Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center

Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

Banner of UROC Mentor Award Recipients in various settings

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC) offers the UROC Undergraduate Research Mentor Award to recognize and honor the practice of mentoring undergraduate research and scholarship at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). This award is intended to recognize demonstrated excellence in supporting undergraduate researchers, to encourage mentoring relationships with undergraduate students, and to convey the campus' high regard for such contributions made by the academic and research community at CSUMB and other regional research institutions.

Both CSUMB and UROC embrace the vision of providing innovative and relevant educational opportunities to our unique population of undergraduate students. The UROC Undergraduate Research Mentor Award recognizes mentors who strive to uphold this vision by enhancing research opportunities for CSUMB’s undergraduate population and cultivating a collaborative, intellectual community.

Mentor of the Year 2022

Dr. JP Dundore-Arias

JP Dundore-Arias is a plant pathologist with an interdisciplinary background and broad experience investigating the biology, ecology, and management of plant-associated microbes. He received his B.Sc. in Agronomy from the University of Costa Rica,  and worked growing and selling fresh produce at a local Feria del Agricultor (farmer's market), and later, became a food safety consultant to the local coffee industry. He then moved to the US and completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Pathology at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively. After completing graduate school, he received a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and worked at the University of Minnesota.

JP Dundore-Arias

Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology at California State University Monterey Bay, where he leads the new Agricultural Plant and Soil Science major. Ongoing projects in his lab are aimed at investigating the fate of soilborne pathogens in specialty crop production systems, and their control through integrated management approaches, as well as deciphering strategies to manage soil microbiomes and promote pathogen suppression. Additionally, he co-directs the NSF-funded Agricultural Microbiomes Research Coordination Network and is leading efforts to develop metadata standards and ontologies specific to the agricultural microbiomes research community. He is recognized for his personal commitment to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM fields, and for his contributions to broadening the participation and retention of diverse students and professionals in plant sciences. 

Dundore-Arias’ personal and professional experiences have motivated him to serve as a mentor and role model to his students. He fosters a growth mindset in which students learn to recognize that scientific knowledge and research expertise are not innate and can be developed, with the goal to increase self-confidence, sense of belonging, and science identity. In both the classroom and the laboratory, he mentors students to overcome the prevailing societal taboo against failure, by demonstrating to them that in science, research progress and attainment are achieved through a process of experimentation, failure, and adaptation. As a research mentor, he is committed to providing mentees with customized support according to their individual needs and career goals, offering supported technical and professional training and experiences that equip them with the necessary skills to become leaders in the biological sciences and agricultural industry.

Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and to Dr. Dundore-Arias for earning this well-deserved award in recognition of the excellent work that he has done mentoring CSUMB students.