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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Students surprise biology professor with advising award nomination

Jason Hoeksema, assistant professor of biology, received the 2012 Excellence in Advising Award.

“I would be hard-pressed to nominate another individual as deserving of recognition for excellence in advising as Dr. Jason Hoeksema,” said Kristopher Henning, who received his master’s in biology under Hoeksema’s direction. “He exemplifies my conception of an ideal adviser — serving as the glue that not only promotes respect and socialization among the members of his lab, [but] also fostering those qualities among undergraduate and graduate students.”

Students praise Hoeksema for being accessible and approachable.

“I believe every student in our department benefits from his mentoring, whether by having him serve as a committee member, by attending the informal Friday reading group ‘BioLunch’ he organizes, swinging by the lab or catching him barbecuing at the biology department tailgating tent,” said Bridget J. Piculell, Ph.D. candidate in biology.

Hoeksema aspires to impart a deeper knowledge of science and to bring out the best in all his students.

“I hope that students gain a broader understanding of how the scientific process works,” he said. “I hope they learn how to think creatively, to plan carefully and to finish projects efficiently. I hope they learn the value of helping each other and collaborating in scientific endeavors. I try to recognize that each student has different strengths and needs, and different advising approaches may be needed for each student to bring out [his/her] strengths. I’m grateful to advisers of my own, from before my arrival here at Ole Miss and also among my colleagues here, for helping to teach me this.”

Hoeksema’s research focuses on ecological and evolutionary consequences of interactions among species, including mutualism, parasitism and competition. He teaches courses in ecology, evolution, statistics, microbiology, mycology and ornithology, and occasionally leads mushroom field trips for the public. He holds a Ph.D. from University of California, Davis and B.S. from University of Michigan.

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