CLS Award Recipients - 2020
Dean's Award for Academic Excellence
Anna French, from Plymouth, Minnesota, is a dual major in organismal biology and biochemistry, crafting her studies around whole organisms from the molecular to species’ community population level. She has conducted undergraduate research focusing on invasive aquatic species and national studies on the global environmental impacts of changing carbon dioxide levels. In spring 2018, French earned an Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and then spent the summer at the Howard Marine Sciences Lab in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, putting her studies to work studying effects of ossification on Atlantic silverside. Aside from academics, French is a talented cross country and track athlete at MSU and president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee who helped develop the Cats Connected group that promotes mental health and success for student athletes.
Hannah Telling, from Dillon, Montana, spent the fall of 2017 at Abo Akademi University in Vaasa, Finland, where studies in education and peace, mediation and conflict research would help inform a curriculum she developed focused on social justice issues and incorporated texts from Native American authors, specifically those from her native Montana. While working toward her English Teaching degree at MSU, Telling was a Writing Center peer tutor, an Honors College ambassador, and a Presidential Scholar who was on the President’s Honor Roll every semester, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. In October 2019, she was the keynote speaker at a national conference on peer tutoring. She recently finished her student teaching at Belgrade High School, where she continued to develop curriculum around her passion for sharing diverse voices. She will continue her journey as a Fulbright scholar in Serbia.
Letters and Science Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
Nnamdi Kalu, is an empathetic teacher and student mentor for students in Writing 101. He creates a personalized classroom environment, drawing from his experience as an international student to lead others in examinations of complex social and political issues that surface in writing courses. He takes on extra work in allowing students multiple revisions, but is determined to draw the best work from each of them. His classes are engaging and compelling. Kalu has also made his mark at MSU in other ways, especially in support of international students. He is the secretary and public relations officer of the African Students Association and has helped other groups organize and articulate their missions. In each endeavor, he makes the students feel hears and respected.
Letters and Science Outstanding Teaching Award
A graduate of Idaho State University with a doctorate in sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Dr. Colter Ellis has been on the faculty at MSU since 2014 as an assistant professor of sociology. His teaching interests include sociological theory, gender studies, animals and society, and social psychology. Students have said Ellis challenges their ways of thinking, combining the foundations of sociology with modern examples for context. He is able to rephrase concepts to provide a broad understanding that creates a foundation for further study. His classes are challenging and rewarding. Beyond the classroom, Ellis provides numerous students with opportunities for hands-on research and authoring experience. He is co-founder of the Secondary Trauma Learning Lab and his research with survivors of sexual assault has led to the development of new courses and a broader sociological understanding.
Charles (Bill) McLaughlin
Letters and Science Meritorious Research and Creativity Award
Dr. Billy Smith joined the faculty at MSU after receiving his doctorate in history from UCLA in 1981. In the nearly 40 years at MSU, Smith has become one of the Department of History and Philosophy’s most distinguished and prolific scholars. He has authored nine books and been involved with a vast number of other articles, publications and reviews on early American and revolutionary history, with focuses on slavery and diseases in history. One of his digital maps tracking African American households in early Philadelphia has been part of the permanent exhibit of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C. Smith’s list of awards is also extensive, and includes numerous honors at MSU the Norris and Carol Hundley Award for the most distinguished book on any historical topic by a historian living in the West from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association.
Kathy Griffith Employee Excellence Award
In two years as its program manager, Jennifer Storment has become the face of the Liberal Studies program at MSU, the university’s only interdisciplinary undergraduate program. She has become an expert at juggling the various needs of the students and administration while working with faculty across departments. Storment is known for her depth of knowledge of the program as well as a professional kindness and knack for problem-solving. She exemplifies a commitment to the mission of the College of Letters and Science, especially during times of departmental transition, and has become vital to the annual budgeting process. In 2018, she juggled two positions while creating trainings the impending hire. For 2020, she has taken on a new role within MSU’s CORE Revitalization. No matter what she tackles, Storment brings excellence to each aspect of her position.