March 23, 2017  

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Southern Miss Chemistry Professor Wins Graduate Mentor of Year Award

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Dr. Doug Masterson is associate professor of organic and bioorganic chemistry and associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the College of Science and Technology at Southern Miss.

University of Southern Mississippi Professor Douglas Masterson has been awarded the 2015 Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) Mentor Award. Masterson serves as an associate professor of organic and bioorganic chemistry and associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the College of Science and Technology at Southern Miss.

Last spring, Masterson was selected as Southern Miss’s inaugural recipient of the Graduate Mentor of the Year Award, which is supported by the Southern Miss Graduate School and the Office of Research. Masterson was then nominated for the CSGC award.

“I still have trouble believing that I won it. Certainly, competing with individuals in the southern region, there are some really good graduate programs; so I really thought my chances were probably slim,” said Masterson.

Dr. Robert McNamara, CSGS awards committee chair and associate provost and dean of the Graduate College at the Citadel, noted in the award letter that this year there was a substantially large pool of remarkable candidates. Each nominee greatly impressed the committee members, making the selection of a recipient quite difficult. 

“It is both inspiring and humbling to see what our colleagues are doing with their students and institutions,” said McNamara.

“What really impresses me about Dr. Masterson’s mentorship style is that he is genuinely invested in each student’s success,” said Dr. Karen Coats, dean of the Graduate School at Southern Miss. “He listens to them. He tailors his mentorship for each individual based on their career goals whether they aspire to be college professors, government researchers, or industrial chemists.

“What I hear from his students is that he not only provides them with the preparation and guidance to navigate a degree program in chemistry successfully, but he also encourages them to develop professionally and personally in ways that will help them lead rewarding lives,” added Coats. 

Former graduate student, Dr. Dale Rosado, reflected on a moment in the lab during his first month when Masterson explained his mentoring philosophy. “He plainly stated. ‘I’m training colleagues, not subordinates.’ The years that followed were evidence of his mentoring approach,” said Rosado. “He earned the respect of his graduate students and the respect of graduate and undergraduate students from other labs because of the mutual respect that was ever present in interaction with students.”

Rosado is currently a research chemist at the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center, Environmental Chemistry Branch.

“I’m very grateful to my graduate students for putting together the letters they put together in support of it. I’m absolutely positive they are the reasons I received it,” said Masterson. “I have been very fortune in the years that I have been here to have a set of graduate students who are willing to work with me and work hard. They make sacrifices to get the research done, and I couldn’t be where I’m without them for sure.”

Dr. Souvik Banerjee, postdoctoral fellow practicing medicinal chemistry at University of Tennessee Health Science Center noted that as a Ph.D. mentor, Masterson would always make sure to find time to interact with each of his group members at least once a day to resolve any issues that we may encounter regardless of his busy schedule. “This caring and professional attitude is what distinguishes him from most all other faculty that I know,” said Banerjee.

Masterson will receive a $1,000 award and an all-expense paid trip to the CSGS Conference, Feb. 18-22 in Charlotte, NC where he will be recognized at the awards luncheon.

About The Conference of Southern Graduate Schools

The Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) is the southern region affiliate of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). The Conference of Southern Graduate Schools consist of 200 graduate schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.