Homer, Young Chosen Outstanding Faculty MentorsPublished: August 1, 2011
Pamela Miles Homer
Pamela Miles Homer has been the inspiration, impetus and hard work behind the College of Business Administration’s successful honors program which she created in 2003 to oversee an enriched, demanding curriculum that challenges undergraduate students. She continues to single-handedly lead it today.
Students are selected for the honors program based on their promise as interesting and creative individuals, not simply on the basis of grades or test scores. Once accepted, students complete a three-semester program where Homer places a heavy emphasis on outside readings from academic/professional journals and business/professional publications. She teaches students the research process including the basics of developing research ideas and hypotheses, designing studies, collecting data, analyzing data and organizing the information into an honors thesis. Homer often pairs students up with faculty whose research interests match their thesis topic. She often serves as the primary mentor and thesis supervisor, especially when the thesis topic fits with her own research expertise. Homer works closely with all thesis students and faculty supervisors.
“I have not seen anyone else in CBA who has worked as diligently as Homer to ensure that our brightest and best undergraduate students succeed as they prepare to either enter graduate programs or begin their careers in industry,” said marketing chair Ingrid Martin.
Many of the honors program students have received various academic achievement awards, excelled in the CSU Student Research Competition, and gone on to law school or MBA programs. Often they attribute their success to the program and Homer’s support.
“If I had to quantify it, I’d say my education would have been 80 percent less complete without having participated in the program,” said Robin Gensicke Madden, a 2006 graduate. “Even my most difficult classes didn’t teach the skills and concepts I learned by taking part in the thesis program. . . Dr. Homer treats you like an employer or client would. . . she made herself very accessible for assistance.”
Undergraduate students in Kelly Young’s laboratory do a lot more than wash dishes. Undergraduate research students are expected to co-design and run their own experiments with the goal of publishing their findings in a peer-reviewed journal. Young, an expert in reproductive biology, works closely with her students, teaching them about the practice and methods of scientific research. Student researchers work with her in all aspects of a project, from experimental design, data collection, analysis, presentation at meetings and
writing manuscripts for publication.
Together, they have had 14 CSULB-based papers accepted in strong journals. Seven of the manuscripts have been published between 2009 and 2011 and include eight student first and co-authors—most of whom are undergraduate students. Students from her laboratory have presented 38 first-authored posters or oral presentations at national, international or regional meetings. Undergraduate students have presented at every Society for the Study of Reproduction meeting since Young arrived at CSULB in 2003.
Her success can be measured in part by where her research students are now. Many have gone on to pursue Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S., M.P.H. and P.A. degrees. They receive scholarships, fellowships, and prizes for their research and awards, like the 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2011 CSUPERB Doris A. Howell Award.
Young has written more than 340 letters of recommendation for 107 students in the past eight year and provides advice on personal statements and application materials for graduate programs. Her mentoring continues even after her students have left her laboratory. A former recipient of the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Award, Young has helped two students obtain the award.
Young received her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and her master’s and doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, Oregon Health and Sciences University.