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Dr. Robert Kelly: 2022 Blessis Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award Winner

Dr. Robert Kelly is the winner of the 2022-23 George H. Blessis Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award given by the College of Engineering.

The award recognizes faculty members who consistently and willingly give their time and effort to advising, counseling, and mentoring students and assisting student groups. It is also a continuing memorial to George H. Blessis, a faculty member whose interest in undergraduate education and advising serves as an example today.

Candidates are nominated by their department and are selected by the College of Engineering Teaching and Advising Awards Committee. Dr. Kelly will receive a cash award and a certificate, and his name will be engraved on a permanent plaque displayed in the administrative building for the College of Engineering.

Dr. Kelly has been a faculty member in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) for the last thirty-one years and has formally advised over 500 chemical engineering students in that time, with a typical load of fifteen to twenty CBE assigned advisees per year, most of which are in our Biomolecular concentration. In addition, as Founder and Director of NC State’s Biotechnology Program, Dr. Kelly has been the primary advisor for approximately 500 students who have completed the Biotechnology minor. He also serves as a resource for all students in the minor, typically 100 students/year.

In addition to academic advising, Dr. Kelly typically advises five undergraduate researchers each year working in his laboratory along with the graduate students he advises.  His undergraduate researchers note that he impresses upon them the importance of clear communication, encourages them to attend regular research seminars to gain an appreciation for science communication, and encourages them to attend conferences to present their own research.

In Dr. Kelly’s own words:

“Far and away the most important aspect of undergraduate advising is the relationship you develop with the student…. I strongly encourage young (and not so young) faculty to make undergraduate advising one of their priorities, if not so already. It is unlikely that an adviser will remember all of the students they advise over time. But, if you put your heart into it, your advisees will remember you fondly!”

Congratulations to Dr. Bob Kelly for the recognition from the College of Engineering for receiving the 2022-23 George H. Blessis Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award!