Project 2’s Rita Loch-Caruso received the Mentorship Award at the 2019 Society of Toxicology Meeting

Dr. Rita Loch-Caruso

In March at the 2019 Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting Project 2 Leader Rita Loch-Caruso was presented with the Women in Toxicology Mentorship Award. From Saturday, March 9th to Thursday March 14th, PROTECT researchers attended the 58th Annual SOT Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland where Rita received this recognition after being secretly nominated by 22 of her current and past mentees who all worked in Rita’s lab, some as early as 1992!

Back in November 2018, current PROTECT Trainee Elana Elkin led the efforts amongst Rita’s mentees to secretly nominate her for the award, explaining their motivations by saying, “…she has spent over 30 years teaching and mentoring students and had never been recognized for her efforts.”

When asked about why she was nominated her mentees explained, “Throughout Dr. Loch-Caruso’s career, she has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her students, skillfully guiding them through their educational journeys and beyond.  As a mentor, she promotes students’ scientific interests and creativity, encouraging them to develop their own hypotheses and experiments.  She also provides guidance on productivity and time management, regularly meeting with her students to discuss their progress.  Dr. Loch-Caruso consistently challenges her students, asking them to explain the scientific theories behind their research, methods and conclusions, responding with thoughtful questions that promote critical thinking development. In addition to the research aspects of mentoring, Dr. Loch-Caruso also strongly encourages her students to develop other skills vital to a successful career as a scientist including: grant-writing, networking, publishing, communication skills and most importantly, building confidence in their ability to become independent toxicologists.”

When asked about how she felt about receiving the award, Rita explained that, “mentoring students has been one of my greatest pleasures as a university faculty member. For this reason, I was especially honored to receive the Mentoring Award I was very happy to be able to share the moment with my present and former students of whom I am so proud! Current trainees in my laboratory, especially doctoral student Elana Elkin, were key organizers behind the nomination. As an added pleasure to the ceremony, Elana also received an award from the Women in Toxicology Specialty Interest Group – for Student Mentorship.”

Congratulations Rita. We are very proud of your success and applaud this recognition!

Rita & Previous Mentees
Rita & Previous Mentees

L > R: Rita Caruso-Loch, Elana Elkin, Imam Hassan, Faith Bjork, Anthony Su