The Department of Anthropology is happy to announce that Professor Dr. Gabe Wrobel has received the 2022 Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor of the Year Award for Michigan State University. This award is presented annually and recognizes faculty who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers. This award is completely student-driven; only undergraduate student researchers can submit nominations, and the University’s Undergraduate Research Ambassadors choose the finalists. Honorees are selected with the following criteria: faculty members who demonstrate a commitment to undergraduate research, provide strong professional mentoring, and serve as role models in their field of study. Dr. Wrobel was nominated by Department of Anthropology undergraduate students Alison Weber, Collin Sauter, and James Waltermeyer.
Dr. Wrobel’s work in bioarchaeology focuses on the analysis and interpretation of skeletal remains from archaeological contexts in cave and rock shelters in Maya communities in Belize. He established the MSU Bioarchaeology Laboratory in 2012, which provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to maintain and care for skeletal collections, work with databases, understand how skeletal remains provide insights about past human lives, and even publish or present work at academic conferences. Through projects and collaborations at MSU Bioarchaeology Laboratory, Dr. Wrobel provides exemplary mentorship to undergraduate and graduate students alike, inspiring future careers in bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology, and archaeology.
One of those students is Alison Weber, who is working on her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology with a minor in Social Science Quantitative Data Analytics. Her primary interest is in Forensic Anthropology, and she is currently working in Dr. Wrobel’s lab studying how Macromorphoscopic Trait Data can be utilized from past populations. She has also had the opportunity to take a graduate level seminar with Dr. Wrobel. Weber nominated Dr. Wrobel because of the emphasis he puts on undergraduate research, which she says is “crucial to MSU producing successful and well-rounded anthropologists”. She said she also appreciates that Dr. Wrobel makes himself available to students, understands the stresses of being a student-researcher, and is especially supportive in the research design process and making dense topics digestible and understandable.
Another student is Collin Sauter, who is working on his Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and Chemistry and is interested in digital archaeology and bioarchaeology. Sauter says he nominated Dr. Wrobel for the Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award because “he is always readily available to guide me in my research, and he also helps me prepare for my academic future. I have a lot of freedom and control over my research project, but Dr. Wrobel is incredibly helpful when I need advice and guidance.” Through research and mentorship at the MSU Bioarchaeology Laboratory, Sauter has also found opportunities to present and publish his work, providing excellent preparation for a continued education and career in anthropology.
Congratulations again to Dr. Wrobel for winning the prestigious 2022 Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor of the Year Award for Michigan State University. We are proud to have such a supportive mentor and excellent researcher in the Department of Anthropology.