Heather Giebink, associate teaching professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, has been named a recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Service Award, which was established in 1979 to recognize faculty and staff who have made significant and outstanding leadership and service contributions to the Eberly College of Science over a sustained period of time.
Giebink was nominated for the award in recognition of her work as director of graduate affairs for the Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology (BMMB) Graduate Program. She works with graduate students to maximize their educational experience in the department while emphasizing student wellness. To facilitate this, she designed a new course to train incoming graduate students in teaching and learning and established a mentoring program, which connects these students with those already in the BMMB Graduate Program.
“She has made the graduate community within BMMB a family and a place for all of us to strive and succeed,” said one student.
Giebink helped found and run the Career Exposure and Professional Development Program, a series co-sponsored by four different units across the University. This program aims to expose students to a wide variety of possible career paths in the sciences by bringing in speakers and recruiters as well as offering skill-development workshops.
“We are truly lucky to have someone like Heather, who is not afraid to advocate and speak out on behalf of graduate students so that we may have the greatest chances of success in the program and in all of our professional endeavors,” added another student. “This is the excellence in leadership and advocacy that all graduate students need.”
In her role as director, Geibink is also dedicated to increasing the diversity in the department, has helped to update the education plan, and worked to promote the inclusion of students in the broader departmental community.
“Dr. Giebink exemplifies the highest standards of academic conduct and serves as a model for all faculty to aspire to,” said one nominator. “She cares about her students, she is trusted, she is an honorable and dedicated educator and mentor. We are indeed lucky to have her as a member of our community.”