Postdoctoral Scholar Mentor of the Year Award

This award is presented to a postdoctoral researcher, fellow, or scholar who has demonstrated outstanding mentoring of junior trainees (high school, undergraduate, or graduate students) through leadership and support. The recipient must demonstrate leadership, communication, and management skills, as well as have encouraged and maintained an accessible, professional, and supportive lab environment that enhances the mentee experience.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is currently accepting nominations for the 2023 Postdoctoral Scholar Mentor of the Year Award.

  • To nominate someone: If you have someone you would like to nominate for this award, please complete the application here.
  • Nomination deadline: nomination materials for 2023 are due by January 5, 2024, 11:59 PM.

Please reach out to our office if you have any questions about the nomination process!

2022 Postdoctoral Scholar Mentor of the Year Award Recipients

Three postdoctoral scholars have been chosen for this award in 2022 given their exceptional mentoring abilities and service to the trainees and colleagues they interact with in their scholarship!







From left to right:

  • Jesse Hall, Postdoctoral Scholar-NRSA, Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity, College of Medicine
  • Ryan King, Postdoctoral Scholar-NRSA, Office of Research, College of Medicine
  • Simon Power, Postdoctoral Scholar, School of Environmental and Natural Resources, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Jesse Hall, Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity, College of Medicine

Jesse was nominated by his entire lab group of undergraduate and graduate trainees and visiting scholars in the Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity, COM.

Jesse is an excellent researcher and committed mentor and leader who drives the trainees he engages with to academic excellence and leads by example. He has a dynamic communication style and is able to both breakdown complex research topics in a way that trainees can understand and also show them how their assigned tasks fit into the larger project and scholarly output of the lab. Additionally, he provides guidance and compassion when trainees experience setbacks or failures in their projects and provides anecdotes from his own personal experiences so that the trainees are aware that failure and redirections are a natural and expected part of academic research.

Jesse’s empathy, leadership and proactive pursuit of mentorship, service, and engagement with trainees makes him an exceptional academic researcher and future leader in his field. In addition to pursuing his own research and maintaining critical lab resources like the mouse colony, he devotes considerable time to train and provide hands-on experiences to students and visiting scholars in the lab. At the same time, he goes beyond near-term research projects and regularly talk with trainees 1:1 about their long-term plans, to help them identify why they want to work in research and what milestones they need to meet to succeed. He regularly helps the lab’s trainees work on their own specific professional and educational goals and plan next steps in their career trajectories. One example from his nomination letter includes helping an undergraduate student conceptualize and then execute a research project for their undergraduate honors thesis – without Jesse’s encouragement, support, and checking in, this student expressed that they likely would not have been able to pursue this project.

Ryan King, Office of Research, College of Medicine

Ryan was nominated by one of his faculty mentors, Sai Veeraraghavan, Assistant Professor, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, who also provided testimonials from many of the trainees who engage with Ryan regularly in their research and educational training.

Ryan is a passionate and committed mentor, who inspires not only his mentees but also his colleagues and mentors to do more not only for trainees and the academy, but also society at large. He is also a prolific researcher; many of the methods and pedagogical approaches he has developed are so refined that many of his colleagues, including faculty, often adopt them into their courses and research methods.

Ryan has a strong track record of fostering intellectual, professional, and personal development in his colleagues and mentored junior trainees. This is evidenced by the recent successes of some of his previous mentees, who have gone on to receive prestigious awards and fellowships (some examples of which include a prestigious Jefferson Scholarship to the University of Virginia, two NIH F31 pre-doctoral fellowship recipients, and a national undergraduate fellowship). The successful outcomes these trainees have experienced can in large part be attributed to the structured training programs he constructs, whether they be focused on grant writing for graduate students or a scientific journal club for trainees to get presentation experience. due to his selfless commitment to mentorship. He also volunteers outside of the university and has routinely served as a science fair judge at local K-12 schools and during his time as a graduate student at Virginia Tech advocated to ensure that international students were supported on visa issues and that all students on campus had food security. He currently serves as a member of COSI’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Board to implement various educational initiatives across Central Ohio.

Simon Power, School of Environmental and Natural Resources, CFAES

Simon was nominated by his faculty mentor, Matt Davies, Associate Professor, SENR, CFAES, who also provided many testimonials from Simon’s colleagues and the trainees he regularly engages with in his research and teaching activities.

Simon is a productive and successful researcher, a highly valued mentor to undergraduate and graduate students, and has played a critical role in training undergraduate and graduate students during formal instruction across the School of Environmental and Natural Resources (SENR). Since joining Ohio State three and a half years ago, Simon has published eleven papers and currently has several in review focusing on the use of long-term monitoring data to track ecosystem change following wildfires. His work has gained significant attention within his field and been cited more than two hundred times (with aa number of his papers cited more than fifty times). His exceptional research capabilities are further underscored by an H-Index of 7 and his participation in a major, multi-author global review paper on the use of drones to estimate vegetation biomass.

Simon has demonstrated strong leadership and mentorship capabilities during his time in SENR. He started his postdoc position around the beginning of the pandemic. Despite the uncertainty and turmoil that occurred during that time, he stepped up to make sure the trainees in his lab felt supported. One example from his nomination letter that highlights this commitment involves two graduate students, who at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, were working on a project focused on examining the use of prescribed burning and goat grazing to control woody invasive species within Ohio’s forests. These students faced significant delays and logistical changes due to research restrictions; Simon stepped in and spent weeks camping in the field with them to ensure they were able to collect the samples and data they needed to complete their project. Thanks to his support, these students now have several papers in review or preparation stages.

In addition to his research and mentoring activities, he has also made substantial contributions to supporting SENR’s teaching mission, which has experienced instructional openings and gaps due to a rapidly growing undergraduate population.

Being nominated for this award is an indication of high quality mentoring, For this reason, we would like to honor the nominees by listing them here.

2022 Nominees

  • Elshafa Ahmed, Comprehensive Cancer Center and College of Medicine
  • Ashleigh Bope, Department of Civil Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Sisi Cao, Department of Human Sciences, College of Education and Human Ecology
  • Agnieszka Chmielewska, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Laura Cutler, Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, College of Education and Human Ecology
  • Thalia Pacheco Fernandez, Department of Department of Pathology, College of Medicine
  • Colin Hisey, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Meagan Ita, Department of Engineering Education, College of Engineering
  • Chandan Joishi, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Nada Khattab, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
  • David Martin, Department of Astronomy, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Charlotte Milling, School of Environmental and Natural Resources, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
  • Caymen Novak, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine
  • Wolfgang Pfeifer, Departments of Physics and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering
  • Emily Sekera, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arts and Sciences
  • Dushyanth Sirivolu, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering

Dalton Snyder is the 2021 Postdoctoral Scholar Mentor of the Year

Dalton Snyder

Dr. Dalton T. Snyder is a research associate in the Resource for Native Mass Spectrometry Guided Structural Biology (nMS->SB) under Professor Vicki Wysocki. He obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry and applied mathematics from the University of Evansville in 2014 and later earned his PhD in chemistry (with a focus on mass spectrometry) under Dr. R. Graham Cooks at Purdue University in 2018. Since joining the nMS->SB Resource, he has focused on simplification and dissemination of surface-induced dissociation technology for the native mass spectrometry community. His current research interests include gas-phase hydrogen-deuterium exchange of native proteins and protein complexes as well as study of amyloid beta aggregation pathways by native mass spectrometry.

Dr. Snyder’s mentees recognized his incredible scientific worth ethic, his dedication to training students and creating a welcoming work environment, and his empathy with others.

Being nominated for this award is an indication of high quality mentoring, For this reason, we would like to honor the nominees by listing them here.

2021 Nominees

  • Ahmed Abdelhamid, Food Science and Technology
  • Da Chen, Food Science and Technology
  • Ji Yeon Denninger, Psychology
  • Yan Dong, Material Science Engineering
  • Kalpana Deepa Priya Dorayappan, OB-GYN
  • Israel Garcia-Cano, Food Science and Technology
  • Gerald Gourdin, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Johnny Greco, Physics
  • Joanna Hodges, Human Sciences
  • Katie Kroeper, Psychology
  • Drew Nassal, Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute
  • Wolfgang Pfeifer, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Timothy Yokley, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Wenjia Joyce Zhao, Psychology

Faith Brennan is the 2020 Postdoctoral Scholar Mentor of the Year

Dr. Faith Brennan is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Phillip Popovich in the Department of Neuroscience. Since joining the lab in 2016, Dr. Brennan has investigated the pathophysiology of traumatic spinal cord injury, with a particular interest in immune responses to neurotrauma. During her post-doctoral tenure, she has become a role model for more than a dozen other trainees and technical staff, several of whom expressed multiple ways in which Dr. Brennan demonstrates outstanding leadership, management, communication skills, and selfless devotion to supporting others.

Dr. Brennan received a PhD from the University of Queensland (Australia), where she won the 2015 Dean’s award for Outstanding PhD thesis. Her post-doctoral research at OSU is supported by fellowships from the Craig H. Neilsen foundation and the Wings for Life Spinal Research Foundation. Dr. Brennan served as chair of the post-doctoral association’s international committee until 2019.

2020 Nominees

  • Ahmed Abdelhamid, Food Science and Technology
  • Adrienne Antonson, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research
  • Lawrence Ball, Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
  • Jenny Barker, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Lisa Barrow, Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology
  • Sara Elgamal, Internal Medicine
  • Johnny Greco, Physics
  • Christopher Grieco, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Norman Groves, Molecular Genetics
  • Kristyn Gumpper, Internal Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Joanna Hodges, Human Sciences
  • Megan Kemski, Food Science and Technology
  • Melanie Krook, Clinical and Translational Science, Internal Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Ashish Manandhar, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Kattia Palacio-López, Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology
  • Japan Patel, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Kayla Perry, Entomology
  • Eric Piechota, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Simon Power, School of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Marcos Rivera, Office of Student Academic Success
  • Veronica Roman-Reyna, Plant Pathology
  • Suyog Shrestha, Physics
  • Rajni Shukla, Microbial Infection and Immunity
  • Kristina Slagle, School of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Ashley Staples, Educational Studies
  • Terrin Tamati, Otolaryngology
  • Sriram Vijayan, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Xiaoying Zhao, Food Science and Technology

Moriah Flagler is the 2019 Postdoctoral Scholar Mentor of the Year



Moriah Flagler is a teacher, theatre-maker, and scholar.  Her research focuses on community-based devising, applied improvisation, and digital storytelling. Her recent scholarship examines how devising digital stories with middle school-aged Spanish speakers foregrounded their community cultural wealth in a schooling system that often strips Latinx youth of their languages and cultures through subtractive assimilation. Moriah received the 2019 Distinguished Thesis Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education for her study, “Storied Moments: Foregrounding Community Cultural Wealth through Digital Storytelling.” 

Moriah holds a Master of Fine Arts in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Education from The University of Arizona.  She is currently a postdoctoral researcher and the Artistic Director of Be the Street, an Ohio State University community-engaged devising program where she continues to explore the intersections of place, identity, connection, story, and social justice.

2019 Nominees

  • Sara Koenig, Molecular Biology
  • Suyog Shrestha, Physics
  • Melanie Krook, Cancer Biology
  • Jose Lorie Lopez, Chemistry
  • Lindsey Brinton, Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Johnny Greco, Physics
  • Ji Young Kim, Environmental Health Sciences
  • Israel Garcia Cano, Food Science and Technology
  • Hardy Castada, Food Science and Technology
  • Devendra Dusane, Microbial Infection and Immunity
  • Anna Conrad, Plant Pathology

Leanna Perez is the 2018 Postdoctoral Scholar Mentor of the Year


Dr. Leanna Perez pictured with her PI, Dr. Irene Hatsu, and the undergraduate research assistants who nominated her for the award.

Dr. Leanna Perez is a postdoctoral researcher in the Hatsu Lab in the Department of Human Sciences. She has interdisciplinary research experience in nutrition and psychiatry and is currently coordinating a clinical research trial for children with ADHD. Her research involves identifying dietary patterns and multinutrient interventions that could inform integrative treatment options for youth with psychiatric or developmental disorders.

Dr. Perez is incredibly enthusiastic about student mentoring and advocacy, and also serves as the current chair for the Policy & Advocacy Committee of the PDA. She has a true passion for learning the stories of each student in her lab and finding a place in research that fits their individual strengths and interests.

2018 Nominees

  • Stephen Baumler, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Will Cantara, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Hardy Castada, Food Science And Technology
  • Veena Devi Ganeshan, Plant Pathology
  • Angela Filous, Neurology
  • Laura Hopkins, Human Sciences
  • Melanie Krook, Internal Medicine
  • Carl Pfendner, Physics
  • Tasha Posid, Psychology
  • Francesco Sammartino, Neurosurgery
  • Suyog Shrestha, Physics
  • Jeffrey Skidmore, Biomedical Engineering
  • Frances Sivakoff, Entomology
  • Vineeta Tanwar, Cell Biology and Physiology/Nursing
  • DeWayne Williams, Psychology
  • Marshleen Yadav, Radiology Oncology

Tasha Posid is the 2017 Postdoctoral Scholar Mentor of the Year


Dr. Noah Weisleder of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, presenting the award to Dr. Tasha Posid, with Abby Mills, an undergraduate research assistant who nominated Dr. Posid

Dr. Tasha Posid is a postdoctoral researcher in the Cognitive Development Lab of the Department of Psychology. She was nominated by an undergraduate research assistant who articulated the genuine efforts Dr. Posid has put forth into improving the undergraduate research experience, as well as the outstanding support and mentorship she has received while working with Dr. Posid. In addition to her commendable mentoring capabilities, Dr. Posid has also demonstrated excellent leadership amongst her trainees in the research environment. Congratulations Dr. Posid!

2017 Nominees

  • April Joice, Pharmacy
  • Dario Palmieri, Cancer Biology and Genetics
  • Devendra Dusane, Microbial Infection and Immunity
  • Frances Sivakoff, Entomology
  • Huimin Wang, Materials Science and Engineering
  • James Beacham, Physics
  • Jyoti Katoch, Physics and the Center for Emergent Materials
  • Marlena Ryba, Psychology
  • Michelle Roley-Roberts, Nisonger Center
  • Mohammad Elnakish, Physiology & Cell Biology
  • Qadeer Ahmed, Center for Automotive Research
  • Safiya Khurshid, Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Xiaoyi Lu, Computer Science and Engineering