Chemistry professor Robert Bergman has received a UC Berkeley Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award for Senior Faculty.
The Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Awards, established in 2007, recognize Berkeley faculty for their vital role in mentoring graduate students and training future faculty. The awards are funded by the Graduate Division and seek to foster the qualities of excellence in mentorship that are so important to the Berkeley community.
Bergman is an exceptional mentor to graduate students. In addition to his many other accomplishments, he has guided about 270 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows through the rigors of their academic programs and he continues to provide advice and support throughout their lives.
Many of Bergman's students and postdocs have gone on to distinguished careers in academia and industry. A frequent comment from his former graduate students is that he is deeply engaged with every student, provides an environment that allows each to flourish, and guides everyone to their full potential.
Bergman is an inspiration to his students not only as a mentor who pursues excellence in research but also as a citizen whose concern for broader societal issues led him to participate in the establishment of the campus Green Chemistry initiative. His enthusiasm for teaching and outreach led him to work with the local non-profit organization Community Resources for Science (CRS) to establish the Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) program, which currently engages more than 400 graduate students and other scientists in bringing science activities to classrooms in local schools.
Says Bergman, “I have received more recognition than I deserve for the research achievements of my laboratory, but I have always felt that the people who have come out of my group are the most important contributions of my career. I am immensely gratified that, looking back on the time they spent in my lab, my coworkers have felt satisfied enough about their interactions with me to support my nomination for this award. It tells me they believe the struggle toward a Ph.D., and to successful careers beyond that, had something important to do with the success of our close relationship. They have evolved from being my students to becoming some of my best friends. It is hard to think of a better reward than that.”