Hartsville, SC - The South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) honored Dr. Julian Smith III with its 2019 Distinguished Research Leadership Award during the School’s 30th annual Research Colloquium Saturday, February 9, in Hartsville.
During the Colloquium gathering, 129 students presented their findings from scientific research conducted during their participation in the 2018 Summer Program for Research Interns (SPRI) and its international counterpart, the Research Experience Scholars Program (RESP).
Dr. Smith is Professor of Biology and Director of the Winthrop Microscope Facility at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. His research focuses on understanding the microscopic animals that live between grains of sand, particularly free living flatworms. He applies microscopy and molecular methods to learn about the evolution of these organisms and their food webs in response to human beachfront development and nourishment. His research and mentorship is supported by the SC Idea Network for Biomedical Research Excellence.
Dr. Smith earned his bachelor of science in chemistry from Wake Forest University and his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of North Carolina. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Maine and joined the faculty at Winthrop University in 1989. He is a member of the American Microscopical Society, Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, South Carolina Academy of Science, and the International Association of Meiobenthologists. Among other honors, Dr. Smith received the South Carolina Junior Academy of Science Service Award in 1996.
Dr. Smith has mentored GSSM research students for more than 25 years. In his mentorship, he balances guidance of young scientists with challenging them to take the initiative in developing their experiments and understanding of the scientific method.
“Dr. Smith excels at challenging and supporting students as they engage in the process of scientific discovery,” said Josh Witten, Director of Research & Inquiry at GSSM. “He has provided extraordinary mentorship to GSSM students from the earliest years of our student research program to today.”
SPRI and RESP are Capstone programs exclusive to GSSM. For six weeks between their junior and senior years, students conduct research at university or corporate research and development facilities under the mentorship of professional scientists, entrepreneurs or engineers, during which they deepen their understanding of the nature and process of research and learn the value research plays in our society. During their senior year, the students work with GSSM research advisors to prepare formal research papers and oral research presentations. The culmination of summer research is Colloquium, during which students formally present their projects to their peers, mentors, families and GSSM faculty and friends.