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Sources: Brett Sandercock, 785-532-0120,
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Thursday, April 30, 2009


MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University biologist with expertise in wildlife ecology is the recipient of the 2009 Presidential Distinguished Faculty Award for the Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research.

Brett Sandercock, associate professor and program coordinator for the Research Experience for Undergraduates site program at the Konza Prairie Biological Station, receives $2,500 and a plaque for his mentoring activities over the last academic year.

"At K-State, scores of undergraduates have the opportunity to take part in real research activities," said Jon Wefald, K-State president. "This takes encouragement on behalf of faculty researchers. Brett Sandercock is a prime example of the university's research excellence."

Sandercock joined K-State in 2001 and has been a program coordinator for the Division of Biology's Research Experience for Undergraduates site program since 2003. The program gives undergraduate students the chance to conduct independent summer projects in ecological research under the guidance of experienced faculty in ecological genomics, conservation biology and grassland ecology.

In 2008-2009, Sandercock's mentoring efforts resulted in six peer-reviewed articles by undergraduate authors, and two presentations at national meetings.

"Although I had been part of one biological research team prior to the summer, it had been nowhere near as intensive as my time at K-State with Brett. He taught me how to do 'real science,'" said Amy Strauss, a biology student from Whitman College who worked with Sandercock through the Research Experience for Undergraduates site program. "Brett encouraged me to think deeply and carefully about each step in the research process and to really make me understand why each step was necessary. He really taught me the significance of the whole research process. I am so grateful for that essential and fundamental guidance."

Sandercock also is a faculty mentor with the Women in Engineering and Science Program and a faculty adviser for the Division of Biology. Along with mentoring undergraduates in the summer undergraduate research opportunities program, he also has been a mentor for the Developing Scholars Program and the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Program. He is affiliated with three K-State research groups, including the Institute for Grassland Studies, Ecological Genomics Institute and the Center for the Understanding of Origins.