- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Jean-Pierre Delplanque, vice provost and dean of Graduate Studies, says the program recognizes "faculty providing outstanding service in advising and mentoring at the program level."
In a letter to Professor Rosenheim, he praised his "excellent service to your graduate program, as well as your positive impact on graduate students and your colleagues. We thank you for your investment in advising and mentoring graduate students and contribution to their success."
Delplanque singled out a few excerpts from the award packet:
- “He has demonstrated his unparalleled dedication to mentoring students, and ability to cultivate an atmosphere of learning, excitement, and critical thinking in the lab, field, and classroom. He consistently makes time to support his students. Regardless of his current teaching and research demands, Jay will provide feedback, schedule meetings, and maintain his open door policy.”
- “Jay is a remarkably skillful and reassuring mentor with a natural generosity of spirit and a broad view of mentorship. He has deep knowledge in a wide range of subject areas, and also has the wisdom to offer students good advice on all stages of the research process. Jay is especially good at putting students at ease and motivating them to persist through the setbacks of research. I have often seen students go to Jay for advice when they are worried and leave feeling better about the road ahead.”
Delplanque noted that "Graduate Studies is committed to showcasing and promoting positive mentoring experiences like yours. Graduate advising and mentoring is vital for guiding students through their degrees and professional development, while also helping ensure their overall success and well-being. Your efforts exemplify outstanding service in mentorship and we hope you will join us in championing the benefits and significance of graduate student mentoring across campus. Congratulations again on your achievement."
Rosenheim, who specializes in insect ecology, integrated pest management, and biological control, and the use of farmer-generated data to enhance pest and crop management ('Ecoinformatics'), holds a bachelor's degree in entomology (1983) from UC Davis and a doctorate in entomology (1987) from UC Berkeley. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1990. and become a UC Davis distinguished professor in 2018.
Humbled and honored to receive the award, Rosenheim says that "The job of a professor is quite diverse, and quite rewarding in different ways. Teaching in a classroom provides instant gratification, as you see the light of understanding and excitement shining in students' eyes as they explore and grasp new concepts. Research in the laboratory provides instead delayed gratification, where long periods of hard work--sometimes years--may pass before questions are answered and one feels the satisfaction of pushing forward the margins of scientific understanding."
"But, perhaps the most lasting sense of accomplishment comes from mentoring graduate students," Rosenheim says. Building relationships with graduate students, watching them grow in their skills and confidence and, finally, seeing them establish themselves in their careers, provides the kind of reward that is similar in some ways to the happiness that parents derive from their children. And the relationships never end – they are bonds that last a lifetime. I think the key to effective mentorship is to place the student's welfare at the top of one's priority list. So, drafts of papers should be returned promptly with constructive suggestions, and not allowed to languish in a long queue of manuscripts waiting for reviews--more senior colleagues can wait, if someone needs to wait.
"And, I think effective mentorship also means tailoring the kind of assistance provided to the needs and desires of each student. Mentorship is definitely not a one-size-fits-all kind of undertaking. Some students need a lot of encouragement (actually, almost everyone benefits from positive feedback, because research often produces huge servings of critiques), some students need more assistance, especially at the earliest stages of their research, but some students absolutely chafe under too much input, and instead want total independence. That's fine – it's important to adjust to each student's desires and needs. I think good mentorship also means establishing a laboratory culture of openness and collegiality. Everyone should be happy to come to the lab, learn from each other, and contribute to each other's research progress. Mentorship doesn't just come from the lab PI (principal investigator), but from everyone who makes the lab a community."
A native of Yorktown, N.Y, young Jay developed an interest in biology while exploring the vernal pools behind his Hudson River Valley home. As an undergraduate at UC Davis, he initially majored in physics. "On a lark" he enrolled in Professor Harry Kaya's Entomology 100 course in 1981. The professor inspired him, the class enthralled him, and insects captivated him.
Rosenheim's career has not only led to his being elected a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, but recipient of teaching awards from the Associated Students of UC Davis and the UC Davis Academic Senate; and the Distinguished Student Mentoring Award from ESA's Pacific Branch.
He co-founded and co-directs the campuswide Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology (RSPIB) with Professors Joanna Chiu and Louie Yang of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. The program aims to provide "undergraduates with a closely-mentored research experience in biology," according to the website. "Because insects can be used as model systems to explore virtually any area of biology (population biology; behavior and ecology; biodiversity and evolutionary ecology; agroecology; genetics and molecular biology; biochemistry and physiology; cell biology), faculty in the program can provide research opportunities across the full sweep of biology. The program's goal is to provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a multi-year research experience that cultivates skills that will prepare them for a career in biological research."