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 2023

Alison Haupt
Dr. Alison Haupt

Dr. Alison Haupt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Science at California State University, Monterey Bay. Her research lab focuses on answering applied ecological questions that promote improved marine management and conservation by focusing on species and ecosystems confronting anthropogenic stressors such as urbanization, climate change, and fishing pressure. To address questions of applied ecology, her lab uses and applies a wide variety of tools ranging from population genetics to forensic genetics to ecological modeling to traditional field ecology.

Dr. Haupt is local to the Monterey area and went to Monterey High School. She attended University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Biology. She completed her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University. Her thesis focused on using population genetics to contemporary and historical demography of fished marine species. After her Ph.D. Dr. Haupt was awarded a two year Sea Grant policy fellowship through the West Coast Governors Alliance On Ocean Health and spent one year based at the Natural Resources Agency in Sacramento, CA and one year at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, WA. As a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Massachusetts Boston she studied east coast kelp forests. Her research program at CSUMB has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), California SeaGrant, and NASA. While at CSUMB, Dr. Haupt has mentored 12 UROC Scholars and 20 UROC Researchers, many of whom have since pursued careers in the sciences, either through graduate programs or jobs. The majority of these students have presented at national conferences, CSU student research competitions, and several  have won presentation awards. Two of Dr. Haupt’s UROC scholars have been awarded an NSF GRFP scholarship or honorable mention. 

Over the course of her career, Dr. Haupt has done field work across the United States, Mexico, South America, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. Being exposed to so many amazing field research opportunities underscored the importance of field and research experiences for students, and motivates her to create as many meaningful and impactful research and field opportunities as she can for CSUMB students. Field experiences are often formative experiences for undergraduates and have been shown to increase retention in the field and narrow demographic achievement gaps (Beltran et al. 2020). However, diverse participation often lags in field courses and field environments can often be toxic for minorities, women, and people with disabilities (MacDonald 2020, O’Brien et al. 2020; Pickrell 2020; Clancy et al. 2014; Simmonds 2014). Dr. Haupt’s field experiences – both good and bad – have driven home the importance of positive first research experiences, especially for students from underrepresented groups in STEM and first-generation college students. Dr. Haupt’s lab has worked to create a safe and inclusive environment by providing students with the equipment, information about what to expect, and the resources they need to succeed in and enjoy field experiences.