Congratulations to Dr. Blanka Sharma, an assistant professor in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, who was selected as an Outstanding Faculty Member by the UF Graduate Student Council (GSC). The Outstanding Faculty Mentor Teaching Award is presented to a full-time faculty member who has excelled at mentoring students, especially in scholarly research, at the undergraduate and/or graduate level.
Sharma’s letter of nomination and support states she continuously demonstrates compassion and sincerity to her students while still pushing them to achieve progress in the lab. She fosters creativity in her students by encouraging them to pursue their own plans and ideas for their research.
As a professor, Sharma has been developing a unique clinical immersion course that provides an opportunity for students to gain in-depth exposure to clinical environments that biomedical researchers normally would lack. In her course, students develop solutions to real clinical problems while working closely with clinicians. In addition to dedicated weekly meetings, Sharma strives to give teaching assistants more experience than just grading papers. They are given opportunities to develop and present lessons and provide feedback in best teaching practices.
Sharma’s research focuses on developing therapies for arthritis and cancer through nanotechnology, biomaterials, tissue engineering and stem cells. Sharma was recognized by the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative Young Investigator Program and featured as “20 under 40” outstanding young faculty by the American Society for Engineering Education Prism Magazine.
The GSC serves as a liaison between University of Florida graduate students, the UF administration and UF Student Government. Funded by UF Student Government and, in part, by the UF Graduate School, the GSC is a voice for graduate student needs, concerns and ideas, and provides a number of services to graduate students. The GSC awards ceremony will take place on April 12, 2016 at McCarty Hall.
Congratulations, Dr. Sharma!