Mautusi Mitra, University of West Georgia
I am an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at University of West Georgia (UWG). UWG is primarily an undergraduate institution in rural west Georgia. At UWG, I played a significant role in developing the research infrastructure and shaping the academic culture of the Biology department. I took pioneering initiatives in the Biology department to develop a Plant Cell Molecular and Biochemistry research presentation club, which later got transformed into Biology seminars in the department. I have developed an informal career mentoring program that connects my former successful UWG Biology and Chemistry majors in STEM fields with current UWG STEM majors. This mentoring program operates via e-mails, phone, Skype, LinkedIn and my lab Facebook page. I have served on various committees at UWG. I have been an active member of ASPB and Southern Section-ASPB for the past 15 years. I have served as a judge of undergraduate research poster and graduate oral presentation competitions at the SS-ASPB meetings. In the past eight years, I have encouraged my undergraduate students to attend the SS-ASPB/ASBP meetings. I have served as a volunteer at the ASPB educational outreach booth at the National Science Teachers Association meeting at Atlanta in 2018 and shared my plant biology research with the science teachers. I would be honored to serve on the steering committee for the new PUI section of ASPB. My special focus will be to form a career network of plant biologists from PUI, to build an online collection of plant biology teaching resources for PUI, to organize educational outreach events at PUI and, to maintain a Facebook/Plantae page for the PUI section.