Tau Beta Pi Names McDonald Mentor Honoree

Knoxville, TN — Tau Beta Pi, The Engineering Honor Society, has named its 14th McDonald Mentor. The award celebrates excellence in mentoring and advising among Tau Beta Pi educators and engineers who consistently support the personal and professional development of their students and colleagues.

Martha C. Mitchell, Ph.D., Wisconsin Alpha ’89, is a professor in the department of chemical and materials engineering at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. She is the 2019 Tau Beta Pi-McDonald Mentor and will be honored on October 11, 2019, at the 114th annual Convention in Columbus, Ohio. TBP President Wayne B. Paugh, LL.M., JD, Florida Gamma ’93, will present $1,000, an engraved medallion, and pin to Dr. Mitchell. An additional $1,000 grant will be presented to the New Mexico Alpha Chapter of TBP for submitting her nomination.

Established in 2005 by Marion and Capers W. McDonald (NC G ’74) and the Association, the McDonald Mentor Award recognizes engineering educators or professionals in industry, government, or service organizations who have shown true concern for the individual, supporting an environment for developing talents, and who have earned respect and recognition for contributions to their field and to the greater community.
Dr. Mitchell’s biography follows:

Martha C. Mitchell, Ph.D., received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1996 from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. Upon completion of her Ph.D., Dr. Mitchell began her career at New Mexico State University Department of Chemical Engineering as an assistant professor. During her tenure, Dr. Mitchell was promoted to full professor, chemical engineering department Chair, and associate dean for research for the college of engineering.

In addition to her outstanding professional accomplishments, Dr. Mitchell has been a great advocate and mentor for both students and junior faculty at NMSU. Her nomination packet contained many personal accounts of how Dr. Mitchell’s mentoring has been invaluable for both students and faculty members.

From the student perspective, “Dr. Mitchell readily meets with any student to discuss her research projects/activities. She will also provide feedback on the student’s original research proposals and creation of standard operating protocols. She will also make time to meet students who need additional help whenever it is most convenient for the student. She will even meet with them on the weekend or over lunch or dinner. Dr. Mitchell challenges all of the engineering students to reach higher and to go beyond learning the basics. She has already been recognized as a stellar mentor at the university level when she received the Outstanding Mentor Award, NMSU Teaching Academy (2015) and the Robert Davis Professorship (2008-11).” Additionally, she has helped secure funding for individual undergraduate students who would otherwise drop-out due to financial constraints.

From the faculty perspective, “Dr. Mitchell has helped mentor many of the highly accomplished faculty in chemical and materials engineering as well as in other departments. She knows the power of an effective mentoring relationship and has codified it at our campus. She is the principal investigator on the mentoring component of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded program, by which the educational experiences of the Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) Scholars are enhanced through various activities that promote academic challenge, mentoring relationships, workforce preparedness, and professional excellence.

Dr. Mitchell is a person who will go above and beyond to ensure the faculty and our students are well prepared both mentally and academically to excel in the engineering field. She consistently adjusts her own teaching approach so that it’s effective in reaching all of our first-year as well as our third-year students. Many of the faculty that she mentored from over fifteen years ago still consider her their strongest advocate in the industry and a true friend.”

For her remarkable career and commitment to mentoring, we honor
Dr. Martha C. Mitchell as the 2019 Tau Beta Pi-McDonald Mentor.

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