Cho Awarded GSIE's Outstanding Mentor Award
Eunjoo Cho, associate professor of human environmental sciences in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, won this year's Outstanding Mentor Award from the Graduate School and International Education.
The Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award celebrates demonstrated success at graduate student mentorship at the U of A that includes positive role modeling as a professional, establishment and maintenance of high academic standards, a reputation for facilitating student learning and success as a mentor over a significant portion of the candidate's career.
"I am extremely honored to receive the 2023 GSIE Outstanding Mentor Award," Cho said. "I love mentoring and supporting graduate students in education and professional career development. As a life-long mentor, I constantly foster the professional and personal development of graduate students."
Cho's application stressed her "sustained history of 10 years of excellence and leadership in advocating for student-centered graduate education." Since joining the U of A in 2013, she has advised 13 graduate students in the Apparel Merchandise and Product Development program and is currently advising two others. Additionally, she has successfully served as chair for six master's theses and is currently mentoring another thesis.
In her time as graduate coordinator for the School of Human Environmental Sciences, she taught core classes for all graduate students and served as instructor for graduate student seminars. She also organized and hosted a graduate student research symposium for Human and Environmental Sciences students, in which she developed required cultural competency training for all incoming graduate students.
Under Cho's mentorship, five graduate students have presented their theses at international conferences, and four students published their theses in refereed journals as first authors, with one student earning the Paper of Distinction Award in Merchandising and Retailing from the International Textile and Apparel Association. She has also worked with graduate students on securing grant funding for their research. Two of her students were recognized as outstanding graduate students in the School of Human Environmental Sciences, and another placed as runner-up at the Bumpers College Student Board Poster competition.
In their nomination letters, graduates praised her "profound impact" on their personal and professional development, as well as fostering a "creative and supportive learning environment."
"She is an exceptional professor who possesses a unique combination of expertise, dedication and passion for fostering the growth and development in her students," wrote one former graduate student mentee of Cho's. "Dr. Cho cultivated my interest in the Apparel Merchandise and Product Development master's program, then served as my academic adviser during my time of study. Dr. Cho not only provided the necessary tools to excel in my studies, but also fostered a sense of curiosity and modeled a commitment to academic excellence. Through her guidance, I was awarded Outstanding Masters Student by the School of HESC."
Another former graduate of the School of Human Environmental Sciences said she would not have earned her master's degree had it not been for Cho.
"I was at a crossroads in my life and deciding what I wanted to do with my future, never really thinking I would, or even could, get my master's," she said. "I reached out trying to get more information to weigh my options, and lo and behold, Dr. Cho was the one who replied. Dr. Cho guided me my entire graduate career at the University of Arkansas. She encouraged me take a variety of classes within the program, even if I wasn't the most comfortable with taking them."
"I am now thriving as the buyer at a fashion house in DFW," she continued. "The confidence I have in my role and my desire to continue to grow all started that day, way back, when Dr. Cho replied to my inquiry. There is no doubt that I would not be where I am if weren't for her, and I am forever grateful for the support and guidance she showed me at a time when I needed it the most."
In his nomination letter, Jean-Francois Meullenet, interim dean of the Bumpers College, emphasized Cho's "leadership to improve graduate program recruitment, retention and graduation rates" in her time at the university.
"Dr. Cho is an outstanding mentor, researcher and a valuable asset to the school, college and university graduate program," he stated. "Her enthusiastic instructional involvement and contribution to graduate education impresses me.…Dr. Cho is a valued contributor to the University of Arkansas community based on her sustained productivity, mentorship and leadership."
Cho's teaching and mentorship skills have been recognized previously when she won the Gamma Sigma Delta Teaching Award of Excellence and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. In 2021, she was selected as a fellow for the U of A Teaching Academy.
Cho earned a bachelor's and master's degrees in clothing and textiles from Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, and her doctorate in apparel merchandising and design from Iowa State University.
John Post, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education
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