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Dr. Anderson Recipient of 2024 Russell Award

Dr. Jill Anderson

Dr. Jill Anderson of UGA Genetics has received the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the university’s highest early career teaching honor for outstanding and innovative instruction.

“Through their active-learning course designs and personalized mentorship, this year’s Russell Award recipients inspire their students to learn and discover in the classroom and be prepared to lead and serve in their future careers,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “They embody our university’s commitment to pursuing excellence in undergraduate education.”

From creating experiments and graphing predictions to interpreting results and designing follow-up studies, Anderson’s students put their learning into practice as engaged evolutionary ecology and genetics researchers. Her goal is to cultivate critical thinking within a welcoming environment and to demonstrate that science is a dynamic process.

Anderson encourages growth in the classroom, the laboratory and the field. She trains between eight and 12 undergraduates in her lab each semester and provides them with individualized mentoring to support their career goals and learning objectives. She also works with undergraduate field assistants and Research Experience for Undergraduate students each summer, conducting field work at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado.

In each of her classes, Anderson strives to create an inclusive environment. Through her assigned readings, she amplifies the voices of scientists who are often underrepresented in the classroom. With the help of graduate students and postdoctoral mentees, Anderson created a searchable database of ecology and evolutionary biology research publications that other UGA faculty can reference when diversifying their own courses.

“Her impact extends well beyond the classroom, impacting the future of academic research and creating a love of learning that will last for a lifetime,” wrote one of Anderson’s students.

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Associate Professor, Ph.D. (2009) Cornell University

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