Montana State University

Ten receive awards at 2015 College of Letters and Science awards ceremony

April 24, 2015

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Several members of the MSU College of Letters and Science  faculty, staff and students received college awards at a ceremony held on April 23.

Patricia Simpson, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and Patrik Callis, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, received the Letters and Science Meritorious Research and Creativity Award.

Simpson is a world-class scholar of German language, history and culture. She has published three books with another in the works, four co-edited books, and one special journal issue, as well as 45 peer-reviewed articles. Her colleagues note the great range of her work, from German Romanticism and philosophy to contemporary German street culture and the new German culture of immigration. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, award nominations and fellowships, including the 2013 best essay award from the Goethe Society of North America.

Callis has been performing research of the very highest caliber at MSU for almost 47 years. He is an internationally recognized physical chemist engaged in experimental and theoretical studies of the electronic structure of dyes and biological chromosphores. His work has produced 108 publications in prestigious journals, including four in 2014 and one already in 2015, and 162 presentations. Callis has also been very successful throughout his career of securing federal grant funding from sources such as the NIH and NSF, which has brought visibility and prestige to MSU.

Scott Myers, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Veronica Baker, Department of Mathematical Sciences, received the Letters and Science Outstanding Teaching Award.

Myers teaches a great variety of courses for his department, including core courses in the sociology major, at both the lower and upper levels. He is known for using a variety of techniques in the classroom, including classroom discussions, panel presentations and debates, to inspire his students to become critical thinkers and independent learners. Even though his courses are rigorous, he consistently receives excellent student evaluations. His students also rave about his excellent work as an advisor, and he has actively mentored many students for independent study projects.

Baker also teaches a wide variety of courses for her department, including courses in calculus, algebra and statistics at the introductory and intermediate levels. She serves as the student success coordinator for Calculus I where her teaching experiences have been invaluable in an effort to revamp and improve the course. She is committed to student success, and incorporates a variety of teaching techniques and tools to accommodate different academic levels and learning styles. Her excellent reputation as a teacher means that her sections are always in high demand.

Jacob Henan, Department of English, and Elizabeth Arnold, Department of Mathematical Sciences, received the Letters and Science Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Henan has taught for three semesters in the English department. His colleagues in the department note that he excels at creating a classroom that makes the sharing and public reading of students’ work comfortable, and he has developed novel and interesting ways of presenting course materials. He has also made considerable contributions outside of the classroom by jumping at any and every opportunity to assist in curriculum and instructor development, including work as a GTA Teaching Counselor and volunteering as a reader for the department’s first-ever WRIT 101 learning assessment.

Arnold has taught six different math, math education and statistics courses during her time in the math department. Her colleagues note that she excels at connecting with her students across a wide variety of courses, and receives extremely high evaluations while maintaining high standards. She serves the department in many ways, including expanding mentoring connections between college and elementary students, leading the development of a GTA training and mentoring program, and leading a mathematics session for middle school girls for the Expanding Your Horizons program. 

Kim Sinrud, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Sarah Miller, Dean’s Office, College of Letters and Science, were honored with the Kathy Griffith Employee Excellence Award.

As the chemistry department’s administrative manager Sinrud leads the department’s front office team. Her organizational skills and meticulous attention to detail is evident in the excellent work she does handling appointment and payroll paperwork and balancing the department’s budget each fiscal year. She also oversees course registration and enrollment management for 20,000 student credit hours. Where she really shines is in her work assisting students, helping them rearrange their schedules or get into the right classes in a caring and compassionate manner. 

In her position as assistant to the dean, Miller has been an invaluable member of the Dean’s Office for over seven years. In addition to service in her role as the executive assistant to Dean Rae, Miller is often seen as the expert in all things CLS. Departments seek her insight, as she can always be trusted to handle difficult situations with aplomb and professionalism. She is becoming the college’s point person in HR and personnel issues, and is often called upon for both her knowledge and decorum in handling sensitive employee issues. Miller is able to approach difficult situations with an open mind, which allows her to develop creative solutions helping to increase the overall efficiency and success of the college as a whole.

Finally, Patrick Anthony, History and Philosophy, and Emma Hannigan, Chemistry and Biochemistry, received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence. This award is presented to the top two seniors in the college.

During his time at MSU, Anthony has distinguished himself as an exceptional undergraduate scholar and a leader among his peers. He is described as an insightful, disciplined, passionate and creative student, and several faculty and staff in the Department and History and Philosophy describe him as one of the best history majors the department has ever seen. In addition to maintaining an impressive academic record, he volunteers for the Tias y Tios English Education Program and mentors local middle school and high school students. He is currently studying abroad in Germany. 

Hannigan has excelled academically in the highly demanding chemistry curriculum while also completing the requirements of an honors degree in the Honors College. She has also excelled at undergraduate research, and was selected to participate in the Undergraduate Scholars Program, the Hughes Scholars Program and the Howard Hughes Complex Biological Systems Summer Undergraduate Research Program. She volunteers on and off campus in a variety of programs, including the CARS Literacy Program and working in 6th grade science classes in local schools.

Jody Sanford, 994-7791, jody.sanford@montana.edu