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Flaherty, Kramer Honored by Horizons Program

Dr. Elizabeth Flaherty and first year wildlife student Krystal Kramer were honored by Horizon Student Support Services at an awards ceremony Dec. 7. Flaherty received the Faculty Mentor Impact Award, while Kramer garnered the Faculty Mentee Spotlight Impact Award.

Horizons Student Support Services is a federal TRIO grant program that supports and empowers college students who are first-generation, income-eligible or have a disability evidencing academic need. The organization’s Faculty Mentorship Program has been in existence since 1995 and continues to be a robust form of support to edify, promote academic success, and provide support to Horizons scholars toward degree attainment. More importantly, this caliber of mentorship supports scholars in their difficult transition to college and positions scholars to create meaningful connections with faculty through the forming of a professional network.  

The Horizons' Faculty Mentor Impact Award recognizes faculty currently serving as mentors within theDr. Liz Flaherty and Brittany Allensworth, Director of Horizons Student Support Services Horizons’ Faculty Mentorship Program who have been a visible and integral part of the success of the Horizons’ mentees. The commitment of honorees has provided continuous support and contributed to the growth and development of the mentees within the program.

Mentees voluntarily nominated their faculty mentors for this award based on their mentorship experience. Nominators had to address the following questions in their nominations:  

  1. How has your faculty mentor demonstrated characteristics well deserving of this award?
  2. What's a memorable moment or memorable takeaway that you had with your faculty mentor this semester?
  3. How has this experience meaningfully impacted you as a faculty mentee? 

“I nominated Dr. Flaherty because before I started the program I was struggling. Academically but also emotionally,” Kramer said. “The struggle to fit into Purdue and find my place is something I still struggle to find. Each time I met with Dr. Flaherty it never failed to make my day better, especially after I was in calculus the hour before. Talking with her made me feel like I was where I belonged, that I wasn't an outcast, that I wasn't weird for what I loved. Dr. Flaherty opened many doors for me in the FNR department and expanded my views and always made me feel that I was where I was supposed to be. She also showed me that everyone struggles academically and emotionally and showed me what she did to help get through college and even now with her job. Dr. Flaherty is definitely hands down one of my role models now and definitely someone I will come back to and talk to for advice. Having that connection with Dr. Flaherty is a bond that will last with me for the rest of my life.” 

Flaherty, a professor of wildlife ecology and habitat management, has participated in the Horizons mentorship program at Purdue since 2019. Flaherty, who was named associate department head for Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources in 2023, has been a part of the faculty since 2013 (assistant professor 2013-19, associate professor 2019-2023, professor 2023-present). She has won numerous awards for her teaching, advising and counseling in her time at Purdue, most recently being named to the Purdue Book of Great Teachers in October.

The Horizons' Faculty Mentee Spotlight Impact Award is a new award that recognizes mentees in theKrystal Kramer holds a gecko Faculty Mentorship Program who have demonstrated resiliency and persistence despite adversity. Faculty mentors nominated their mentees for this award and two mentees were selected. 

Nominators had to address the following questions in their nominations:  

  1. How has your faculty mentee demonstrated characteristics well deserving of this award?
  2. Provide examples of how a mentee has remained resilient or persistent in their degree completion despite barriers (e.g., being first-gen, income-eligible, or navigating academic or financial setbacks).
  3. How has this mentorship experience meaningfully impacted you as a faculty mentor and better informed your professional practice? 

“I nominated Krystal for the award because I was impressed with her professional growth during her first semester at Purdue including learning how to advocate for herself and access resources on campus to support her academic success,” Flaherty said.

Kramer is a first-year student in FNR from DeMotte, Indiana. She hopes to work for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources after graduation. 

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