Karl Larson Receives Mentoring Award

Larson was named the 2018 recipient of the Karen Denard Goldman Mentor Award from the Society for Public Health Education.
Posted on January 31st, 2018 by

Health and exercise science professor Karl Larson.

Gustavus Adolphus College professor of health and exercise science Karl Larson is the 2018 winner of the Karen Denard Goldman Mentor Award from the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The award, which will be presented to Larson at the organization’s annual conference this April, honors mentors who help students close the gap between research in the classroom and work in the professional world.

Larson was nominated for the award for his work creating a National Case Study competition that presents students with a public health issue and challenges them to solve it. Since the first competition in 2005, the program has grown to include 12 undergraduate teams and six graduate level teams, and continues to expand each year.

“My personal goals for the SOPHE Case Study Competition are to provide an opportunity for students to display their skills from coursework in designing and planning an approach to a public health issue,” Larson said.

Larson’s team writes new cases each year based on significant public health issues and student groups have two weeks to design their approach to the problem. The teams gather at the national convention to present their ideas to a panel of judges.

“I see mentoring as one of the most important things we do,” he explained. “Conversations, application, research, community service… We are the guides for our students to have these types of experiences, and it is where I find great value and reward.”

Outside of directing the Case Study Competition, Larson is involved in SOPHE as the current president of the Minnesota chapter. The organization is home to public health educators and professionals across the nation.

While the Karen Denard Goldman Mentor Award speaks to Larson’s talent and passion for setting up students for a life of success, he isn’t content with the status quo. As the professor looks to the future, he hopes to find a sponsor and increase funding so the case study competition can continue to expand.

“My goal is to provide a vehicle for students to display their talent,” Larson said. “As a professor, you watch them get really excited about a new opportunity and you know you got it right.”

Visit the SOPHE website to learn more about the public health organization.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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