Muhammad Fayyaz awarded Best Mentor Award through ISUR program


Donna Shubert

Muhammad Fayyaz, a bioengineering Ph.D. candidate working in professor Andrew Smith's lab, has been selected by The Grainger College of Engineering Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) program as the 2022 recipient of the Best Mentor of the Year Award. Muhammad was nominated by his mentee,  Ege Gungor Onal (a recent bioengineering graduate), and selected by representatives from Undergraduate Research.

Students in the ISUR program work closely with mentors and faculty sponsors on research projects throughout the fall and spring semesters. As an ISUR mentor, some of Muhammad’s responsibilities were to share knowledge and expertise, provide guidance and constructive feedback, and foster a comfortable and supportive but still challenging work environment.

"I learned leadership and time-management skills as an ISUR mentor, and my experience with Ege was excellent," said Fayyaz. "He’s self-motivated, hard-working, and intelligent."

In his nomination, Ege shared a heartwarming story about how Muhammad went above and beyond what was expected of a mentor by always taking the time to listen, ensuring his ideas were welcome, and even offering him homemade food while performing late-night experiments. Ege included,".. he [Muhammad] made me feel valued and appreciated for my thoughts, work, and knowledge. He exemplifies a brilliant mentor who guides his students with compassion and care. "

The ISUR program seeks to expose students to science and engineering research, including multidisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary research, by following a learning-by-apprenticeship model. The program goal is to increase student retention in science and engineering programs and to increase the number of students pursuing STEM careers.