Montana State University

MSU professors receive national recognition as inspiring women in STEM

August 24, 2015 -- Jodi Hausen for the MSU News Service

Julia Hobson Haggerty, an assistant professor of geography in the College of Letters and Science, has been selected by a national magazine as a recipient of its 100 Inspiring Women in STEM Award. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.Sarah Codd, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering in the College of Engineering, has been selected by a national magazine as a recipient of its 100 Inspiring Women in STEM Award. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

Julia Hobson Haggerty, an assistant professor of geography in the College of Letters and Science, has been selected by a national magazine as a recipient of its 100 Inspiring Women in STEM Award. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

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BOZEMAN - Two Montana State University professors have been selected by a national magazine as recipients of its 100 Inspiring Women in STEM Award.

Sarah Codd, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering in the College of Engineering, and Julia Hobson Haggerty, an assistant professor of geography in the College of Letters and Science, are featured in the September issue of INSIGHT into Diversity as a tribute to their success as women working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The award is presented to 100 women nationally whose work and achievements not only encourage others in their fields, but also inspire a new generation of young women to consider careers in STEM.

Codd and Haggerty credit their success to the support they've received from MSU, particularly the ADVANCE Project TRACS (Transformation through Relatedness, Autonomy and Competence Support) program, which works to broaden the participation of women faculty in STEM and in underrepresented areas of social and behavioral science on the university’s campus. It was ADVANCE's project manager who nominated them for the award.

“I feel humbled to have been nominated by the folks in ADVANCE because they are the people who inspire me through their dedication to the advancement of female faculty in STEM,” said Codd.

Haggerty agreed, saying, “I have been the recipient of a huge amount of support from many corners of the institution; support that has made me feel empowered and excited about the many opportunities in academia rather than defeated by its many challenges.

“This award is first and foremost a recognition of the successful efforts made by the Earth sciences department, the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and the ADVANCE Project TRACS program to be proactive about issues facing women in STEM disciplines,” she added.

In addition to her work as a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, Haggerty also holds an appointment with the Montana Institute on Ecosystems. The institute is a community of Montana scholars studying Western landscapes to understand complex ecosystems including their interconnectedness with people and nature.

Codd, co-director of MSU's Magnetic Resonance Laboratory, has been awarded several National Science Foundation awards, including a $400,000 NSF Career Award in 2007. The award is given to support the early career development of teacher-scholars, and it is considered one of NSF's most prestigious distinctions.

Codd’s research has involved studying molecular dynamics in colonies of bacteria known as biofilms. Through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) microscopy, Codd hopes to discover answers to some vital questions about the function of biofilms, which are the cause of oral plaque and persistent infections in catheters, medical implants and lungs, as well as a better understanding of how biofilms can be used beneficially to remove or contain contaminants in the subsurface.

After working six years as a research associate with consulting group Headwaters Economics, Haggerty joined the MSU faculty in 2013.

In the past year, Haggerty received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to study how local communities can maximize benefits from energy development, co-authored a study published in the April 24 edition of Science on oil and gas development's impact on North American ecosystems, was an invited speaker at a White House workshop on climate change and created three innovative new courses for MSU.

Lindsay Murdock, project manager for ADVANCE Project TRACS, nominated the professors.

“Dr. Codd has been an incredible resource to all women in the College of Engineering since she began her time at MSU,” Murdock wrote. “Every few weeks she organizes an informal networking session for women faculty in the College of Engineering to meet and discuss their research, their concerns and their accomplishments.”

Murdock added that Codd also works closely with all the young women students in the College of Engineering, and the students she mentors win internal and external awards annually.

Of Haggerty, Murdock wrote, “Dr. Haggerty's strong passion for teaching and integrating energy literacy into college education is demonstrated in all that she does ... Dr. Haggerty is a perfect role model for new women in STEM.”

Haggerty's passion for teaching is clear.

“I absolutely love teaching and love mentoring young people,” she said. “That's where you really make a difference. Only a certain number of people will read your academic papers, but when you instill skills on future generations it has a real impact.”

Contact: Anne Cantrell, MSU News Service, (406) 994-4902 or anne.cantrell@montana.edu