Fall 2020, 1 credit hour, graduate course 6 week, fully online discussion-based course designed to introduce or review principles of good scientific practice. Total of 65 students in course, 63 completed instructor evaluation.
Excellent Peer Award, UAB Office of Postdoctoral Education, September 2020 Testimonial by Hala Zein-Sabatto, PhD
"I believe Dr. Melissa LaBonty is deserving of this award, because she went above and beyond her responsibilities and became my unofficial mentor after the untimely passing of my PI, Dr. Michael Miller.
After Mike's passing, there was a lack of expertise at UAB in my lab’s field of study in C. elegans. Aside from the personal loss I felt, I was very concerned about being able to continue the high-quality research as a graduate student. Melissa, with her background in C. elegans, guided me through my research and spent countless hours helping me troubleshoot many experiments. As a MERIT fellow she managed to uphold her research, teaching, and mentoring responsibilities while making time to meet with me personally and attend my lab’s weekly meetings. She sat in every practice talk I scheduled and gave me beneficial advice that strengthen my presentation skills. She gladly made time to edit my papers and dissertation before I sent them to the professors for feedback. She guided me through interviewing for postdoctoral positions and connected me to her network. In the Miller lab, Mike always made sure to celebrate each lab member’s birthday with a cake. Melissa, a talented baker, made sure we kept up this tradition and would make us a treat for each birthday to make us feel special. She not only helped me through my journey but also helped two of my graduate student lab mates through their thesis work and our international postdoc find her next job. I defended last month, but without Melissa's help, I would not have been able complete my degree as quickly."
Norman I and Susan G Krinsky Excellence in Basic Science Teaching Award, Tufts University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, May 2017
"Melissa is the type of teacher I would be more than glad to see involved in the education system. She is prepared, extremely organized, and constantly attentive to detail. She has a great, positive outlook, always encouraging new and better solutions when results are inadequate. Overall, Melissa is a motivated and motivational teacher, something I find to be essential for a successful classroom setting."
"And at the end of the day, Melissa was simply someone you’d hope for as a mentor. She has a great sense of humor and kept spirits up even when results were lackluster. She had a broad worldview and welcomed difficult conversations from health policy to gender disparities. As a liberal arts student, I valued this multi-dimensionality and Melissa’s readiness to discuss the world context surrounding her research. She was welcoming one-on-one and could present to a group of fifteen individuals with the same approachability and just as effectively. I have complete confidence that Melissa would be a welcomed educator in any biology department."