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Dean of Science Meigan Aronson addresses the crowd at the 2015 Faculty-Staff Meeting and Awards Presentation, held Wednesday, Oct. 21 in Hawking Auditorium.

COLLEGE STATION --

Nine faculty, staff and students within the Texas A&M University College of Science were recognized for recent outstanding accomplishments by Dean Meigan Aronson at the college's annual Faculty-Staff Meeting and Awards Presentation last Wednesday (Oct. 21).

The ceremony, which honors college award recipients and serves as a forum for new faculty and staff introductions, was held in the Stephen W. Hawking Auditorium inside the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy.

Tatiana L. Erukhimova (phyiscs and astronomy), David L. Manuel (mathematics), Ursula Mueller-Harknett (statistics) and Daniel A. Singleton (chemistry) were honored as recipients of The Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement College-Level Awards in Teaching for 2015 for their commitment to education and contributions to their respective disciplines. Each honoree was awarded a framed certificate commemorating the occasion and a $2,000 check from The Association.

Stephen Fulling (mathematics) and Kaitlyn Phillipson (mathematics) were honored with the college's Undergraduate Research Mentoring Awards. Established in 2014, the award recognizes faculty members and graduate students for their dedication, enthusiasm, accomplishments, and contributions in mentoring undergraduate researchers. Each received a $500 check and a plaque of appreciation.

Staff members Will Bailey (biology), Judy Muzny (mathematics) and Monique Reed (biology) were presented with 2015 Outstanding Staff Achievement Awards. Established in 1995, the award commends the dedication, enthusiasm and accomplishments of staff throughout the college. Each received a plaque and a $500 check, also funded by The Association.

Bailey, an academic business administrator II in the Department of Biology with nearly five years of service to the college, is responsible for all accounting, managerial and management-related functions within Texas A&M Biology. He oversees all accounts as well as a staff of nine throughout the department and also serves as Biology's liaison to the Dean's Office for all fiscal, budget and administrative matters. Both his nomination packet and the fact that he earned a similar award in his department last year indicate that Bailey is well-liked, highly valued and roundly respected as much for what he does as for how he does it. "Will's capacity to listen attentively and come up with effective solutions is widely acknowledged and appreciated, and he makes the daily routine much easier for faculty and staff alike," says one support letter. Another states, "Will has many wonderful traits, one of the most impressive being his consummate kindness and compassion. He is always welcoming and never without a smile on his face." A third colleague says, "Every new faculty, staff and student who needs an answer to a question will repeatedly hear, 'Go see Will for that.' I was no exception. Will went above and beyond to help ease my transition to Texas A&M University. . . . There is no better feeling, especially coming to a new and unknown environment." This individual goes on to say, "In many ways, Will's exemplary professionalism has probably created more work for him. I suspect that many of my colleagues (as do I) go to Will for everything, even though there are staff assigned to specific duties. This is because Will makes everyone feel that they are important, and that their questions and concerns are a priority."

Muzny, an academic advisor I in the Department of Mathematics with 17 years of service to the college, manages the Mathematics Distance Master's Program Office and other administrative duties within the department. She serves as the primary academic advisor for all distance students, a capacity in which she directly works with hundreds of prospective online graduate students each year -- people she will likely never meet in person. As "Graduate Mother," she makes a point to personally consult with and get to know each student. In the process, she serves as a pseudo master of triage, deftly working to identify the next semester's course offerings based on student input and also suggesting faculty members best suited to teach each course. In addition, she works with departmental information technology staff to ensure that final oral exams go off without a hitch despite the obvious challenges and occasional patience-testing technical difficulties that can and do occur. Sometimes, it's the students who throw her a curve, as evidenced this past spring when the department's oldest distance student, 74-year-old Lorenzo Gordon, wanted to take his final exam in person. Gordon recalls that "Judy's 'Aggieness' really shined" that day. In addition to securing the usual paperwork, committee approvals and exam room, Judy had arranged a visitor parking spot for Gordon behind the Blocker Building. Arriving on campus and finding the spot occupied, Gordon opted to park at a restaurant across the street. "When I told her where I had left my car, she said it was in danger of being towed," he writes. "I hurried back to get the car and, on driving back into the Blocker lot, there was Judy, standing in a now-vacant math spot. . . . That was just the start of how Judy made me feel comfortable on what could have been a stressful day. After my exam, Judy personally introduced me to the head of the department and even the dean. All in all, it was a very memorable day, and my car was not towed!"

Reed, a technical laboratory coordinator in biology with 30 years of service to the college, has been responsible since 2012 for the behind-the-scenes operations of Biology's lower division instruction program. She handles all logistical and preparation operations for all five freshman biology laboratory courses that serve more than 4,500 students and 2,500 individual laboratory classes each year. In essence, that means ordering materials, supervising four full-time lab technicians and maintaining quality control for 17 laboratories and prep rooms. Reed also oversees the lab requirement for the department's "Methods of Teaching Biology Laboratory" graduate course, serves on the Laboratory Safety Committee, and helps assess and improve lab manuals as well as overall course content. "Monique regularly goes above and beyond expectations and is amazing at seeing technical problems in the program before they occur and then efficiently getting them resolved," her nominator writes. Reed seamlessly transitioned into her current job three years ago after serving for a quarter-century as the herbarium botanist -- a role in which she singlehandedly grew and maintained an outstanding collection of Texas flora as an integral component of Texas A&M Biology's botany program. When it became clear that research directions had changed, Reed helped write a successful proposal to the National Science Foundation to merge the herbarium with another on campus, ensuring that her hard work would continue to benefit both Texas A&M University and the broader profession. "I suspect that it is because Monique and the herbarium were out of sight that her excellent and loyal service went largely unrecognized for so long," added her nominator. Until 2014, that is, when she earned one of the department's two Outstanding Staff Awards (the other going to Will Bailey).

In addition to Dean Aronson and Texas A&M Science associate deans recognizing all award winners, heads of each of the college's five departments (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, and Statistics) introduced their respective new faculty. Aronson then delivered a State of the College address to conclude the ceremony.

A reception honoring all award winners and new faculty and staff was held following the presentation in foyer of the Mitchell Institute.

Click here to see additional photographs from the event.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dean Meigan Aronson (left) and Association of Former Students Vice President Kathryn Greenwade '88 (right) pose with 2015 Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement College-Level Award in Teaching winners (from left) David L. Manuel, instructional assistant professor of mathematics; Daniel A. Singleton, professor of chemistry; Ursula Mueller-Harknett, professor of statistics; and Tatiana L. Erukhimova, senior lecturer of physics and astronomy.

  • Mathematician Stephen Fulling (center), pictured with Dean Aronson (left) and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and College Climate Ginger E. Carney (right), earned the college's 2015 Undergraduate Research Mentoring Awards, established in 2014 to recognize the important investment both faculty and graduate students make in the future of scientific research.

  • Dean Aronson congratulates mathematics graduate student Kaitlyn Phillipson on her 2015 Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award.

  • (From left:) The Department of Mathematics' Judy Muzny and the Department of Biology's Will Bailey and Monique Reed received the college's highest awards for staff in 2015 in recognition of their diligent work in their respective units.

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