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K-State Today

May 6, 2021

University Honors Program selects 2021 faculty award winners

Submitted by Sara Luly

Justin Kastner, left, and Sim Jun.

The University Honors Program recently presented its inaugural 2021 Teaching and Mentoring Awards. This year’s winners are Justin Kastner, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; and Sim Jun, assistant professor of social work.

The University Honors Program presents the awards annually to two faculty or staff members who have demonstrated outstanding teaching and mentorship to the students in the program. Recipients of these awards are nominated by current University Honors Program students and then selected by the awards committee.

Kastner has been a consistent advocate for multidisciplinary thinking and interdisciplinary scholarship, as well as an active participant in the UHP. He was nominated for this award as the instructor of the UHP 189: Honors First-Year Seminar section titled “Public Health in the Age of Sherlock Holmes.” The nomination materials described how his engaging and diverse teaching style led to a learning environment that was informative and captivating in which every student, whether in person or on zoom, was engaged in discussion. Kastner is described as a professor and mentor that enhances the first-year experience, teaches students to make interdisciplinary connections, and encourages them to explore new intellectual pursuits. In doing so Kastner has enhanced the educational experience in the University Honors Program.

Jun was nominated for her work as an undergraduate research mentor and as mentor of an honors project. In the nomination materials, her student mentee expressed enthusiastic gratitude for the support she received, stating that: “Dr. Sim has been a source of invaluable knowledge and great support. She dedicated her free time to editing, collaborating, amending, and refining my learning process.” The nomination letter described how Jun gave helpful and detailed feedback, and always took the time necessary to make sure the student understood key concepts. She was a mentor not only for the research methods and theories, but also guided the student through the process of submitting to a journal, providing support and encouragement throughout the process.

Please join the University Honors Program in congratulating these outstanding teachers and mentors. Their time, effort and commitment epitomize the many ways in which faculty and staff support K-State's University Honors Program students all across campus and enhance the honors experience through their service.