Fairbanks honored with Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Media Contact: Jami Mattox | Agricultural Communications Services | 405-744-8061 | email@example.com
Sue Fairbanks, associate professor in the OSU Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, was recognized with the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring at the Ferguson College of Agriculture Scholarship and Awards Banquet in March.
Fairbanks joined the department in 2013 and currently advises 35 undergraduate students. She is the primary advisor for natural resource ecology and management undergraduates in wildlife biology and pre-vet options.
Fairbanks teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including Principles of Wildlife Ecology and Management, Wildlife Management for Game Species, Fish and Wildlife Population Biology, and Applied Wildlife Behavior. She is the faculty advisor for numerous undergraduate honors thesis projects, freshmen research scholars and graduate students. She has also served as an advisor for the OSU student chapter of the Wildlife Society.
“Dr. Fairbanks helps her students develop sound plans related to course scheduling and developing career plans, but she is also a ‘home away from home’ for many of her students,” said Jim Ansley, professor and department head of natural resource ecology and management. “They develop a trust and confidence in her to help them through a wide range of emotions and challenges they experience.”
Fairbanks is an advocate of undergraduate research. Many of her undergraduate advisees have received research-based scholarships, including Freshman Research Scholars and the Wentz scholarship. She employs student in her lab on the OSU campus and encourages collaboration between undergraduate and graduate student research.
“I particularly enjoy mentoring undergraduates in their own independent research projects,” she said. “I conducted and published undergraduate research when I was in college, and I believe it was instrumental in developing my career interests and played a positive role in acquiring jobs even after earning my higher degrees.”
Fairbanks said she views her role as an advisor as not only assisting undergraduates in navigating their academic programs, but also helping them find their passion through education.
“I encourage and work with students to get them into internships, temporary jobs or extracurricular experiences that will help them achieve their career goals,” Fairbanks said. “What I enjoy most about advising undergraduate students is reigniting their interest in their studies by getting them involved in current opportunities to engage as professionals and celebrating their successes.”
Gaining students’ trust and preparing them for a future career is at the heart of Fairbanks’ mission as an educator.
“Dr. Fairbanks is highly valued by her advisees and students in class because she truly cares about their personal and professional goals,” said Cynda Clary, associate dean of academic programs. “She provides valuable advice and guidance to students, and she does so with compassion.”
The Ferguson College of Agriculture emphasizes hands-on learning and prioritizes a well-rounded student experience. The college’s award-winning faculty members are dedicated to developing students and are passionate about adding value to the total educational experience. With a diverse set of majors and study options, plus more than 60 student organizations, the college is committed to expanding minds and inspiring purpose. Learn more at agriculture.okstate.edu.