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Headshot of Jennifer West, who is wearing a blue coat.

Jennifer West

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring

Fitzpatrick Family University Professor of Engineering


Jennifer West has been the associate dean for Ph.D. education at the Pratt School of Engineering since 2015. Since 2012, she has been the Fitzpatrcik Family University Professor of Engineering in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Cell Biology, and Chemistry. She has a robust record of professional service and has served in a variety of positions, including the 2017-2019 Chair of Frontiers of Engineering at the National Academy of Engineers.

Over her career, she has trained 45 graduate students and 23 postdoctoral fellows. West’s mentorship emphasizes career development and the importance of fostering diversity and inclusion in the science community. West has received numerous accolades throughout her career, including the 2016 Capers and Marion McDonald Excellence in Research and Teaching Award in the Pratt School of Engineering.

West’s research focuses on the development of novel biofunctional materials. Part of her program has developed nanoparticle-based approaches to biophotonics therapeutics and diagnostics. She has authored more than 200 publications and holds 20 patents that have all been licensed through 10 companies. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors.


“Students aren’t just here to work in the research labs. They are here to get an education and to prepare themselves for the next step. Giving them opportunities to learn, develop skills, explore, and see new environments is really important to that process.”


Excerpts from West's Nomination

“Beyond her clear guidelines, Dr. West possesses the power to encourage in exacting detail. It is almost as if she knows each person’s weaknesses or fears and takes great care with specific effort to have them addressed. She did this for me in the form of oral presentations at conferences, encouraging me to apply for award after award and pushing me to push myself. Dr. West took me under her wing and told me I could fly. When I didn’t believe her, she pushed me out of the proverbal ‘nest’ and now, I’m flying.”

“I will always look up to Dr. West as a scientist and mentor. Her knowledge, insight, and integrity are admirable. She cares about her students, both personally and professionally. She always believed in me and sought out opportunities for my growth.”

“Despite her busy schedule and many leadership roles around campus, Dr. West always makes time for her students. She posts several in-person meetings every week and is always quick to respond to e-mails and willing to schedule further meetings.”