Dr. Julia Boughner and Dr. Daniel Chen

2022 Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award-Winners

Congratulations to the latest recipients of the CGPS Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, Dr. Julia Boughner (PhD, Hon.BSc.) and Dr. Daniel Chen (PhD, P.Eng.).

By Kassidy Guy

In graduate studies, mentorship serves to guide graduate students toward academic excellence and personal growth. A trusted mentor provides direction, support, and wisdom to students, and can encourage students to gain new insights, confidence, and opportunities.

The Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award was established in 2002 by the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) with the aim to recognize USask’s graduate faculty who have a reputation of being exceptional mentors. CGPS nominates all Distinguished Graduate Mentors to the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies Mentorship, a national award recognizing graduate faculty members with a record of excellent mentorship of graduate students under their supervision.

In recognition of their exceptional approach to mentorship in graduate studies, the 2022 Distinguished Graduate Mentor title is awarded to Dr. Julia Boughner and Dr. Daniel Chen.

Dr. Julia Boughner is a professor in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology at the College of Medicine. Her research areas include evolutionary developmental biology, physical anthropology, and craniofacial/dental morphology and evolution.

“Each of my mentors has taught me something invaluable, including generosity, integrity, courage, ambition, compassion, and boundaries,” says Dr. Boughner. In her experience, the act of mentoring itself can be just rewarding as being mentored, “Look around and see who could use someone in their corner and benefit from your lived experiences and hard-won wisdom,”. Dr. Boughner's advice to students is simple but profound: "Find a good mentor! Mentorship was crucial to shaping me as a scientist. No matter the career stage, a good mentor can help you level up."

Dr. Daniel Chen is a Professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. “As a Professor, I have had the privilege to supervise graduate students over the past two decades in the University of Saskatchewan.” Dr. Chen’s research areas include bioprinting, tissue engineering, and mechatronics.

Dr. Chen expresses gratitude towards his mentors and the support he received throughout his life. He particularly acknowledges Dr. Peter Block, a retired surgeon, and his wife, Arlene Block, who have provided him with tremendous mentorship, encouragement, and inspiration since his early days as an international student. Dr. Chen advises students, "To students, I would advise that graduate studies at the University of Saskatchewan is a privilege, yet a critical and important stage, to the success of your career."

“Our University of Saskatchewan community is proud to recognize the outstanding contributions of our 2023 faculty award recipients, including Dr. Julia Boughner and Dr. Daniel Chen. Congratulations to these exceptional mentors on receiving the Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award,” said Dr. Airini, USask provost and vice-president academic. “Outstanding mentors support our students and help to facilitate their transitions to careers beyond graduate studies. Distinguished mentors, such as Dr. Boughner and Dr. Chen, show how USask is setting the standard for learning—inspiring graduate students to be creative in their thinking, and to make a difference for the world.”

Congratulations to the 2022 Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award winners, Dr. Julia Boughner and Dr. Daniel Chen, who exemplify the spirit of exceptional mentorship in graduate studies. Their dedication to nurturing the next generation of scholars helps USask be what the world needs.