A Cameron University professor is one of five southwest Oklahoma mentors who have been recognized by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and their community mentoring organizations during National Mentor Month.
Dr. Elizabeth Ann Nalley, a longtime chemistry professor at Cameron, was selected for her involvement in the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Through the program, underrepresented college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are paired with faculty mentors to learn research skills.
Nalley and mentee Theresa Hinkle, a Cameron biology and chemistry major who graduated this past December, were matched for two years.
“Dr. Nalley has been there for me, offering me personal counsel and support during a hard time in my life,” Hinkle said. “To be honest, before Dr. Nalley’s help, I questioned if I would even finish college. Now I’ve graduated with not one, but two, degrees and have no doubt I’ll be competitive for any doctoral program.”
In addition to working with students in their research, Dr. Nalley loves helping students prepare to present their research at scientific conferences.
“Dr. Nalley has been a tireless advocate for underrepresented students in STEM,” said Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence director Brenda Morales. “She has mentored more than 100 undergraduates by providing them experience through chemistry research. Dr. Nalley’s mentorship has allowed students to gain valuable research experience that has led them to a successful completion of their undergraduate careers as well as pursuit of master’s and doctorate degrees.”
Others recognized by the foundation were Terry Dennard of Duncan, Olivia Long of Elgin, Bryan and Ida May Wheeler of Manitou. The honorees were nominated by their respective mentoring organizations across the state, and each received a certificate of achievement from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a statewide nonprofit that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Through its statewide mentoring initiative, the foundation promotes the growth and development of quality youth mentoring programs. The foundation works with school districts and mentoring organizations to promote mentoring as a positive step toward academic success.