Friday, February 23, 2024

Each year, the OUR recognizes two faculty/staff members who have been nominated by their undergraduate student mentee(s). The OUR accepts applicants who have mentored students in research, scholarly, or creative work. 

For 2024, the OUR has chosen two mentors who have shared leadership, understanding, and guidance with their undergraduate students. These winners embody the University of Iowa's mission to dare to explore, imagine, and discover new opportunities for research and learning. 

The Office of Undergraduate Research proudly presents the 2024 DMA Winners!


Bob McMurray

"I can’t imagine my research journey without Bob’s welcoming kindness, thriving lab community, and confident mentorship, and I am so deeply grateful for his impact on me."

Professor Bob McMurray primarily researches Developmental Science in collaboration with departments such as the Psychology and Brain Sciences along with Communication Sciences and Disorders. He focuses on word recognition, whether spoken or written. He works with subjects from all age groups—from infants to the elderly—and ability. 

Above all, McMurray's ability to display immense respect and encouragement helped foster the growth of his students. The OUR appreciates and recognizes his research capabilities and community building. 

"I felt remarkably seen and respected...his kindness represented the University of Iowa profoundly, and it is a majority of the reason I am here today."

You can find his research in journals such as Developmental Psychology and Psychology Review. To learn more about Bob McMurray, visit his faculty page here


Caroline Clay

The University of Iowa welcomed Assistant Professor Caroline Clay to its campus in 2021. In a few short years, Clay has impacted countless students inside and outside the classroom.  

"Caroline Clay has been a mentor to me since the first day I met her. She is not only a brilliant teacher and extremely knowledgeable about her work, she also makes each and every student feel loved and cared for in and out of class."

"I feel that Caroline has helped me to overcome fear of the future and fears in my work that have held me back from success in my chosen fields as an actress, writer, director, singer, etc. She has invited me and the other students in my classes to not only be vulnerable with her and our scene partners, but also with ourselves in finding our own truths." 

Clay calls on countless experiences to bring to the classroom. Some of her Tony Award-Winning productions include The Little FoxesDoubt (Broadway and national tour), The Royal Family, and Drowning Crow. She has been featured in a multitude of TV shows, including, “Cece Colvin, The Matchmaker” on Grey’s Anatomy, ShamelessThe KnickLaw & Order: SVUHouse of Cards, and United We Fall. 

At the University of Iowa, Clay takes on many roles. Clay functions as an actress, director, educator, playwright, and vocal coach. Above all, she inspires groups of undergraduates with her wisdom. Every nominating letter agrees she challenges, motivates, and encourages students to grow. 

"I know I am far from the only student whose life has been impacted by Caroline Clay. She deserves to be recognized of all of the wonderful work she does and how much she cares about us as students. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of recognition than her."

Clay's performances have been recognized in articles by the Washington Post and the Daily Iowan. To learn more about Caroline Clay, visit her faculty page here


Thank you to every student who nominated their mentor. To learn more about the Distinguished Mentor Award and more opportunities for recognition, feel free to visit our Awards page.