Antje Heese, associate professor of biochemistry, received the 2021 Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award as part of CAFNR’s Celebration of Excellence. She was honored at the 2022 in-person ceremony Tuesday, April 19.
Heese received her master’s degree in plant physiology and biochemistry from Ruhr-Universität in Germany and her PhD in botany and plant pathology from Michigan State University. She joined the University of Missouri as an assistant research professor in 2006.
“Professor Heese builds personal connections with her students, such that they are empowered to broach difficult topics related to their academic standing, physical or mental health,” says Michael Chapman, director of the Division of Biochemistry.
“This is attested by many students, Younis Dabbagh reporting: ‘Dr. Heese was someone who helped me find my own way in life… In April of 2019 two of my closest friends passed away unexpectedly. Dr. Heese was there for me, to remind me that you don’t have to be tough all the time. She pushed me to seek help even though I wanted no part of it, knowing that in the long run that I would be eternally grateful for it. Two years later, I’m in a much better state than I have ever been… graduated from Mizzou and landed an incredible full-time job. Dr. Heese is someone who shows an undying compassion to the students she looks out for.’”
Numerous students recall their time as Dr. Heese’s advisees to be life-changing personal investments of her time. Her colleagues expand upon her willingness to put the time and effort into ensuring each of her students’ academic success.
“Antje is an advisor in the true sense of the word,” says Shari Freyermuth, director of undergraduate education and advising, and associate teaching professor in biochemistry. “At whatever level students come to her and with whatever concerns, she works to guide them to find their own definition of success.”