Faculty Mentor Award Winners

    Provost’s Award for an Exemplary Director of Graduate Studies (DGS)

    May 2023 

    Monica Gentili, Ph.D.

    Department of Industrial Engineering

    Dr. Gentili joined University of Louisville in January 2016, where she is currently an associate professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering, Director of the PhD program, and Co-Director of the Logistics and Distribution Institute. From October 2013 to October 2015, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Institute for People and Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to that, she was Assistant professor at the University of Salerno in Italy. She got her B.S and M.S. degree in Statistics and her Ph.D. in Operations Research from the University of Rome “La Sapienza.”

    At the University of Louisville, Dr. Gentili’s research interests include data analysis and optimization models and algorithms as they are applied in health care, transportation, location, and logistics, and she regularly teaches DSS for Excel, Probability and Statistics for Engineers, and Data Management and Spreadsheet Modeling. Dr. Gentili has served as the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for Industrial Engineering for just two years, but she has been instrumental in improving the student experience, from recruitment to graduation. She has made the process of earning a graduate degree more efficient and more transparent by streamlining processes and documents, created new doctoral student awards in teaching, research, and service, launched a career planning seminar series, and revamped the PhD program curriculum. Many of these innovations were in response to student requests, as this student writes: “Dr. Gentili has been assertive in seeking to understand our needs and creating responses to help address them, from the Life in Academia series to an annual PhD research competition.….There are many other things that Dr. Gentili has done to promote our success, especially through quiet one-on-one meetings. She is my advisor and I have benefited greatly from her humble mentorship, and she is absolutely committed to the success of each and every student in her care.”


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    Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Doctoral Students

    May 2023

    Robert Buchanan, Ph.D.

    Department of Chemistry

    Dr. Robert Buchanan is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Louisville, where he began his career as an Assistant Professor in 1982.  Prior to joining UofL, he earned his BA from Western Maryland College, his MS from West Virginia University, and his PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder, all in Chemistry; he also completed two post-doctoral positions, one at the University of Colorado and one at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  While at the University of Louisville, Dr. Buchanan rose through the ranks to become a full Professor of Chemistry, and he has served the College of Arts and Sciences as both an Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and as the long-term (2006-2020) Associate Dean for Research.  

    Throughout his career, he has mentored the research of both graduate and undergraduate students and has taught at all levels including freshman lecture and laboratory courses, senior laboratory courses, and graduate courses. He has also contributed to numerous grant applications to upgrade instructional laboratory instrumentation, as well as submitting successful grant applications to support his own research and that of his students.

    While at UofL, he has mentored 6 post-doctoral students, 28 graduate students, and 37 undergraduates in various research projects related to clean energy and healthcare. His nominator, a former student, writes that Professor Buchanan has “demonstrated a deep commitment to supporting his doctoral students in all aspects of their academic and professional development.  Beyond his technical expertise, he is a model of professionalism, kindness, and generosity. He is always willing to go above and beyond to support his students, whether it’s through helping us navigate the complexities of the academic system, providing us with networking opportunities, or offering emotional support during difficult times.”


    Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Doctoral Students

    David Roelfs, Ph.D.

    Department of Sociology

    Dr. David Roelfs began working at the University of Louisville in Fall 2011, directly after earning his PhD in 2011 in Sociology from Stony Brook University. His appointment is with the Department of Sociology, where he is currently Associate Professor and Department Chair (following a three-year term as the department’s Director of Graduate Studies). He maintains an active research agenda, examining possible explanations for the “Immigrant Mortality Advantage/Paradox,”and teaches two core statistics courses for the department (Introduction to Social Statistics at the undergraduate level and Statistics II [Generalized Linear Regression Modeling] at the graduate level); he also periodically teaches courses in Organizational Sociology (graduate level) and Economic Sociology (undergraduate level).

    At UofL, Dr. Roelfs has served on over 43 different graduate student committees, and he has coauthored and presented research papers with numerous graduate students. While serving as Department Chair, he chairing or co-chairing six student projects and serving as a committee member for an additional four students. Lastly, he funds research collaborations with graduate students through external grants, and he has spearheaded many initiatives to support and enhance professional development and research opportunities for graduate students. Eight students co-authored the letter of nomination for Dr. Roelfs, calling him “an exceptional leader, mentor, and faculty member who exemplifies the qualities this award was designed to recognize….He has had a profound impact on our success and that of other graduate students…due to his hard work, dedication, and extraordinary support of graduate students.”

     Previous Winner

    Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Masters Students


    May 2022


    John Wise, Ph.D.

    College of Medicine 

    Dr. Wise received his Ph.D. in toxicology in 2018 from Purdue University.  He completed his first postdoctoral training at University of Southern California studying how air pollution contributes to brain aging, then completed a second postdoctoral training at the University of Louisville investigating metal toxicity in the heart-brain axis.


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