Laura Lapham, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, was awarded the second annual Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award by graduate students. Graduate Student Council Chair Christina Goethel and Graduate Student Drew Hobbs shared the award that recognizes faculty for their commitment to students beyond the classroom at UMCES’ Commencement exercises on May 23.
“Dr. Lapham has made mentoring a top priority in her program, and has employed unique opportunities to mentor both within UMCES and externally by bringing various aged students into the UMCES community,” said Christina Goethel, chair of the Graduate Student Council at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
Lapham is an aquatic biogeochemist with a focus on aquatic gas exchange, particularly methane emissions in environments including the Chesapeake Bay, freshwater Arctic lakes, and hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. During her eight years at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, she has made mentoring a top priority in her program, including mentoring two high school interns, seven National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program students, two undergraduate interns, and three community college students.
She has been awarded two Changing the Face of Stem grants to support the Tiny Bubbles Mentoring Project, a hands-on research experience for STEM students that she created at the College of Southern Maryland as part of an effort to change the face of science by advancing interest in first-year students at the College of Southern Maryland.
Students who nominated Lapham for the award commented: “Laura has realistically laid out the challenges of balancing work and home. For me as a young female scientist, it is great to have a mentor who is both a successful mother and scientist,”’ and “Simply put, Laura makes science fun even in the face of difficulty and adversity, and she makes it a priority to aid her students in their education and scientific development.”
“For me as a young female scientist, it is great to have a mentor who is both a successful mother and scientist. Despite the craziness of having energetic young children, she is a highly successful scientist and who continues to make an impact in her field of methane biogeochemistry, having published 21 papers in the past 10 years! In addition to all of that, she is our greatest champion, helping us to overcome our challenges and celebrating with us when we succeed.”
“As an advisor, it is one thing to guide young scientists in their research and careers. It is another thing to provide a naturally encouraging attitude that motivates, inspires, and facilitates the progress of those individuals in their development as scientists. In the time I have spent working with Dr. Lapham, I have come across several obstacles in my research – ones that would have certainly discouraged me had it not been for her inherent eagerness and enthusiasm. Her dedication to teaching and guiding me in these struggles has been instrumental in my education, and she does so with a positive and supporting attitude.”
Lapham earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.S. from Florida State University.