A man sits next to a counter with a metal box made up of small panels, and tools are laying nearby.
Matthew E. Gilbert, an associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, is creating a weather data station that will help measure how plants respond to sunlight and reflected light – for example, how trees fare when planted in a parking lot compared to trees planted in a park. Gilbert has been honored with a Program Advising and Mentoring Award by UC Davis Graduate Studies. Photo by Trina Kleist/UC Davis.

Gilbert honored for graduate advising

Students navigate financial straits, new expectations

Matthew E. Gilbert has been honored with a Program Advising and Mentoring Award by UC Davis Graduate Studies for 2022. Gilbert is an associate professor and vice chair of crops and ecosystems in the Department of Plant Sciences.

“Student well-being, both academically and mentally, is so important, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Gilbert. “For that reason, I became chair of the Graduate Student and Post-doctoral Welfare Committee, which is a sub-committee of Graduate Council.

“The landscape for graduate students has changed relative to when we were in grad school. Financially, the stipends that the graduate student researchers receive are tough to get by on; people have new and innovative career objectives; and old expectations of being focused 100 percent of the time on research are no longer appropriate,” Gilbert continued. “So, supporting students as they navigate these issues is vital.”

Every year, graduate programs at the university can nominate one faculty member who has shown an outstanding commitment to advising and mentoring. “Graduate advising and mentoring are vital for guiding students through their degrees and professional development, while also helping to ensure their overall success and well-being,” UC Davis Graduate Studies said. The university has launched a series of new graduate advising and mentoring initiatives to promote and develop good mentoring for graduate students, including the Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Awards to provide graduate programs with an easy way to recognize faculty who are offering outstanding service in advising and mentoring at the program level.

Gilbert, a botanist, researches photosynthesis and how leaves respond to changing relationships among light, carbon dioxide and water. He specializes in the study of plants’ response to stresses such as heat and less water, and the consequences in the field of breeding for stress-resistant characteristics.

Related links

Learn more about Matthew Gilbert’s research.

Learn more about UC Davis Graduate Studies.

Media Resources

Trina Kleist, tkleist@ucdavis.edu, (530) 754-6148 or (530) 601-6846

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