Computer Science Faculty Wins Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award

image of Sevag Gharibian

By VCU Office of Research | Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program


Sevag Gharibian, Ph.D., assistant professor in the VCU School of Engineering Department of Computer Science, has won a VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Outstanding Faculty Mentor award.

Each year, UROP accepts nominations from students for the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Awards. Undergraduate researchers are asked to identify a professor or faculty mentor who regularly goes above and beyond to engage students in research opportunities.

Students provide a written statement that describes why the chosen nominee deserves an outstanding mentorship award, including specific examples that detail their nominee’s contribution to undergraduate research at VCU. The main criteria for these nominations include how the faculty member has enhanced the skills related to undergraduate research in their discipline, how the nominee has expanded the knowledge base of student researchers, the ways in which the mentor has assisted undergraduates in their engagement with research and the lasting impression the mentor has made on students’ future academic and professional plans.

Dr. Gharibian surprised me and offered to let me work with him as part of his Quantum Computing Lab, even insisting that I be paid for my time. Dr. Gharibian took the time to help me build the necessary background – a full semester before I ever took the related courses. Over the course of the next year, Dr. Gharibian treated me not just like an adult, but as a peer. Of course, the publication, the conference acceptance, and the experience listed on my CV are invaluable for my future applications. But now, as I look forward to continuing my work in quantum computing at the University of Maryland this summer, and as I prepare to apply to graduate programs, I can say that I am most thankful for the confidence that Dr. Gharibian inspired in me to pursue such opportunities. Dr. Gharibian helped to teach me that the title “undergraduate” carries no limitations, and to realize that the professional world will evaluate me based on the work I produce.”

— Justin Yirka, Computer Science major

View the additional winners here.