Cory Hirsch Awarded as 2022 Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor

Obtaining a degree in Plant Pathology requires long hours of work and study, regular use of complex information and technology, and constant need for personal and professional growth. Supportive, knowledgeable mentors make a big difference in this environment. 

At this year's PLPA Awards, Assistant Professor Cory Hirsch received the Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award. Hirsch, who specializes in Plant Stress Resistance Biology, empowers students to build computational skills, going above and beyond to provide coding lessons and advice to students who often have no experience in the area.  


Here, students speak for themselves about why Hirsch is a valued mentor:

Cory is such a great advisor because he’s so invested, even when it would be easier not to be. Our lab is very computational, but most people come in with little to no coding experience, myself included. Cory could just hire people with computer backgrounds and save himself a lot of hassle, but he finds people passionate about the science and works with them to build up the necessary data analysis base. His class, data viz, basically does the same thing for the entire PLPA department and other graduate programs on campus. Cory finds time to meet not only with all his graduate and undergraduate students, but a large number of other graduate students each week to check up on research progress and give coding advice for projects whose PI don’t have the necessary experience. The genomics and phenomics Cory does is very specialized, but he makes it a point to share that knowledge with everyone who asks. I think that’s really selfless. —Julian Cooper

Cory is an outstanding mentor. He spent countless hours, one on one, teaching me how to code in Unix, Perl, and R. I am very impressed with Cory's dedication to teaching, and to his graduate students. Cory has been very helpful during our research. When I have a problem or question I message him, and he always replies to me quickly to solve it. Cory is an excellent teacher. He takes time to explain things to ensure that I fully understand the topic. Finally, he is an encouraging mentor. He is reassuring when we hit a snag during a research project, and has made me feel positive when I am struggling to produce a result. —Jake Botkin

Cory promotes a positive and diverse environment in the lab by being supportive and encouraging. He always makes himself available to help and does everything he can to assist in our projects. We also like his use of emojis on slack, that he provides us with pizza during meetings, and that he went to Wisconsin. —Sam Rude & Kevin Propst

A note from Cory:

I want to thank the current graduate students for the nomination for this award. This recognition truly means a lot to me. The current and past students I have been able to interact with and mentor have all been as important in my mentoring and growth and as I have been in theirs. It is such a pleasure to see everyone, through hard work and dedication, tackle and overcome obstacles in their research and impact our field.