Past Recipients of the J. Bruce Jackson, MD Award


The winners of the 2016 Jackson Award winners are Lisa Nielson, Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow, and Rekha Srinivasan, Chemistry. A student nominator for Professor Nielson said that, "The very fact that I can so comfortably speak with and ask for advice from Dr. Nielson is something that truly makes her a mentor. She doesn't just give me career tips or tell me some classes I can take. Dr. Nielson takes the time to truly learn about my personal circumstances and then makes every effort to help me in any way she can." Professor Srinivasan's nominator said that, "She has helped me build confidence and independence, skills that I know will serve me well as I transition into the professional world next year. I am grateful for how she has shown me what real interactions are like, challenging me to be more deliberate in making decisions that will have significant and positive impacts on my own life."

Both were honored at the 2016 Commencement exercises on May 15 during the Undergraduate Diploma Ceremony.

2016 Jackson Award winners


The winners of the 2015 Jackson Award winners are Paul Barnhart, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Gillian Weiss, History. A student nominator for Professor Barnhart said that, "Doctor Barnhart has been an invaluable resource in my graduate school application and decision making process. He was always there to answer any question I had (and there were many). He knew my strengths and interests, and he shared his knowledge and experience gained by working in the aerospace industry, in helping me choose colleges with programs tailor made for me." Professor Weiss' nominator reflected that, "Great mentors don't just belong to the people who do great things. They are also there for the people who stumble across the finish line. Helping me to finish and believing in my intelligence and capabilities despite evidence to the contrary is what great mentors do."

Both were honored at the 2015 Commencement exercises on May 17 during the Undergraduate Diploma Ceremony.

2015 Jackson award winners


The winners of the 2014 Jackson Award winners are Deepak Sarma, Religious Studies, and Yoram Daon, Modern Languages and Literature. A student nominator for Professor Sarma said that, "Professor Sarma has been one of the most influential mentors of my undergraduate career. Over the past four years, he has been a teacher, advisor, confidante, intellectual partner, and friend to me, and just as his classes have inspired me academically, his personal guidance and support have also carried me through some of the biggest decisions and toughest periods of my life." Prof. Daon's nomination included the comment, "Mentors like Yoram truly illustrate the distinction between a mentor and advisor: an advisor last a semester, but a mentor continues to be there for his students and lasts a lifetime," and that, "Being there for his students through various personal, academic, and professional elements is what makes Yoram truly stand out as a shining example of a 5-star Case Western Reserve University mentor."

Both were honored at the 2014 Commencement exercises on May 18 during the Undergraduate Diploma Ceremony.

2014 Jackson award winners


The winners of the 2013 Jackson Award winners are Ron Hickman, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, and R. Mohan Sankaran, Chemical Engineering. A student nominator for Prof. Hickman said, "Overall, Ron promotes a relationship built upon trust and support that makes him the ideal mentor. His advice and support have opened up doors for me that I would have never discovered without his guidance." Prof. Sankaran's nomination included the comment, "I have been so blessed to have worked with Dr. Sankaran. He has guided me to be the researcher I am today, and prepared me for my future endeavors by creating unique experiences, teaching me one on one, and leading by example."

Ron Hickman R Mohan Sankaran


The 2012 Jackson Award winners winners were Matthew Englander, Physical Education and Athletics,and Eugene Matthews, Facilities Services. A story about the impact Matt Englander's bout with cancer has had on his coaching and mentoring was featured on local television.

Matt Englander Eugene Matthews


James Bader, Biology, and Erin Lake, Physical Education and Athletics were the 2011 Jackson Award winners.

2011 Jackson award winners


The winners of the 2010 J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring were William Deal and Renée M. Sentilles. Deal is the Severance Professor of the History of Religion in the Department of Religious Studies. Sentilles is an associate professor in the Department of History.

"He challenges me to be a better scholar and a better person," a student wrote. "Professor Deal inspired me to major in religious studies because of the opportunities available to change peoples' view of the world."

Although Sentilles teaches about the past, she also has helped many of her current students. "Professor Sentilles completely changed my future," a nominator wrote. "When I'm a professor I want to be a teacher, mentor and friend like her."

William Deal and Renee M. Sentilles


The winners of the 2009 J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring were Mitchell Drumm and Mark Smith. Drumm is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and assistant professor in the Department of Genetics. Smith is a professor in the Department of Pathology and director of research for the University Memory and Aging Center.

A student wrote of Mitchell Drumm, "Rather than boast his expertise, he offers his passion for science and willingness to teach. I hope that one day I can be the scientist, the mentor, and the person that he is and that I can help him and others as much as he has helped me."

Mark Smith's nominator wrote, "Dr. Smith seems to effortlessly walk the fine line between providing strong guidance and allowing room for independent discovery... Through Dr. Smith's guidance, I discovered my passion for research, was able to pursue that interest with success, and ultimately decided that I wanted to pursue a career as a physician-investigator."

Mitchell Drumm and Mark A. Smith

In Memory of Mark Smith

On February 14, 2011, a memorial service was held for Mark A. Smith, professor of pathology and renowned Alzheimer's researcher. Read more


The winners of the 2008 J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring were Anne Helmreich, associate professor, art and art history, and Stacy L. Williams, assistant professor, communication sciences.

"Anne Helmreich is the single most influential person in my undergraduate career," said one nominator. "She deserves the Jackson Award for simultaneously challenging me to meet high expectations, facilitating my lofty academic and personal goals, supporting me in achieving those goals and consistently being available to listen and give advice as a good friend."

Williams strives to create a learning environment that incorporates practice-based approaches with routine, everyday activities that lead to successful carry-over of clinical skills and knowledge. One nominator said, "She helped me learn how to take my well-founded ideas and turn them into reality. She has been extremely patient with me, as some areas have taken me longer to learn than others."

Anne Helmreich and Stacy L. Williams


The winners of the 2007 J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring were Daniel S. Akerib, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Creg Jantz, assistant athletic director and sports information director at Case Western Reserve.

An excerpt from the nomination for Prof. Akerib reads, "Silly as it may sound, the most significant thing Dan Akerib has done for me is he has made me think... Professor Akerib has a way of listening to your questions and ideas and making you see what makes sense in them, and once the idea is a good one, he will go the extra mile to make that idea a reality."

Creg Jantz has been described as cordial, positive, and upbeat about his interactions with students. One nominator wrote, "I feel like I can tell Creg just about anything, or talk to him just about anything. I consider him to be a mentor and a friend. If I need advice, I know I can go to him... I'm always highly motivated to do a good job for him because I know he would do the same for me."

Daniel Akerib and Creg Jantz


The winners of the 2006 J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring were Beverly Saylor, associate professor of geological sciences, and Ignacio Ocasio, the Teagle Professor of Chemistry.

Professor Saylor has been recognized for her inspiration, both scientifically and personally. "Her passion and dedication to both work and family contradicted all the discouraging things I had been told about women being able to balance the two," her nominator wrote. "Right from the start, she made it clear that I was an important part of the work."

Ignacio Ocasio was better known to the campus community as "Doc Oc." Ocasio died suddenly in May, 2005, at the age of 53. He was remembered for his warm personality and selfless acts. Ocasio was awarded the Jackson honor posthumously. The university created a blog in his memory, where students posted comments about his legacy.

Beverly Saylor and Doc Oc


Heath Demaree joined the university faculty in 2001, and has helped countless students with independent study projects, coursework, and internships. As one student explained: "Dr. D.s passion for what he does is contagious."

He always has a way to push his students one step further. He wants us to understand what is factual, but then to consider what things mean in the bigger picture. He is constantly encouraging me to see the value in what I am doing."

Heath Demaree


In a 2004 interview, Judith Oster was asked about her work as a professor. "The real satisfaction comes from feeling as though youve helped a person," she said.

"Encouraging them when they've written something really good, for example. I get a lot of pleasure from the classes, from student writing, and the conversations with students that I feel have made a difference."

Judith Oster


Arlet Wright is the first recipient of the Jackson Award. "There is so much I can say about Arlet Wright because she has made a long lasting impression on my life," wrote ReShaundra Suggs, a senior who nominated Wright for the award.

"She has motivated me in times of struggle and challenge, she has been a shoulder to lean on in times that I needed comfort, but most of all she has always been there to offer great words of wisdom no matter what I was facing in my life."

Arlet Wright