One point that often gets lost in the academic debate of teaching versus research is that research, at its best, is teaching. Baylor’s Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award — presented each year by Baylor Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) — aims to recognize those who exemplify that by mentoring undergraduate students in a research setting.
This year’s honorees? Dr. Stephanie Boddie from the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, and Dr. Lorin S. Matthews (BS ’94, PhD ’98) from the Department of Physics.
Boddie (pictured above right) joined the Baylor faculty in 2017 after stints at Washington University in St. Louis, Penn and Carnegie Mellon. She has been nationally recognized for her research on how churches address social issues, and has written countless books and articles on the topic. Her work is a team effort by nature, and she has enjoyed watching students grow through various research projects.
“Teaching at Baylor gives me the opportunity to guide students as they take risks and accomplish something they once thought impossible,” says Boddie. “I love that Baylor is invested in teaching excellence… This award reminds me of the privilege to pay forward what was invested in me to the next generation of leaders.”
Matthews (pictured above left) earned two degrees from Baylor and has been teaching physics at BU since 2000, so her love for Baylor and its students runs deep. Her research interests include the early stages of planet formation, planetary ring dynamics, and the self-organization of laboratory dusty plasmas into dust crystals — and she enjoys bringing students along for the journey.
“This award is truly an honor, as the nomination comes from a student who acknowledges the profound impact that research made on their physics career,” says Matthews. “The students and my faculty colleagues make it a joy to come to work every day. The best part is watching students blossom, not because I told them how to proceed every step of the way, but because I gave them a little push in the right direction and let them run along the path of discovery.”
Sic ’em, Drs. Boddie and Matthews!