It was a double memorable year for ornithologist and animal behavior specialist Dr. Lindsey Walters. Wilson Ornithological Society 2020 Jed Burtt Undergraduate Mentoring Grant to support undergraduate research with Chrisula Stone and the 2020 NKU Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award.
Dr. Denice Robertson is the principle investigator on a major National Science Foundation grant to expand NKU's Project SOAR, which supports under-represented students in STEM disciplines. The program began in Fall 2019 and will award 144 scholarships over the next four years. Dr. Robertson was also named co-director of NKU's new Center for Teaching and Learning, which was instrumental in helping faculty adapt when the COVID-19 pandemic forced all Spring Semester classes online.
Dr. Mike Scola received the 2020 Michael C.C. Adams and Susan S. Adams Outstanding Non-Tenure Track Faculty Member Award. Since 2003, Dr. Scola has taught thousands of biology majors and pre-nursing students taking Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II. His impact on future health professionals has been profound as he has modeled best practices in ethical, state-of-the-art, compassionate care. He is a unique faculty member who has contributed greatly to the success of students within the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences while also playing a key role in the development and success of graduate programs in the College of Health and Human Services.
The Environmental Science Program, under the leadership of Dr. Kristy Hopfensperger, received the 2020 NKU Academic Unit Excellence in Career and Community Engagement Award. The Awards Selection Committee expressed "their sincere admiration and praise for your efforts in contributing to the economic, social, and civic prosperity of the region through talent development, research and innovation, and the stewardship of place." The award includes $5,000 to help support the program and its nearly 100 students. Dr. Hopfensperger noted that both the B.A. and B.S. Environmental Science degree programs emphasize career and person development by incorporating multiple service learning opportunities, experiential learning and skills development.
The 2019-2020 academic year was an especially busy and noteworthy one for Dr. Chris Curran, director of the new Neuroscience Program. She was elected President of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention and organized the society's 2019 Annual Meeting. The Society of Toxicology appointed her to lead its new FUTURE Committee (Faculty United for Undergraduate Toxicology Recruitment and Education) and awarded her the 2020 Bruce A. Fowler Undergraduate Educator Award. She also received a major National Institutes of Health grant to study genetic susceptibility to traffic related air pollution.