Students Honor Faculty, Staff Mentors

April 24, 2014

Harvey Mudd College staff and faculty are committed to teaching and nurturing  students to help them become tomorrow’s leaders and passionate problem solvers.

In appreciation of two of the College’s many student advocates, students nominated faculty and staff members who have provided extraordinary support to the College’s developing leaders. Awards for Outstanding Staff Mentor and Outstanding Faculty Mentor were presented April 11 at the Leadership Awards ceremony, an annual event that recognizes students’ academic achievement, creativity and commitment to social justice.

The student body selected Biology Laboratory Manager Elaine Guerra and Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biology Karl Haushalter to receive its first mentor awards.

Elaine Guerra

As the Biology Laboratory Manager, Guerra oversees purchasing and safety and assists faculty and students in obtaining necessary supplies and equipment for their research and Clinic experiments. In addition, Guerra is in charge of hiring lab assistants to set up the biology, biochemistry and teaching labs.

“I like to give my full attention to teaching the students laboratory techniques and safety lab practices,” says Guerra, stressing that she values each individual student and considers herself invested in their academic success and wellness. Guerra came to the College nearly 15 years ago with a background in microbiology and chemistry.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by my peers,” she added. “The honor is even sweeter because mentoring is something that I thoroughly enjoy doing.”

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biology Karl Haushalter suggests that the College’s emphasis on close student–professor interaction instills a penchant for mentorship in its faculty and helps create more successful relationships.

Karl Haushalter

“Watching the students develop and grow along multiple axes over their four years, you definitely see the value added from their time at Mudd,” notes Haushalter. “And part of why we’re able to do that so well is due to these mentoring relationships.”

Like many Harvey Mudd faculty, Haushalter works with first-year students during fall semester, and then continues to work with many of them through to their senior thesis or Clinic projects. Bearing witness to the personal development of his students is one of the best parts of the job, he notes. In fact, Presentation Days—a two-day event when students present their research—marks his favorite time of year, because it represents the culmination of student growth both professionally and intellectually.