Newswise — C. Brannon Andersen, professor and chair in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Furman University and adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University, will receive the 2017 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award from the Geosciences Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). Each year, the division’s award recognizes an individual who serves as a role model for innovative student-faculty mentoring relationships and dynamic oversight of undergraduate research. The award will be formally presented in late October at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Seattle.

Andersen, the seventh awardee, embodies long-standing excellence in and commitment to teaching through research by embedding research in the curriculum. Devoted to providing extensive opportunities for students, Andersen has mentored nearly 300 undergraduates in research experiences over 23 years, viewing the student experience as central in learning. As colleagues note, he "embodies the ideal for undergraduate research” and “is motivated to teach through his research.”

Over the years, Andersen moved from geochemistry into watershed studies, biogeochemistry, and sustainability. He has received more than $2 million in grant funding to support undergraduate research from the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, and private foundations. Particularly known for his collaborations across disciplines and work with students from a variety of majors, he has cultivated campus, regional, national, and international partnerships. From developing first-year student programs at Furman University to taking students to Croatia on his Fulbright Scholar year, Andersen seeks connections that will provide unique opportunities for his students. For more than a decade, he helped lead the River Basin Research Initiative Research Experience for Undergraduates in Greenville, South Carolina, as more than 100 U.S. and international students studied rural and urban watershed interaction. Under his guidance, more than 100 students have coauthored meeting presentations, and 11 have coauthored peer-reviewed publications. As one former student notes, Andersen “is the single most important influence in my career … he could see the potential for me to be successful [when] I certainly did not see it in myself at the time.”

Andersen earned his BS in geology from Texas A&M University, his MS in geology from Miami University of Ohio, and his PhD in geology from Syracuse University. He serves as associate editor for the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Geosciences.