The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography presents the Ramón Margalef Award to a scientist or educator for excellence in teaching and mentoring in the aquatic sciences. The 2021 Margalef Award for Excellence in Education will be given to Dr. Russell Cuhel, senior scientist in the School of Freshwater Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in recognition of his outstanding mentorship of students and dedication to aquatic science education for people of all ages and backgrounds. Dr. Cuhel will receive his award at the 2021 ASLO Aquatic Sciences Virtual Meeting in June.
Dr. Cuhel has made teaching and mentorship a prime focus throughout his distinguished career in science. Over a period of 30 years, he has secured a continuous and diverse portfolio of funding to support his efforts. In addition to developing and maintaining a successful Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the UM-Milwaukee, Cuhel was pivotal to the formation of the REU Meetings Program. Since 1999, hundreds of undergraduate students have taken advantage of this unique program that sends REU students to a science conference to present their research, participate in professional development opportunities, and network with scientists. The reach has extended to schoolteachers through concurrent COSEE and GeoEd expeditionary programs.
Dr. Cuhel’s passion for aquatic science has engaged thousands more through “K-to-gray” programing in local middle schools and community colleges and on national-international television research engagement. Most recently, Cuhel has been instrumental in the formation of an internship UWM program called the “WATER SYS-STEM: See Yourself Succeeding in STEM” training students from community and technical colleges for the water science technical workforce. Many of Dr. Cuhel’s colleagues and former students have noted the considerable impacts his thoughtful mentorship and teaching style has had on their own approach to teaching and mentoring.
“Russell truly embodies the spirit of Ramón Margalef through his dedication to sharing science with others. He has left a lasting legacy on the ASLO community with his enthusiastic mentorship of the next generation of aquatic scientists, and has inspired other researchers to create similar initiatives further amplifying his passion for sharing knowledge,” says ASLO President, Roxane Maranger.