Furman Professors Hutson, O'Rourke Receive HHMI Distinguished Mentor Awards
GREENVILLE, S.C.—Furman University professors Kevin Hutson and Sean O’Rourke have been named recipients of the HHMI Distinguished Mentor Award.
With the awards, Furman recognizes faculty who have made outstanding contributions toward engaging undergraduates outside the classroom in collaborative scholarship and supporting such opportunities locally and nationally through service and wide-ranging impacts.
The awards are jointly funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through Furman’s HHMI-BRIDGES Undergraduate Science Education award and matching funds provided by the university. Since 2009, six Furman faculty members across six departments have been recognized with the award.
In total, each honoree is granted $10,000 for supplies and discretionary funding to directly support undergraduate research and scholarship activities.
Hutson, Associate Professor of Mathematics, has mentored 13 students in undergraduate research at Furman and his former institution (Denison University), including 10 students in the last five years. He has directed students participating in the HHMI Research Fellows program in a disciplinary field where researchers seldom enlist undergraduates. Due in large part to Hutson’s efforts, the number of students conducting summer research from 2009-2011 grew from a scant few to an average of more than seven undergraduates per summer. In addition to co-authoring professional publications with Furman students, Hutson has participated as both an invited lecturer and panelist on national disciplinary forums about inquiry-based learning and advising undergraduate research.
O’Rourke, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, is recognized for his exceptional efforts in mentoring significant numbers of Furman students. O’Rourke has directed scholarly writing and research of more than 45 students during the academic year and nine Furman Advantage and South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities summer research undergraduates. Since 2006 he has served as primary mentor for 19 student publications and, this year, 17 new submissions. Impacting students beyond Furman, O’Rourke has received local and national attention for his service as faculty advising editor and/or associate editor for multiple undergraduate publications including Young Scholars in Writing.
For more information contact the Furman News and Media Relations Office at (864) 294-3107.