“There is a saying that ‘a student is only as good as her teacher,’” wrote Sandi Navarro, in her nomination of her teacher Dr. Johanna Lampe for the University of Washington School of Public Health’s Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award.
“A key attribute that makes Dr. Lampe such an outstanding mentor is her unique ability to capture the interests and goals of her students and then to suggest paths for professional development that align with these objectives,” said Navarro, who began working with Lampe while writing her master’s thesis and continued through her first two years of doctoral school. Navarro, now a research assistant in Lampe’s lab, wrote that she was amazed by Lampe’s ability to remember the interests of each student in her group and then to follow up and find opportunities to make the experiences happen.
“For example, I informally expressed an interest in gaining experience in laboratory procedures and improving my proficiency in statistics. Remembering these conversations, Dr. Lampe provided opportunities for me in both areas.” Lampe also recognized and supported Navarro’s interest in genetics, encouraging her to pursue certification in public-health genetics in addition to nutrition training.
Nominated in a field of outstanding faculty mentors, the judges agreed with Navarro and selected Lampe for her skills in academic and personal mentoring, career mentoring and advocacy and leadership mentoring.
"One of the fun things about working at the Center is the opportunity to work with students and to share with them the excitement of doing research,” said Lampe, a nutritionist in the Public Health Sciences Division. Lampe uses controlled dietary studies and other types of interventions in humans to examine the mechanisms by which components of diet alter risk factors for cancer. This includes the investigation of the metabolism and activities of isoflavones and lignans (estrogenic compounds found in soybeans and other plant foods).
"I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected for this award, Lampe said. "I think one of the challenges of mentoring is to find the balance between providing the support and providing the freedom for students to develop their skills and identify their strengths. The fact that students with whom I work have faith in my abilities to help them through this is reassuring."
The UW SPH created the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award in 2003; since that time, the only other Center faculty member so honored was Dr. Beti Thompson who received the award in 2006.