Lamar taps Lei for faculty mentor prize

Xiangyang "Sunny" Lei is an associate professor of organic chemistry and interim chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. | Contributed photo

For her integral part in sustaining Lamar University’s science departments and students, Xiangyang "Sunny" Lei was recently presented with the 2016 Faculty Mentor Award by the institution’s Office of Undergraduate Research.

As associate professor of organic chemistry and interim chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, Lei has demonstrated a high level of commitment to her students, supporting them with research grants and encouraging them to explore various avenues to success.

“Since I started my position here as an assistant professor, I have had undergraduate students involved in my research each year,” Lei said. “After research, my students might be able to … determine what to focus on, which skills to hone, and whether they’d like to continue their studies with a master’s degree or Ph.D., or enter a career. They will also be more competitive in their future jobs with research experience.”

Having earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from Texas Christian University in 2006, Lei became an instructor at Lamar in 2008 and subsequently an assistant professor the following year. With numerous publications, projects and proposals, she has mentored 16 undergrads since 2010. Additionally, she said she learns from her students as well, letting their challenges guide her teaching.

“Dr. Lei has a natural ability to attract students from her class and other sources to her research,” Paul Bernazzani, interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “She has a long and fruitful history in undergraduate research here at Lamar, and she is someone we are very glad to have.”

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