CHANDLER, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--#AZBW--The Arizona Bioindustry Association will honor Carol Bender, MSSS, of

the University of Arizona as the Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona

Bioscience Educator of the Year at the 2017

AZBio Awards. Arizona life science and business leaders, as well as

guests from across the nation, will be on hand to applaud Bender for her

work in the Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) at the UA and

for her success in encouraging students to pursue careers in the life


Bender is a University Distinguished Outreach Professor and

founding/current director of the Undergraduate

Biology Research Program (UBRP) at the UA. In this capacity, and

inspired by the ideas of the late UA Regents’ Professor Michael Wells,

PhD, Bender leads the development and assessment of programs that

produce students who are well prepared to enter graduate and

professional degree programs that lead to careers in biomedical research

and health professions careers.

Professor Bender was at the forefront of the movement to get

undergraduates out of the classroom and into apprentice-style research

lab experiences before this concept was popular or its impact well

understood, particularly in STEM fields where it is imperative that

professionals work together on issues facing humankind.

“Carol Bender’s commitment to student success is unrivaled,” said Leslie

Tolbert, PhD, Regents’ Professor in Neuroscience and in Cellular and

Molecular Medicine at the UA. “Using the model of apprentice-style lab

experiences in which undergraduates get individual attention as they

work side by side with graduate students and faculty members on

cutting-edge lab or field research, she gives of herself far beyond the

walls of our science buildings. Her students are inspired by her, not

just because she helps them find exciting research experiences, but also

because she travels with them, hikes with them, hosts gatherings for

international groups with them and generally takes an interest in them

as individuals.”

Under her inspiring leadership over the last 28 years, UBRP and other

UA-affiliated programs in the life sciences have provided paid research

experience to more than 2,300 students. UBRP and the international

program Bender founded—Prozkoumat!

(formerly Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Open Program or

BRAVO!)—were recognized in 1999 by the National Science Foundation (NSF)

with a Recognition Award for the Integration of Research and Education

(RAIRE). The UA was one of only 10 institutions to receive a $500,000

RAIRE award, with the intent that the highly impactful UBRP program

model be shared with other institutions across the nation.

Professor Bender’s creative ability to build and nurture undergraduate

research experiences, both at the UA and internationally, has received

much recognition. She is the recipient of two Fulbright Senior Scholar

awards (to Japan in 1997 and to India in 2011), and she was a founding

member and president of the Arizona Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

“I have admired Carol Bender since I joined the UA faculty twenty years

ago. Her boundless energy and passion for experiential, life-changing

undergraduate education is inspiring,” said Jennifer Kehlet Barton, PhD,

interim director of the BIO5 Institute and professor of biomedical

engineering, electrical and computer engineering, optical sciences, and

agricultural and biosystems engineering at the UA. “Many of Carol’s

former students - including some who have worked in my own lab – note

the influence that she and UBRP had in their lives. Her impact is

reminiscent of Michael Cusanovich, and she is a most worthy recipient of

his named award.”

Barton herself was a recipient of the Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona

Bioscience Educator of the Year in 2012.

In recognition of her work on behalf of undergraduate STEM education,

Professor Bender was named a Fellow of the American Association for the

Advancement of Science (Education Division) in 2015, and in 2016 the UA

College of Science designated her as a Copernicus Fellow.

“Great educators open our eyes to possibilities. Their work inspires new

generations and lays the groundwork for tomorrow’s miracles,” said Joan

Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry

Association. “For those of us who may have left the classroom years ago,

they create the gift of future scientists, engineers, medical

professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders. Through her work with – and

commitment to – thousands of students and her leadership in our

community, Carol Bender has inspired us all.”

A ceremony honoring Bender will take place at the AZBio

Awards on Oct. 11 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators,

innovators and companies. Each year, AZBio honors bioindustry leaders

from across Arizona who are illustrative of the depth, breadth and

expertise of its bioscience industry. The AZBio Awards ceremony is held

annually during Arizona

Bioscience Week. AZBW 2017 was proclaimed by the Arizona Senate

earlier this year. Multiple educational events focused on the value of

life science innovation will take place from Oct. 8-14, including the BMES

Annual Meeting in Phoenix. The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)

is the world’s leading society of professionals devoted to developing

and using engineering and technology to advance human health and

well-being. Attendees at BMES 2017 in Phoenix are expected to include

nearly 4,000 professional scientists, engineers, researchers and

students from academia and industry who are leaders in biomedical


Past recipients of the Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona Bioscience

Educator of the Year Award include: Marni Landry (Paradise Valley

High School, CREST Program), Dr. Joan Rankin Shapiro (University of

Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix), Dr. Miles Orchinik (Arizona

State University), Amanda Grimes (Mesa Biotechnology Academy), Dr.

Jennifer Kehlet Barton (University of Arizona), Dr. Nadja Anderson (UA

BIO5 Institute), Dr. Andrew Lettes (Pueblo Magnet High School), Barbara

Fransway (Arizona Research Laboratories, University of Arizona),

Margaret Wilch (Tucson High Magnet School), and Xan Simonson (Mesa High


For registration and more information, go to

For more information on Arizona Bioscience Week, visit

About AZBio

A key component in Arizona’s life science ecosystem, the Arizona

Bioindustry Association (AZBio) is the only statewide organization

exclusively focused on Arizona’s bioscience industry. AZBio membership

includes patient advocacy organizations, life science innovators,

educators, healthcare partners and leading business organizations. AZBio

is the statewide affiliate of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization

(BIO) and works in partnership with AdvaMed, MDMA and PhRMA to advance

innovation and to ensure that the value delivered from life-changing and

life-saving innovation benefits people in Arizona and around the world.

For more information visit

Photos available upon request.


Arizona Bioindustry Association

Joan Koerber-Walker, 480-332-9636



Vega, 480-275-9797



Romero, 520-626-9598