Jeremy Testa selected by UMCES graduate students as Outstanding Faculty Mentor

May 28, 2021

Associate Professor Jeremy Testa, a marine ecologist studying nutrient cycling in coastal systems at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, has been selected by the graduate student body to receive the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award for his dedication to both science and his students.

Jeremy Testa

“Jeremy Testa represents what it means to be an exemplary and exceptional mentor through the dedication, investment, and care he provides to each of his students and mentees,” said UMCES Graduate Student Council Chair Anna Windle.

Since his arrival as a faculty member at Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in 2013, he has mentored more than 15 students and positively impacted the lives of many more. He has served as an advisor and mentor to five master’s students, six National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates students, two College of Southern Maryland students, one visiting Ph.D. candidate, one Chesapeake Research Consortium (CRC) Chesapeake-Student Recruitment, Early Advisement, and Mentoring (C-StREAM) fellow, and two post-doctoral researchers.

“I still remember the big high-five Jeremy gave me after I triumphantly started my first model run. It’s his ability to make a space for each person to be engaged and also appreciate everyone’s uniqueness that is very powerful,” said former master’s student Nicole Basenback. “My experience as a mentee of Dr. Testa was very rewarding as I gained experience as a scientist, was challenged to expand my problem-solving skills and creativity, and collaborated with colleagues within and outside of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.”

Testa is an exemplary member of UMCES who actively serves on numerous panels, search committees, and research advisory committees, all while balancing his  research, family, and students’ needs. His students note that he cares about their own personal growth as much as their development as scientists.

“He is a tremendous advisor who wants his students to be successful, enjoy graduate student life, and maintain good mental health during the process,” said master’s student Isabel Sanchez-Viruet

Jeremy Testa with his students, Drew Hobbs, Isabel-Sanchez-Viruet, and Stefenie Shenoy

“As his former REU student in the summer of 2018, I can most definitely attest to his phenomenal mentoring approach, as he allows you to solve problems and grow independently, all while maintaining a solid relationship and watchful eye on the research along with you and your well-being,” said Curtis Szewczyk, a student in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program. “Dr. Testa has proven very impactful in my development as a scientist and I can truly say that my summer spent as his REU student confirmed my aspirations towards attending graduate school.”

Testa completed his M.S. in 2006 and Ph.D. in 2013, both in the Marine Estuarine and Environmental Sciences graduate program at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Just a few months after completing his Ph.D., he continued on with the UMCES community after being hired as a faculty member at Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.

Located where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory is the oldest publicly supported marine laboratory on the East Coast. Founded in 1925, it has been a national leader in fisheries, estuarine ecology, environmental chemistry and toxicology for more than 90 years. Our scientists conduct research from the Chesapeake Bay and around the globe. From advising state and national agencies on sustainable fisheries management and breaking new ground in understanding how chemicals move between the atmosphere, sediments, and water to renowned work on nutrient dynamics and the food web, the lab is developing new scientific approaches to solving the major environmental problems that face our world.