2018 Nancy Mergler Undergraduate Research Mentor awards given to Dr. Sam Huskey and Dr. Chung-Hao Lee

The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to name Dr. Samuel J. Huskey, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics and Letters, and Dr. Chung-Hao Lee, Assistant Professor in the school of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, as a co-awardees for the Nancy Mergler Faculty Mentor Award for Undergraduate Research for 2017-18.

Dr. Sam Huskey is currently the chair of the Department of Classics and Letters, an alumnus of OU (BA 1994) and the University of Iowa (PhD 2002). Dr. Huskey's interests recently led to two publications on a 15th-century manuscript of Lucan's De bello civili. In one of them, he used digital image enhancement and manipulation to uncover the deleted text of the colophon. In the other, he published his transcription of portions of the manuscript's marginalia and scholia that had never before appeared in print. He is also collaborating with my colleague Jason Houston on a translation of Boccaccio's minor Latin works for Harvard University Press' I Tatti Renaissance Library.

Dr. Huskey is an early supporter of the Office of Undergraduate Research, wishing to include students in Classics and Letters in this important educational practice. Since beginning the Digital Latin Library project, he has endeavored to support undergraduates as research assistants in this critical work. Two years ago, he brought a brand-new OU student into the project. Through his support and mentoring, this student is excelling, has presented at several important conferences, and was recently selected for a prestigious National Endowment for Humanities sponsored institute as the only undergraduate participant. His nomination from students included these statements:

 I come from a technical background, and my work for the Digital Latin Library is mostly computer programming. However, Dr. Huskey appreciates and fosters my love of Latin by challenging me to think beyond Python scripts and XML parsing.

He has given me opportunities to work directly with scholars at other institutions. For example, Dr. Huskey had me write a set of guidelines which are now being used by undergrads working under one of his colleagues at Princeton.

Instead of criticizing me when I misunderstood requirements, he praised my ingenuity and helped find an application for my first attempt.


Dr. Chung-Hao Lee is an Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering, with his research centered around soft tissue biomechanics and biomaterials design (http://ou.edu/coe/ame/bbdl/) He is also an affiliated faculty member in the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology (IBEST). Dr. Lee earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (major in structural & computational mechanics) from UCLA in 2011. Before he joined OU in Fall 2016, Dr. Lee has been an ICES/AHA postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin since 2012.

As he nears the end of his second year at OU, Dr. Lee is already an outstanding undergraduate research mentor. Dr. Lee is currently mentoring 20 undergraduate students from various science and engineering disciplines, including four students further pursuing accelerated BS/MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering. He provides continuous supports and guidance to students for pursuing projects of their own or through Mechanical Engineering Senior Capstone Design within the context of his laboratory's research. Dr. Lee has also worked closely with his students to secure research funding generously sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research (Mentored Research Fellowship), OK-LSAMP Program, and the Honors College (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, Honors Research Assistant Program, the First Year Research Experience, and the Honors Engineering Research Experience Program).

Besides educating his students on cutting-edge biomedical research, Dr. Lee also strives to encourage his students to disseminate research findings at local and national meetings, including the 2018 National Conference for Undergraduate Research (4 podium and 2 poster presentations), AIAA/ASME Oklahoma Symposium, OU-OUHSC Biomedical Engineering Symposium, and OU Curiosity to Creativity Symposium. More recently, one of his undergraduate students, Mr. Devin Laurence, was selected as an OU representative to the 2018 OK-EPSCoR Research Day at the Capitol and won the Grand Prize among 23 undergraduate student researchers (http://www.ou.edu/publicaffairs/archives/2018/april/ou-engineering-senio...), which is a big recognition of our efforts to promote the undergraduate research activities at OU.

His nominations by students include:

Dr. Lee is always pushing me to attend seminars, apply to conferences, and overall be more immersed in the events OU provides for the self-improvement of their students. Dr. Lee has even tied in socialization and professional development to the lab group meetings to always be providing more opportunities for us.

My initial project with Dr. Lee was very daunting and almost too complex for a Junior to undertake while taking courses; however, he recognized that I was unfamiliar with many of the high-level theories and took the time to step me through many of the initial steps. Throughout my growth, he has recognized my maturing and has provided more freedom with my projects which would not have been possible without his initial support and caring regarding my learning. Not only does he provide his suggested edits, but he will provide a brief description of why he believes them to be beneficial, which has allowed for me to mature in my submissions and begin to recognize these things as I am preparing them myself.

Dr. Lee has provided many fantastic opportunities for my professional & personal development over the last year through opportunities to present at two major conferences in our field. Because of his support, I have met some of the leading scientists in our field and have heard valuable talks regarding the innovative research taking place in Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Lee has also had multiple discussions with me about what I would like to do in the future and how I can accomplish that. Dr. Lee is always challenging us to come up with new ideas, whether it be a simple solution to a problem or a whole new project.

Dr. Lee has set up an informal researcher education system in his lab. Prospective students are encouraged to speak to current researchers and are matched with an interesting project, and perform research while learning about the goals, procedures, and practices in the lab. In their next semester, they are encouraged to pursue an original research topic or begin a more involved role.