Graduate Mentor of the Year Award

The Outstanding Graduate Mentor of the Year recognizes faculty who have a record of excellence in graduate student mentorship. They are effective advisors who facilitate degree completion, model sound scholarship and ethical behavior, provide emotional support, extend constructive criticism, involve students in publishing and other professional activities, and prepare students for their careers after they have completed their degrees.

This award is presented at the Faculty Awards Ceremony each spring.


2023 Outstanding Graduate Mentor of the Year Award Recipient: Dr. Irina A. Polejaeva

Irina Polejaeva Outstanding Graduate Mentor of the Year

Dr. Polejaeva was selected for the Outstanding Graduate Mentor of the Year Award due to her reputation of having an unrelenting commitment to elevate graduate students and their research.

Since arriving at USU in 2011, Dr. Polejaeva has served as a major professor for three students who have graduated (one MS, two PhD), serves five students currently (one MS, four PhD), and has served on 13 other graduate committees.

Dr. Polejaeva’s passion for her own research is contagious and passes to her mentees. Many of her mentees have gone on to win awards at student competitions including multiple rewards at the International Embryo Technology Society.

She has authored 66 peer-reviewed publications with her mentees (26 manuscripts, 40 abstracts), and her students have contributed to 22 invited oral presentations and guest lectures and 45 conference presentations.

Her research activities are focused on 1. the production of transgenic animals using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) for both biomedical and agricultural applications, 2. genome editing to enhance livestock production traits and disease resistance and 3. improving the efficiency of SCNT.

She has also mentored other student trainees, including eight students through research collaborations, five veterinary research interns, and numerous other undergraduate and high school students.

2023 Graduate Mentors of the Year