A nationally recognized air pollution researcher at the University of Washington was selected this week as the 2019 outstanding faculty mentor by graduate students in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS).
Professor Lianne Sheppard is an expert in measuring the health effects of exposure to air pollution. Sheppard, also a professor of biostatistics, has served on numerous scientific advisory panels and recently spearheaded an analysis of the weed killer glyphosate that found the widely used herbicide increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41 percent.
Her students say Sheppard’s personal integrity and principled approach to science will have a lasting influence on their lives.
Dedication to student success
In all of my years in academia (both undergrad and grad school), I have not encountered a faculty member like Lianne.
Her expertise touches every single DEOHS grad student through a required thesis proposal class. Through Lianne, students learn one of the most essential skills they could learn in graduate school: research planning and proposal writing. Few faculty members have such a wide impact.
She prioritizes weekly meetings and check-ins with her students, and these meetings are more than a formality. She takes time to provide substantive feedback to make her students stronger scientists. She challenges them to stretch themselves, and she guides them in setting goals.
She helps her students develop strong quantitative research skills, including in analysis planning and data science.
And Lianne also runs not one, but two (!) training grants that provide DEOHS students with essential financial support—another way she demonstrates her dedication to student success.
PhD student, Environmental Toxicology
Preparing students for real-world challenges
Lianne truly listens to student concerns and has made a big impact in equipping DEOHS students to succeed as researchers and as people.
She teaches a course to help students develop research skills through writing and critiquing research proposals, using it to guide students through the essential (and challenging) task of applying their skills to real-world research challenges. She makes the course relevant to students with a broad range of research interests and methodological approaches.
This year, she made time in her jam-packed schedule to work with students to support “DEOHS 101,” a fall-quarter course designed to orient incoming students to the department and the graduate student experience.
MPH student, Environmental and Occupational Health
Guided by science and integrity
From Lianne, I have learned that research should always be ethical, reproducible and guided by science every step of the way.
She encourages us to be as involved as possible in our areas of interest, regularly sharing events of interest. She has introduced me to quantitative coursework that I have really enjoyed and used in much of my research.
Her feedback on my work is always thorough, pushing me to think deeper while providing me with resources to help along the way. She goes above and beyond from what I would expect from any professor or academic adviser.
PhD student, Environmental and Occupational Hygiene