have been used to support research within the UH community. Biggs served as an advisor to nearly 90 students in the animation track. A student shared, “The structure and quality of my work has greatly improved since she began teaching me, and I feel like I am better prepared to join the animation workforce after graduation.”


Pratibha Nerurkar

Pratibha Nerurkar

Pratibha Nerurkar is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. She regards undergraduate research and mentoring as a “high impact practice in higher education” and considers it as one of the most rewarding activities of her teaching career. Her teaching philosophy is inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.” She recognizes that her role as a mentor is not only to transfer knowledge, but to empower students to think logically, scientifically and critically. The foundation of her mentoring principles are built upon trust, mutual respect, compassion and above all her love for teaching. Nerurkar believes that being a perpetual student of life, enables her to become a better teacher. A student wrote, “I desire to be a physician who is able to balance scientific knowledge and emotionality in a way where patients feel heard, just as Dr. Nerurkar is able to do with her students.”

Back To Top