Rocio Rivera Receives Outstanding Graduate Advisor Award as Part of 2022 Celebration of Excellence

Portrait of Rocio in a dark red shirt and silver necklace
Rocio Rivera, Division of Animal Sciences, professor

Rocio Rivera received the 2022 CAFNR Outstanding Graduate Advisor Award at CAFNR’s Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony April 19. She is a professor of animal sciences, and has been a member of the graduate faculty since 2007.

Rivera has trained 10 master’s students, 1 doctoral student (with 2 current) and numerous post-baccalaureate and undergraduate students. She has also hosted visiting scientists and served as director of graduate studies in the Division of Animal Sciences.

She uses her experiences as a minority student to mentor many students and junior faculty. She helped students found the Latinx Graduate and Professional Network in 2011 and has advised the group since.

Rivera has received the MU Graduate Faculty Mentor Award and the MU Chancellor’s Excellence Award-Most Outstanding Advisor. Her mentees regularly are placed in highly competitive positions.

“Even among many great mentors, Rocio stands out in our Division for her passion for both science and diversity, as well as her hands-on, whole-person mentoring,” said nominator Allison Meyer, associate professor in the Division of Animal Sciences.

“What most impressed me is how Rocio cares and promotes her advisee’s career development after graduate school,” said former mentee Zhiyuan Chen, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. “To help establish academia network, Rocio took every opportunity for me to communicate with scientists in the relevant field.”

“Dr. Rivera saw potential in me that at times I couldn’t see myself. Rocio has a way to pull the best out of someone,” said former mentee Katherine Robbins, director of the Nemour Biomolecular Core Laboratory.