Patricia Jaimes, a first-year student in the Geocognition Research Lab, has received the 2016 Tracy A. Hammer Award for Professional Development from the Michigan State University College of Natural Sciences. This award is made even more special because Fellow first-year graduate student Caitlin Kirby made the nomination. Congratulations to both students!
To quote from Caitlin’s letter of recommendation: “I have witnessed Paty’s dedication…during her first semester of graduate school as she has fully dived into…her graduate classes, submitting a proposal to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and generating research ideas and analyzing data…As a researcher in the Geocognition Laboratory, she is working to discover why there is a lack of underrepresented minorities in Earth System Sciences (ESS), and to find avenues for improving the pathways for minority students to ESS degrees. Her interests were shaped by her job mentoring fellow students at NEIU, where she was frustrated by the trend of minority students dropping out of STEM degrees because of challenges they faced at school and at home. Paty has turned this frustration into positive energy, and is working as a research assistant on an NSF-funded grant seeking to understand the links between social capital, mentoring relationships, and success in ESS for diverse populations…“
I personally think the final sentence of Cailtin’s letter says it best: “It is in connecting with others …that Paty’s passion becomes evident and, I believe, has the power to improve the climate of ESS to make it more inclusive for everyone, regardless of their personal challenges.“