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
“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.”