Mark A. Spencer Creative Mentorship


The Mark A. Spencer Creative Mentorship Award encourages and recognizes the efforts of engineering faculty who take an interest in the personal and professional development of students through a mentoring relationship, and rewards both faculty members and students for creative collaboration.  The award was created by William and Samia Spencer and their son Mark in recognition of the valuable role that mentors played in his education at Auburn. One of Mark's greatest mentors and advocates was Thad Roppel, associate professor in electrical and computer engineering, who provided encouragement, advice and guidance to Mark.

Recognized for their many contributions to academia, William is former head of the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology in the College of Education, while Samia is  professor emerita of French in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal Arts.


To be eligible for this award, the faculty member must be a member of the engineering faculty and the student must be an undergraduate enrolled in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. Faculty candidates must have a tangible mentoring relationship with students that focuses on a project directed toward solving a problem or reaching a goal. Ultimately, the enhancement and development of intellectual curiosity and engineering education are the mentoring qualities sought.


Student and faculty teams should prepare an application packet including:

  • Summary from the faculty member describing the project and mentoring relationship

  • Summary from the student describing the project and mentoring relationship
  • Support materials that corroborate the project and relationship, abstracts or announcements regarding publications or presentations, etc.  

  • Student's resume

The annual award totals $10,000, with $5,000 awarded to the faculty member and $5,000 to the student. In the event that multiple faculty members or students are selected, the stipend will be shared among participants.

Previous recipients

2022: Richard Sesek (faculty), Neil Hudson (student)

2021: Lauren Beckingham (faculty), Mollie Sabo (student)

2020: Edmon Perkins (faculty), Daniel Crifasi (student)

2019: Michael Zabala (faculty), Sean Herrera (student)

2018: Brendan Higgins (faculty), Matthew Preisser (student)

2017: Lauren Beckingham (faculty), Meredith Ayers (student)

2016: Richard Williams (faculty), Alexander Thompson (student)

2015: Maria Auad (faculty), Matthew Halvorson (student)

2014: Elizabeth Lipke (faculty), Blakey Bussie (student)

2013: Robert Jackson (faculty), Ryan Whitmore (student)

2011: Virginia Davis (faculty), Khristine Pizarro (student)

2010: Peter Jones (faculty), Matthew Cromer (student), Brian Keyser (student)

2009: Thad Roppel (faculty)