Washington State University has appointed Jeremy J. Lessmann, chemistry associate professor, as the director of the Office of Undergraduate Research (UR).
The UR is part of the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and Pullman Chancellor.
“Jeremy brings to his new position a wealth of knowledge about, and experience with, the office and undergraduate research, in general, and we are excited to have him on board as its leader,” said Mary Sánchez Lanier, assistant vice provost.
“He has been associated with the program for many years and is very familiar with its goals, events, and initiatives. He also has years of experience as a student advisor and mentor, which will fortify his effectiveness as the program director.”
Lessmann said, “I am excited to serve all WSU students and the university in this new capacity, and I look forward to helping to advance students’ high-impact learning activities associated with research, scholarship, and creative activities across all majors.”
“I’m also looking forward to building new relationships and sharing information with faculty and staff around the topic of undergraduate research. It is important for all of us to work collaboratively to advance students’ experiences and success at WSU.”
In addition to his half-time UR leadership duties, Lessmann will continue to teach chemistry classes and advise chemistry students for the College of Arts and Sciences.
At WSU since 1999, Lessmann first worked as a lecturer and postdoctoral research associate to James O. Schenk in the Dept. of Chemistry, and later with Emeritus Professor Ken Nash. In the School of Molecular Biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Lessmann worked with Michael Konkel and Lisa Gloss, his wife and current dean of the WSU Graduate School.
Lessmann’s own research interests include novel spectroscopic techniques in inorganic and bioinorganic spectroscopy, and chromatographic characterization and quantification of small molecule metabolites of lactobacillus strains in the quest to reduce foodborne illness, especially from poultry.
He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, the state’s land-grant institution headquartered in University Park, and his B.A. in chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.
Since it was established in 2006, the Office of Undergraduate Research has embraced a broad set of responsibilities, such as hosting the annual, university-wide Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) and helping support summer research programs in STEM fields. The UR also offers top student researchers roles as peer mentors where they help other students who are exploring how to get started and find a mentor; delivers workshops to students and faculty; offers the UNIV 199 research skills course; and provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships so student researchers can concentrate on their investigations rather than working at other jobs.
According to the National Survey for Student Engagement in 2019, 25% of WSU seniors reported they had worked with a faculty member on a research project.
Appointment aligns with SURCA registration, award applications
Lessmann joins the UR as students are submitting abstracts to apply to present a poster at SURCA 2022 on March 28. Faculty, postdoctoral students, and other experts are encouraged to register as judges for the popular annual event. Concurrently, undergraduates are applying online for up to seven types of undergraduate research awards.