Joe Gutierrez Office of Strategic Communication (909) 537-5007 email@example.com
Daniel Nickerson, assistant professor of biology, has been named the recipient of the 2018-19 Outstanding Faculty Advisor award. Nickerson was holding a regular meeting of his molecular biology class on May 15, but his plans were interrupted by a delegation led by President Tomás D. Morales, consisting of senior administrators, selection committee members, faculty members and staff, barging into the winner’s classroom to make the announcement. “Sorry for the interruption, but I wanted to share with all of you, Dr. Nickerson, that he’s been selected the academic advisor of the year,” Morales told the students. “This is a very special award because advising is so important. Don’t you all agree? And it really reflects Dr. Nickerson’s commitment to students, his student centeredness, his knowledge of the advising system, and he’s really done an incredible job as an advisor,” Morales said. “I want to thank you, we all want to thank you, for the work that you do with our students.” Provost Shari McMahan praised Nickerson for his advising work. “Our role at CSUSB is to make sure that when you leave here, you’re successful in whatever accomplishments you make, so having a faculty member and an advisor that has your best interest in mind, I can’t think of any greater accolade than that. So congratulations to you,” McMahan said. Nickerson thanked all the faculty and staff members who had provided institutional knowledge and support since his arrival to campus. “I’ve been pestering my colleagues for advice on a daily basis.” He also talked about his work as an academic advisor and working with students. “I think the moment when I realized I had had chosen the right job was when I realized how satisfying it was when students in my classrooms were discovering their path,” Nickerson said. “In a couple of cases, they got accepted into dental school and medical school, the path they knew for a long time. It was also satisfying when they discovered something they had no idea even existed as a career possibility until we had those conversations in class and office hours. There is beauty in Plan B. Well, I’m rooting for all of you for dreams you have and dreams you don’t know you have yet.” This faculty awards notification “ambush” is a long-time and much-loved CSUSB tradition. Nickerson was nominated by several of his students, both undergraduate and graduate. They spoke of his open door policy, his ability to listen, his advice and practical assistance, and his support and encouragement for their success in their current classes and research projects, and for their futures. One student wrote, “Dr. Nickerson has been a phenomenal mentor. My pathway to success changed the day I met Dr. Nickerson. He is available, approachable and relatable.” “Dr. Nickerson facilitates a welcoming, inclusive and open classroom and lab environment,” wrote another student. “I have never felt intimidated when approaching him.” If students make an error in their research work, he “never criticizes,” but rather “always provides us the opportunity to perform the task again and explains how we went wrong so we learn from our mistakes.” “Dr. Nickerson’s communication with his students [sets] him apart from other professors,” wrote another of his students. “He spends long hours after his courses to advise other students and to properly train individuals working in his lab so that they can carry out individual projects” and he “ensures that all of the individuals in his lab are well-prepared and that they never miss an opportunity to grow as a scientist.” Another student observed that he “encouraged me to take specific classes, he has encouraged me to apply to programs and to further my education after I graduate” and that he “is extraordinarily kind.” His kindness, compassion and willingness to go the extra mile are reflected in the words of the students who provided their support for his nomination. Nickerson’s primary area of interest is eukaryotic cell biology. He wrote, “Eukaryotic cells use membranes to divide up their interior space into compartments (organelles) that provide appropriate microenvironments for specific biochemical functions. … I seek to understand how separate membranes in cells can meet, communicate, swap components, and how the identities of compartments are either maintained or adjusted as circumstances demand.” Nickerson was awarded a bachelor’s degree in biology from Kenyon College, a Ph.D. in molecular cellular and developmental biology from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and did further postdoctoral work in biochemistry at the University of Washington-Seattle. For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit inside.csusb.edu.