One part mentor. One part inspiration. One part career coach.
John Erdman was all that — and then some — to two-degree alumna Nancy Moran (BS '05, molecular and cellular biology; Ph.D. '10, nutritional sciences).
“I trained in his research laboratory in the Division of Nutritional Sciences for five years. He set such a great example for all of us,” Moran says from Texas, home since 2016.
“He works tirelessly to support his students, the university and national nutrition initiatives led by the government and non-profits. His mentorship doesn’t stop at graduation; he keeps in touch with everyone and is very supportive of everyone’s careers,” says Moran, now an assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine.
“I’ll never forget how he wouldn’t usually tell us exactly what to do or how to do things, but would, as he would always say, just ‘nudge’ us in the right direction. I learned the power of a kind ‘nudge’ from a mentor.
“There are so many other fantastic faculty — like Drs. Lila, Sherwood and Nardulli — that taught me to be a scientist, to always start with a testable hypothesis, to look at data objectively, and to not bring my personal preferences to interpretation of the data.
“Understanding those fundamentals is how we as scientists can help to make the world a better place.”