Shana Stoddard, an associate professor of chemistry at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, is the 2023 recipient of the Council on Undergraduate Research’s Silvia Ronco Innovative Mentor Award. The award recognizes original and insightful research work by a young investigator working with undergraduates that has had significant impact on chemistry and the STEM careers of the students involved. Dr. Stoddard will be recognized at the Council on Undergraduate Research’s upcoming conference.
At Rhodes, Dr. Stoddard has mentored 98 research students in her Molecular Immunotherapeutics Research lab, using a combination of computational and experimental approaches. Ninety of her students have been undergraduates, and together, Dr. Stoddard and her students have pioneered worked in predicting extremely large protein structures and in the design of protein-based biotools that can be used to understand kidney function. They also have worked on the development of drug compounds to treat COVID and various cancers and are working on novel autoimmune disease therapeutics.
“I really feel that research is a way of life that allows scholars to be able to embark upon a journey that can bring good to the world. I most enjoy that journey when I have students by my side,” said Dr. Stoddard. “The opportunity to mentor students and to teach them that it is the scientist who is the connection between science and society is a truly rewarding experience. This award allows me to continue to reflect on how the platform of being a teacher-scholar-mentor has been impactful and affirms the work we do at primarily undergraduate institutions in investing in students to become the world’s next generation of scholars.”
Dr. Stoddard is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University in Texas. She earned a Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Mississippi.