By Kim Roth
Professor Sara A. Pozzi has received the 2018 Rackham Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award in recognition of her enduring contributions to graduate education within the College of Engineering.
At the time of nomination, Pozzi had graduated 17 PhD students, as chair or co-chair, and published over 350 highly cited journal papers and conference proceedings, most of them with her students. She has founded and grown a very successful research group with up to 18 PhD students at a time as well as post-doctoral researchers and research scientists. Her lab’s work has attracted large research and development funding awards.
Committed to and passionate about the professional development of the diverse crop of graduate students in her group, Pozzi has provided opportunities and funding for students to participate in research internships and experiments at U. S. national laboratories and abroad. For example, at the Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, students not only perform experiments on special nuclear material (uranium and plutonium), but also experience the history and culture of Italy.
Success of these activities is evident in the careers of her former students and postdocs, including at national laboratories, in academia — four have become assistant professors — and in industry.
Pozzi also served as NERS graduate program chair since 2013. In this capacity, she provided support and guidance to close to 100 PhD students, led the recruiting process, reported to Rackham and to the College of Engineering and addressed areas of concern expressed by PhD students, including climate and retention.
“The 2018 Rackham Distinguished Graduate Mentoring award is a true honor as it recognizes the work done over the years with my graduate students,” Pozzi said. “It is a pleasure to work with such talented individuals and to have a role in their development, not only as scientists and engineers but also as citizens of the world.”