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USM Psychology Professor Named Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research Mentor of Year

Fri, 04/21/2023 - 09:16am | By: Van Arnold

Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research Mentor of YearDr. Kelsey Bonfils, Assistant Professor in the School of Psychology at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has been selected to receive the 2022 Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research (DCUR) Mentor of the Year Award.

Dr. Sabine Heinhorst, Interim Dean, USM Honors College and Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research Director, notes that Bonfils was nominated by students who received DCUR grants during the calendar year 2022.

“Dr. Bonfils was selected by the DCUR Steering Committee because of her thoughtful, caring approach to mentoring undergraduate student researchers and preparing them for their professional careers,” said Heinhorst.

In 2011, the Center for Undergraduate Research was established at USM to enhance the undergraduate experience by promoting and supporting student-faculty collaborations in research, creative projects, and scholarship. 

In 2016, the Center was renamed Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research in honor of its benefactor, USM alumnus Donald Drapeau. The DCUR functions as the hub for coordinating and communicating to USM students opportunities for research and creative projects and supporting students’ scholarly activities through its grant programs. 

Bonfils notes that training she received from faculty mentors helped shape her approach to mentoring students.

“I have benefitted during my training from truly exceptional mentorship through which I was able to uncover my own scientific passions, grow both professionally and personally, and take on challenges that I otherwise might not have had the confidence to pursue,” she said. “It is my aim to provide a mentoring framework from which my mentees have the same opportunities.” 

Bonfils explains that her approach to mentorship is developmental, as she greatly enjoys the opportunity to have longer-term relationships with mentees.

“I find that mentees flourish with experiential techniques, through which they are able to gain exposure to various research activities and ‘learn by doing,’ so I aim to give my mentees many opportunities to directly engage with the research process,” said Bonfils. “I have been delighted to hone this approach through my work with four DCUR Eagle SPUR awardees since I started at USM in 2020, all of whom have made great contributions to the Social Cognition & Recovery in Schizophrenia (SCORS) Lab. I look forward to working with many more students in the future.”

To learn more about the Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research, please visit their website.