The Chellgren Center named Dr. Michael Samaan Faculty Mentor of the Week for October 20-26, 2019. The Office of Undergraduate Research officially launched the Research Faculty Mentor of the Week recognition program in August 2017 and have since recognized 61 faculty mentors. Each week their office highlights an outstanding and very much appreciated research faculty mentor who offers leadership and support of UK’s undergraduate student researchers.
Dr. Michael Samaan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion in the College of Education. Dr. Samaan received his Ph.D. from Old Dominion University in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering in 2014. His research interests include the use of biomechanics and musculoskeletal imaging to better understand the mechanisms and effects of lower extremity joint diseases such as osteoarthritis on joint health and function.
In the last year, Dr. Samaan has mentored seven undergraduate students who enjoy an immersive undergraduate research experience. Dr. Samaan explained, “My lab utilizes gait analysis (biomechanics) and magnetic resonance imaging to thoroughly assess and understand the effects of various orthopaedic conditions on joint health and function. The undergraduate students in my lab get hands-on experience with data collection and also aid with the processing of the biomechanics- and imaging-related data. They also obtain experience working with human subjects in a clinical-based research environment.” Dr. Samaan enjoys mentoring undergraduate students and takes his role as a mentor seriously, “I have come to learn that not all undergraduate students necessarily want to obtain research experience but all undergraduate students need someone to talk to about their future plans and goals. I feel truly honored when I am approached by an undergraduate student and asked to help provide some feedback or insight into their thoughts and future plans.”
As an undergraduate student himself, Dr. Samaan had a very positive undergraduate research experience that inspired his education and career path. “I performed an undergraduate research project and I thoroughly enjoyed that experience,” he continued, “That undergraduate research experience helped to better inform me of the demands of graduate school and what a career in research could potentially lead to. My undergraduate research experience helped lead me to my current career path.”
When considering an undergraduate mentee, Dr. Samaan likes to meet with the student to discuss their expectations from the undergraduate research experience and “how it could help them accomplish their future academic/career based goals.” He enjoys meeting with students to better understand how his research opportunity can “provide them with an optimal and enjoyable research experience.” He offers this advice to students considering undergraduate research, “Find a research mentor that you feel comfortable talking to and expressing your concerns to. The undergraduate research experience should be an educational yet enjoyable one and having the right mentor to ensure that the student has a great experience is extremely important.”
Thank you Dr. Michael Samaan for your unwavering support of undergraduate research at the University of Kentucky. We are pleased to recognize your dedication this week as our Research Faculty Mentor of the Week.