June 19, 2019
By Gretchen Phillips
Jessica Malisch, assistant professor of biology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, was recently awarded the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Biology Division Mentor Award (Early Career). According to information provided by the CUR biology division, this national award honors biology mentors for their long-term efforts in supervising undergraduate research students. The award committee recognized Malisch’s extraordinary accomplishments and her dedication to engaging undergraduate students in the creation of new biological knowledge, both in the classroom and in her research group. The committee acknowledged Malisch for her strong research focus in the classroom, stating that she incorporates real research experiences starting in her first-year seminar right through mentoring students in the capstone research experience, the St. Mary’s Project. One of Malisch’s students described her to the award committee as a “passionate, dedicated, and motivated professor whose guidance has allowed many students to grow as scientists and intellectuals.” Malisch conducts research on avian endocrinology and metabolism, with projects focused on stress responses in white-crowned sparrows near Yosemite National Park and in white-throated sparrows and juncos in southern Maryland. Undergraduate students work closely with her at both sites. Malisch has co-authored seven papers with students, prepared eight presentations at national conferences with students as lead authors, and received numerous student research awards.