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2020 Undergraduate Research Mentors of the Year

The Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year award honors a faculty member who has shown outstanding commitment to mentoring undergraduate research students.

Erin Darby

Erin DarbyErin Darby is an associate professor of religious studies focusing on early Judaism and near eastern archaeology. She co-directs the ‘Ayn Gharandal archaeological project in Jordan and has received fellowships to work in Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Cyprus. She also collaborates on a range of community outreach programs in Tennessee. Since 2010 Darby has mentored more than 80 undergraduate researchers, most of them from UT Knoxville, through archaeological field research, student research presentations, and honors theses.

How does your research benefit UT?

My hope is that my research impacts our students, staff, and greater Tennessee community. By integrating students in active research projects, whether here or overseas, students are learning independence, resilience, creativity, teamwork, flexibility, cultural competence, analytical prowess, and problem-solving abilities. Whether excavating one of the earliest churches in the Middle East or analyzing texts from the Bible, students are not only contributing to our state of knowledge in religious studies, archaeology, and biblical studies, but they are developing the skills that will lead to success in their future careers. The research topics I and my students engage are also in high demand throughout our larger community, whether delivered through public presentations or cultural festivals, and this expertise can contribute to improving cultural competency and religious literacy in a host of contexts here in Tennessee.

Gregory Stuart

Gregory StuartGregory Stuart is a Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Psychology who has been at UT since 2008. His research program, funded by the National Institutes of Health, focuses on the role of substance misuse in intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization. He has mentored about 100 undergraduate students, most of them from UT Knoxville.

How does your research benefit UT?

My research focuses on a broad spectrum of factors that are relevant to the etiology, classification, assessment, prevention, maintenance, and treatment of intimate partner violence and addictive behaviors. My work has a particular emphasis on the role of alcohol and drug use in intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization. My research benefits UT by involving an incredibly talented group of graduate students and undergraduate students who can meaningfully contribute to solving these troubling societal problems. Together we bring in millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health to support our work and our great university, we publish articles to contribute to science and our knowledge base, and we work together to reduce violence and sexual assault in society and to make our world a more peaceful place.