Montana State University

L&S faculty, staff and students receive college's top awards on April 24

April 1, 2014

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The College of Letters and Science will honor the recipients of the college’s annual awards at a ceremony from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, in SUB Ballrooms B and C.

Gretchen Minton, Department of English, and Michelle Meade, Department of Psychology, will receive the Letters and Science Meritorious Research and Creativity Award.

Minton is a world-class scholar in early modern literature and a rising star in the field of Shakespeare studies. Her new book, “John Bale’s ‘The Image of Both Churches’ was published earlier this year. She also co-edited the Arden edition of “Timon of Athens,” and has had 16 journal articles, book chapters and book reviews/review essays appear in print. For several years, Minton has served as the dramaturg for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, assisting the theater company with research and the development of performances, and the company credits her with bolstering their success in countless ways.

Meade is a pioneer in the area of collaborative memory and is well known for her groundbreaking work on how false memories can be “socially contagious.” Since arriving at MSU, she has published 11 articles in some of the most prestigious journals in her field, and her work has been cited more than 420 times. In 2013, Meade received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Core Award, and she is spending the 2013-2014 academic year working with the Macquarie Center for Cognitive Science at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

Lisa Davis, Department of Mathematics, and Sally Sanchez, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, will receive the Letters and Science Outstanding Teaching Award.

Davis is a highly regarded teacher, as well as an accomplished scholar, with numerous publications and a research-level math book to her credit. The wide range of math courses she has taught at MSU is notable; she has taught 17 different courses with 10 of them at the 400-level or above. She has helped to revamp a graduate-level course with great success, and has received excellent evaluations from her students. Davis has demonstrated her willingness to go the extra mile to ensure student success and enthusiasm in difficult courses, both within and outside of the classroom.

Sanchez is an innovative and highly regarded Spanish instructor. In her nearly nine years of teaching at MSU, she has helped bolster the program’s upper division numbers by inspiring students in the lower division courses to explore the language further. She teaches an impressive four to five courses per semester and consistently earns stellar reviews from her students. Sanchez has been instrumental in making Spanish language education available in the Bozeman community by working with local schools and teaching at the Alliance Française International Language School.

Ashley Rives, Department of English, and Kacey Diemert, Department of Mathematical Sciences, will receive the Letters and Science Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Rives has taught for three semesters in the Department of English. Her colleagues in the department note that she has amassed an extraordinary record of accomplishment in her writing classrooms, professional development as a teacher, and in a wide array of teaching-enhanced positions in both the department and the Writing Center. She receives consistently positive evaluations from her students, and has contributed to curriculum development and assessment protocols throughout the English Department’s entire writing program.

Diemert has been a GTA with the Department of Mathematical Sciences since 2008 and has taught eight different courses. She consistently receives high ratings from students in difficult classes and the students in her sections have had excellent results. In addition to teaching in the classroom, she has taught online courses, a weeklong professional development retreat, and works as an instructional resource for Montana educators. Her colleagues especially appreciate her ability to connect with students and her devotion to student success.

Melanie Baldwin, Department of Earth Sciences, and Mindy Brown, Dean’s Office, College of Letters and Science, will be honored with the Kathy Griffith Employee Excellence Award.

Baldwin has been the “does everything” administrative assistant in the Department of Earth Sciences for nearly four years. Since her initial hire, she has taken on countless extra responsibilities in the department, including the training of faculty and students in DegreeWorks, organizing group advising, building dossiers for prospective graduate students, in addition to many fiscal responsibilities. Her colleagues especially appreciate her leadership, professionalism, character and integrity. Baldwin is commended for improving the efficiency of her department, and doing it all with a smile.

Brown has had the enormous job of being the director for finance and administration for the College of Letters and Science for five years. Her duties range from balancing the budget for all 15 departments in the college, to overseeing personnel matters within the college, to advising the dean, associate deans and department heads in fiscal matters. She is commended for increasing the efficiency of the college’s fiscal system, her skill at training staff in new concepts and, for her patience and approachability.

Dustin Dallman, majoring in history and philosophy and English, and Patrick Murphy, mathematical sciences, will receive the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence. This award is presented to the top two seniors in the college.

During his time at MSU, Dallman has distinguished himself as an exceptional undergraduate scholar and a leader among his peers. He is described as a very focused, smart and motivated student, and several faculty and staff in the Department and History and Philosophy describe him as one of the best philosophy majors the department has ever seen. In addition to maintaining an impressive academic record, Dallman has lectured and given presentations on numerous occasions to both students and professionals.

Murphy has excelled academically in the highly demanding mathematics curriculum. He is applying his talent in mathematics to an ongoing research project on microbial consortia, working with faculty from several MSU departments. In addition to his own excellent scholarship, he volunteers as a tutor at the Math Learning Center and through MSU’s SmartyCats program. Faculty members in the Department of Mathematical Sciences think Murphy has a bright future as a research mathematician and look forward to his contributions to science.

Jody Sanford, 406.994.7791,