Spear Honored with Mentorship Award

Joey Zhou and Robert Spear

For those fortunate enough to have studied with Robert Spear, professor emeritus in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, his latest accolade will come as no surprise. UC Berkeley honored Spear with the Zak Sabry Mentorship Award at the School of Public Health's commencement ceremony in May, 2010.

The award, established in 2004, celebrates SPH Emeritus Faculty member Zak Sabry's commitment to teaching by recognizing faculty who mentor students and encourage creative faculty-student collaborations. Past recipients include Jack ColfordSteve ShortellJoan Bloom and Carol Langhauser.

“The key is to choose the right place at the right time and do important things.”
Spear's advice to Zhou

Spear was nominated by Joey Zhou, Ph.D. '88, M.S. '92, who also presented the award. Zhou first met Spear at a workshop in Chengdu, China, in 1998. The encounter “changed his life” and led him to pursue environmental health studies at UC Berkeley with Spear as his advisor. In his nomination, Zhou recognized Spear's unique ability to mentor students from diverse scientific and academic backgrounds — from engineering to biology — and his multidisciplinary approach to public health.

Spear engaged Zhou on an international project to control the spread of schistosomiasis, a major parasitic disease in Sichuan, China. Spear's ongoing work focuses on control and intervention strategies to reduce the incidence of the disease.

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