Outstanding Honors Thesis Mentor Award

The objective of the Outstanding Honors Thesis Mentor Award is to recognize faculty, staff, and other eligible individuals of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences who have made notable and outstanding contributions to undergraduate honors students through research and creative collaborations. The contributions can be through the activities related to serving as an honors thesis mentor. Such activities may include guiding mentees through domestic or international thesis or creative project development, securing project funding, assisting mentees with publishing work or attending conferences, or other activities or developments that help honors students and the Bumpers Honors Program achieve its program mission. The awardee will receive a monetary award of $2,500, and a personalized plaque and recognition at the Agricultural Awards Ceremony. The monetary award is meant to be used to support awardees’ future research and creative activities with students enrolled in the Bumpers College Honors Program.   

Nominations for 2023 have been extended to November 3rd, 2023.


Submit a Nomination

2022 Award Winner - Dr. Aubree Hawley

Aubree HawleyDr. Aubree Hawley, a former instructor in the School of Human Environmental Sciences was our 2022 award recipient. Dr. Hawley completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics at the University of Arkansas in 2016, and completed her Ph.D. in Food Science at the University of Arkansas in 2020.  

One of the quotes from Dr. Hawley's nomination packet noted: "My mentor has been instrumental in my success. She had guided me in research, assisted me in the writing process, and been patient with me along the way. Dr. Hawley is always willing to take the extra step such as sending me articles that relate to my research or taking the time to answer my questions. In addition, she goes above and beyond by making sure to do her own research to answer my questions competently. Her schedule is already so busy, but she always makes time to be there when needed. I have truly learned so much through this experience, and it would not be possible without the assistance of Dr. Hawley."

2021 Award Winner - Dr. Kathi Jogan 

Kathi Jogan

Dr. Kathi Jogan is an instructor in the Department of Animal Science with a focus on equine science and study abroad programs. Dr. Jogan has taught at the university level for 20 years. She is an innovative and engaging professor, focusing on service-learning community applications and study abroad beyond her classroom pursuits.  Dr. Jogan has been recognized with multiple College and University awards, including recently being awarded the Jack G. Justice Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Jogan has presented over 40 oral and 20 poster presentations nationally and internationally, been an invited speaker, and authored many peer-reviewed articles.

One student shared: "Dr. Jogan’s substantial influence on my journey as an undergraduate researcher began when when I took her class on EAAT. Her passionate leadership in the EAAT course inspired me to pursue research in the field of EAAT. Dr. Jogan was my main source of support and encouragement throughout the process, and she went above and beyond to push me to do my best," one recommender commented. "When COVID-19 prevented data collection for my project in 2020, I seriously considered giving up on research. However, Dr. Jogan assured me that I was more than capable of creating a new project and pushed me onward." 

2021 Award Winner - Dr. Adnan Ali Khalaf Alrubaye


  • Dr. Adnan Ali Khalaf Alrubaye is an assistant professor and associate director of graduate program in cell and molecular biology, department of poultry science. Dr. Alrubaye has earned many awards for his work with students, including the University of Arkansas Imhoff Award for outstanding teaching and student mentorship, the Fulbright College Master Teacher Award, the Collis Geren Award for excellence in graduate and international education, and the Hoyt H. Purvis Award for Service in International Education. During the COVID-19 pandemic, research became considerably harder for many students and academics. Dr. Alrubaye was praised for his level of engagement and support during a challenging time."

On Dr. Alrubaye's teaching and research expertise: "I enjoyed his enthusiasm for [microbiology], especially during the pandemic. However, his connection between his students is what caught my attention while we were still in-person. He would go down the rows and ask people their names, majors, etc. until he knew your face and name; he learned even more when he held office hours, which he constantly encouraged," one student commented. "...Furthermore, his research gives me a lot of room for practicing skills needed for a career in biomedical research/medicine. Considering the degree I seek is one that combines both clinical and research training, his background in medicinal microbiology helps contextualize techniques in a larger perspective."

2020 Award Winner - Ms. Donia Timby

Donia Timby

Donia Timby has come full circle since stepping foot on campus in 1996. She earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the U of A in 1999 and 2004, respectively. Timby was master teacher at the U of A Nursery School and program project specialist for the Child Assessment team of Childhood Services at Arkansas State University prior to landing her dream job in Fayetteville in August 2017. Timby now serves as an instructor with the human development and family sciences, and birth through kindergarten programs in the School of Human Environmental Sciences. She has enjoyed serving on committees and teaching classes, but her most rewarding work is partnering with and mentoring students during class projects and honors projects. One example involved assisting an honors student in transforming a garden space into a healing garden at the Jean Tyson Child Development Study Center. Timby is currently involved in another honors student project at the JTCDSC, working to develop a culturally competent library space available to children, families, students and staff. 



2019 Award Winner - Dr. Jill Rucker

Headshot image of Dr. Jill Rucker looking into the camera smiling

Dr. K. Jill Rucker, associate professor of agricultural communications and leadership in the Department Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology, is in her seventh year as a member of Bumpers College’s faculty is the 2019 recipient of the Outstanding Honors Faculty Mentor Award and was recognized at the spring 2020 faculty awards luncheon. Rucker has mentored students who have become Truman Scholars (Sam Harris, Victoria Maloch), a Marshall Scholar (Maloch), U of A Seniors of Significance (Harris, Maloch, Madelaine Giebler, Brooke Clanton, Sydney Simmons, Jennifer McArthur Diehl) and earned the University of Arkansas Senior Honor Citation (Harris and Maloch), which recognizes the top male and female graduate of the university. She has served as the honors thesis advisor for one graduate with six more in progress, and serves as advisor to two Registered Student Organizations on campus – Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, and Collegiate 4-H, and outgoing faculty advisor for the college's Sigma Alpha Sorority - Iota Chapter. 

One student wrote in their nomination, "I have never met a more caring and dedicated instructor. Dr. Rucker will always help with any of my concerns, and I feel confident that she positively influences not just my life but the lives of everyone she meets. She is not only attentive to her students' classroom needs, but Dr. Rucker is genuine in her aspirations to make everyone around her happier and less stressed. She makes the classroom learning environment fun to be in." We are thrilled to congratulate Dr. Rucker for the impact she makes as a faculty member and honors advisor in Bumpers College!

2018 Award Winner - Dr. Jason Apple

2018 Outstanding Faculty Award winner, Jason Apple, standing with his student mentees Darynne Dahlem and Mersady Redding, and Dr. Charles Rosencrans.  student Dr. Jason Apple is the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Honors Faculty Mentor Award and was recognized at the fall 2018 Faculty Reception. Dr. Apple has mentored numerous students in the Animal Science department. Many students that he does not directly mentor still claim Dr. Apple as the professor who has had the largest impact on their college career! Awardees are selected by our Honors Student Board via nominations from honors students enrolled in the Bumpers College Honors Program.

One student wrote, “Dr. Apple truly cares about his students because he wants to see us succeed and reach our full potential. From the day I walked into his office as a freshman to now, I always leave feeling uplifted. He encourages me to believe in myself and what I am capable of, which is one of the most important gifts that a professor can give to a student.” In addition to an engraved plaque, Dr. Apple received $1,500 to advance his research. He chose to use the funds to help students with their individual thesis research efforts. This action speaks to his character and ultimately to why he deserved this year’s award. On behalf of the Bumpers College Honors Program, we congratulate Dr. Jason Apple for his continuous service to our honors students and our college.

2017 Award Winner - Ms. Stephanie Hubert

Stephanie HubertMs. Stephanie Hubert is the 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Honors Faculty Mentor Award and will be recognized at the Fall Faculty Reception. Ms. Hubert has mentored three students to completion in the Apparel Merchandising and Product Development (AMPD) area and her students speak highly of her. Awardees are selected by our Honors Student Board via nominations from honors students enrolled in the Bumpers College Honors Program.

One student wrote, “Ms. Hubert is an incredible mentor, professor, and advisor. She is truly everything that a professor should be; she is always working long hours for the benefit of her students. In my time at the university, I have never had a professor like Ms. Hubert, and she is truly the reason why I love the University of Arkansas. She takes so much of her own time to improve education and opportunities for her students, and I am incredibly thankful for having the chance to learn from her. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the ‘Outstanding Mentor’ award.” Another student wrote, “Ms. Hubert was the only faculty member who could convince me to join the Honors program in the first place because she saw my potential and always encouraged me and pushed me to fulfill it. She was integral to the ideation of my honors project and fleshing it out to completion. Ms. Hubert is the reason I am graduating with honors and an amazing research experience.” Ms. Hubert graduated her first Honors students in spring 2017. Her receiving this award speaks volumes about her dedication to students and the honors program. Besides a plaque award, Ms. Hubert will receive $1,500 to assist her with her Honors Program efforts. On behalf of the Bumpers College, we congratulate Ms. Stephanie Hubert for her service to our Honors students and our College.

2016 Award Winner - Dr. Jennie Popp

Dr. Jennie PoppDr. Jennie Popp was the inaugural recipient of the Outstanding Honors Mentor Award in fall 2016. Dr. Popp served as a member of the Bumpers College Honors Committee for nearly 10 years. She has directed many honors student theses on topics ranging from assessing women’s roles in Arkansas agriculture to composting food waste from campus residence halls to optimizing school garden production in Belize. Many of her students have won awards for their honors research on campus and at the regional and national level. Dr. Popp has participated in honors committees within Bumpers College and Fulbright College and until recently, served as “first mentor” to all incoming honors students majoring in agribusiness. She received an Honors College Distinguished Faculty Award in 2011. She now serves as the Interim Associate Dean of the Honors College. Besides a plaque award, Dr. Popp will receive $1,500 to assist her with her Honors Program efforts. On behalf of the Bumpers College, we congratulations Dr. Jennie Popp for her continued service to our Honors students and our College.