USD Chemistry Professor to Be Honored Nationally for Promoting Undergraduate Research

A University of San Diego (USD) chemistry professor who promotes undergraduate research on the national level and has conducted research with more than 100 USD students will be honored by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

Professor Mitchell Malachowski will receive the 2014 CUR Fellows Award at its national conference in June in Washington, D.C.

The award is presented each year to two CUR members who have developed nationally respected research programs involving undergraduate students. Each CUR Fellow is also awarded a CUR Student Research Fellowship to give to a deserving undergraduate at his or her respective institution. This year’s award will also go to Mark Brodl, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and the George W. Brackenridge Distinguished Professor of Biology at Trinity University.

“I am so pleased with the selection of Drs. Brodl and Malachowski as the 2014 CUR Fellows,” said CUR President Julio Rivera. “Both of their careers demonstrate that lives committed to teaching, mentoring and research can have deep impacts on students, peers and their institutions.”

Malachowski’s achievements include leading efforts to promote undergraduate research throughout the United States. On behalf of CUR, he has coordinated and run more than 40 weekend workshops at institutions across the country over the past 15 years.

With a total of $1.5 million from the National Science Foundation since 2006, he has worked with more than 400 institutions and more than 1,500 professors and administrators to develop and enhance their efforts to develop a “culture of research,” noted USD Professor of Chemistry Deborah Tahmassebi. “The impact of these workshops has been enormous. Huge changes have been documented at many institutions as a result of their successful campus-wide embedding of more undergraduate research to promote and enhance student scholarship and achievement.”

“Professor Malachowski is a truly exceptional teacher, a dedicated and inspiring mentor and a first-rate scholar,” added Tahmassebi. “He is most deserving of this award.”

During the last five years, Malachowski’s research has focused on developing metal organic frameworks, one of the fastest-growing areas of chemistry because of the potential use of these compounds for new materials and in nanotechnology. Working collaboratively with his undergraduate research students, he has made significant contributions to the field, including those recently documented in the journals Inorganic Chemistry, Chemical Communications and Inorganic Chimica Acta.

In addition to his contributions to the fields of chemistry and undergraduate research, he has also made great impacts on the lives of individual students since he began teaching at USD in 1984. He has inspired dozens of students to successful careers in chemistry. Students engaged in research with him have received in-depth exposure to advanced, extramurally-funded projects focused on preparing materials mimicking biological systems and compounds, resulting in an impressive 21 publications with 40 student co-authors.

Eddie Merino, the son of immigrants from Mexico, who is now a professor of chemistry himself, recently recalled how Malachowski helped him succeed. “During the initial years of my undergraduate studies, I was lost and unsure if college was for me,” he said. “Being at a university was especially difficult for me as I was brought up in a low-income neighborhood with few, if any, college-educated role models. Mitch taught me how to function in a university environment through an intensive professional development effort. It is through his efforts and concerns that now, as a professor at the University of Cincinnati, I am able to navigate the bureaucracy of such a large university for both myself and the students I mentor.”

“I’m honored to receive this award,” Malachowski said. “I have tried to lead a balanced professional career with equal parts teaching, research, service to USD and service to the broader community. In doing so, I have been driven by the need to pass on to my students what was given to me some 35 years ago. I like to think that someday in some way, they too, will pass along these gifts to another generation: the gifts of caring, teaching, mentoring and inspiring. As a professor, I like to think, as Newton said, we stand on the shoulders of giants.”

A native of Rhode Island, Malachowski earned his bachelor’s degree in organic chemistry from Rhode Island College and his PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.









About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.