2018 Faculty and Staff Award Recipients

In recognition of the wonderful work the faculty and staff in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences complete each year, we host an annual awards ceremony. The recipients are nominated by their peers or department heads and selected by a faculty committee.

2018 recipients

CNAS recognized outstanding faculty and staff for the seventh year at a reception on May 3, 2018. Each award winner received both a certificate and a small monetary award. We are proud to announce the following award winners for 2018!

Atwood Research and Teaching Award

The Atwood Research and Teaching Award was endowed by Dr. Jerry Atwood, a 1964 graduate of Missouri State University and now an internationally known chemist. He started his career at University of Alabama in 1967 and served as the department head at University of Missouri-Columbia from 1994 to 2016. In addition he was appointed a Curators Professor starting in 1999. The award winner receives a certificate and now $2500 to be spent over the next year on students, research supplies, summer salary or travel.

The 2018 recipient of the Atwood Research and Teaching Award is Kyoungtae Kim from the department of biology.   
Dr. Kim’s research group studies intracellular trafficking systems, using the budding yeast as a model system. He has made significant contributions to our understanding of endocytic pathways, membrane organization, the intracellular trafficking proteins and membranes and nanomaterial trafficking in eukaryotic cells. Understanding these pathways is relevant to understanding Alzheimer’s disorder, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. In the last seven years the group has published 27 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 17 of which are original research articles and 10 of them are reviews. These papers have been cited 374 times by others in the literature so far this year! Dr. Kim has secured nearly a half million dollars in internal and external funding over the past six years in support of his research. Also during the past six years, Dr. Kim has served as major advisor for 18 graduate and 32 undergraduate students and the group has presented 92 times at professional conferences. Dr. Kim received University Foundation Award for Teaching and the Governor’s Award for Teaching in 2016. Dr. Kim’s excellent work in both research and teaching are recognized with this award.

CNAS Excellence Awards for Staff

Robin Powell, administrative assistant for the department of computer science, is described as knowledgeable, efficient and professional. The interim department head states, “Her dependability and self-initiative are so high that I have been able to work with peace of mind, always sure that everything in the department was being done properly and usually ahead of time.” Robin has outstanding communication skills and provides great leadership to the department.

Rachel Rigby, administrative assistant for the department of biology, has rapidly learned the many, varied and challenging duties of her position. Rachel does everything from procurement and budget monitoring to schedule building and departmental communication. Rachel is organized and manages her time well. One faculty member said, “She has a great attitude and tolerates interruptions without complaint.”

CNAS Faculty Excellence in Service Awards

Chris Barnhart, distinguished professor in biology, serves on departmental, college and university committees. He serves as the curator for the Roston Native Butterfly House, and he actively recruits and trains docents for the butterfly house each year. Chris is always ready to answer the media’s questions about butterflies or his research on mussels. He received the Missouri State University Excellence in Community Service Award in 2016.  

John Heywood, professor of biology currently serves on departmental, college and university committees. In particular John has chaired a number of committees over the past two years – the departmental budget committee and environmental/evolution curriculum committees, the CNAS IT committee, and the Faculty Senate Rules Committee.  He also serves as an active member of the Premedical Committee.

CNAS Faculty Excellence in Research Awards

Eric Bosch, distinguished professor of chemistry, published eight peer-reviewed articles with graduate and undergraduate students in the past two years. In addition he and his students have presented at local, regional and national meetings. Eric has current external funding from NSF. Dr. Bosch and his students spend many, many hours using the x-ray diffractometer to determine structures. Recent titles of publications include Synthesis and crystal structures of two purpurin derivatives and Unexpected beauty and diversity in the structures of three 4,5-dialkoxy-1-ethynyl-2-nitrobenzenes.

Razib Iqbal, assistant professor computer science, joined the department in 2015. Razib has worked with twelve undergraduate students and four graduate students on projects. Students have been coauthors on over half of the peer-reviewed international journal articles and international conference articles published in the last two years. His research includes the study of the internet of things (IoT) along with collaborations in physics, chemistry and geospatial sciences. Razib has received external funding from the NASA Missouri Space Grant Consortium, Microsoft and Google.

Steven Senger, assistant professor of mathematics, joined the department in 2014. Since that time he has had six original research articles accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Steven is currently working with a team in the department on a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grant funded program through NSF. In addition to the students who come each summer, Steven works with students during the academic year on undergraduate research projects. Steven has collaborations with his colleagues in mathematics as well as with faculty in other departments in CNAS.

CNAS Faculty Excellence in Teaching Awards

Tony Clark, assistant professor of computer science, joined the faculty in 2016. He immediately established himself as an excellent teacher as evidenced were by very high student course evaluations. Tony mentors students individually by helping them prepare for job interviews and graduate school applications. He uses a number of tools that allow for students to get immediate feedback such as Gradescope and AutoGradr. So far he has taught three different courses and is now teaching a new graduate level course in robotics. 

Paul Durham, distinguished professor of biology, received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2017. Paul teaches everything from large sections of freshman biology to small lecture discussion sections at the graduate level. The small discussion courses explore special topics such as epigenetics and diabetes. Paul also actively involves many students (both graduate and undergraduate) in his active research lab and also serves as advisor for over 40 biology students.

Janice Greene, professor biology, teaches everything from science methods classes for future teachers to ornithology to environmental education. Janice currently has just over 70 advisees. Her classes integrate real world examples including social and political issues into class discussions. Outside the classroom Janice consistently mentors a large number of graduate and undergraduate students. Her bird monitoring surveys at Bull Shoals Field Station provide many opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in a long-term national program while also learning about relevant sampling and bird biology. 

Patrick Sullivan, assistant professor mathematics, has taken on the responsibility for developing new curricula for the secondary mathematics methods courses. He teaches probability and statistics for teachers (MTH343) each semester with consistently high evaluations. Patrick has had internal and external funding for professional development of teachers. His excellence in teaching is recognized around the state as he was awarded the 2017 MCTM Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year!

Jeff Thomas, associate teaching professor in the cooperative engineering program, has been teaching in Springfield since 2014, although he has been with Missouri S&T since 1996 – starting as a lecturer. Jeff teaches the Mechanics of Materials course each semester. In addition he developed courses in steel structural design, wood structural design, construction materials and low rise building construction. Jeff is the cooperative engineering program’s expert in structural design and he advises the students who choose to do structural design for their senior design project.


CNAS Student Nominated Awards for Faculty/Staff Excellence

Ten faculty were nominated by students for this award and the nominees included: Dr. Katy Frederick-Hudson (BIO), Dr. La Toya Kissoon-Charles (BIO), Dr. Katye Fichter (CHM), Dr. Gary Meints, (CHM), Dr. Matt Siebert (CHM), Dr. Razib Iqbal (CSC), Dr. Matt McKay (GGP), Dr. Jorge Rebaza (MTH), Dr. Mark Rogers (MTH), Dr. Dave Cornelison (PAMS).

In the words of the students, these faculty/staff truly understand the power of knowledge and they are always willing to help. They provide a learning environment where every student has the potential to succeed. One student also said that the nominee was the most effective teacher that he had ever had! In addition, everyone used the word “passion” in their nomination. The students chose four award winners this year.

Dave Cornelison – Students said that Dr. Cornelison was an inspiration and always willing to listen and help a student succeed.

Katye Fichter – Students nominated Dr. Fichter for being engaging in the classroom and taking the time to listen and answer questions and mentor students.

Razib Iqbal – Students nominated Dr. Iqbal for being proactive and letting students know about unique opportunities – inside and outside the formal classroom, and for setting a good example on how to manage one's time.

La Toya Kissoon-Charles - One student said, “She is the most attentive and open-minded professor that I have had the opportunity to work with.” Another said that she is an excellent example for women in science.