Schaeffer honored with 2020 Graduate Program Chair Leadership Award

March 27, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Stephen Schaeffer, associate department head of graduate education in the Eberly College of Science, is the 2020 recipient of the Graduate School Alumni Society Graduate Program Chair Leadership Award.

Stephen Schaeffer

Stephen Schaeffer

IMAGE: Provided

The award honors faculty members for exemplary leadership that benefits graduate students and faculty in an existing graduate program at the University.

Since chairing the biology department’s graduate program beginning in 2015, colleagues said Schaeffer has made numerous improvements to the benefit of students and faculty.

Schaeffer began a monthly colloquium that gives students an opportunity to discuss topics such as financial planning and mental health. It features speakers on various career paths.

He partnered with similar graduate programs — as well as the Huck Institutes of Life Sciences — for twice-a-year discussions on pursuing career options.

Through partnerships with the Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the Graduate School, he offers workshops that highlight awards for graduate students. Schaeffer also offers his own workshops to help students secure these awards.

Schaeffer is also a leader in improving the diversity of graduate students. He attends two conferences for underrepresented students to network and build relationships. His goal is to showcase opportunities available at Penn State while diversifying graduate candidates. Some of the students Schaeffer has recruited have gone on to earn some of the University’s most prestigious graduate fellowships.

“Schaeffer has made a tremendous contribution to the biology graduate program during the past five years,” a colleague said. “He not only keeps things running smoothly, but is implementing new and important initiatives that enhance student success. His efforts at the personal level, as well as programs implemented at the departmental, college and University levels have made an important contribution to the diversity, career development and success of our graduate students.”


Last Updated March 27, 2020