Montana State University

Six from MSU's College of Letters and Science win awards

June 22, 2005 -- from MSU News Service

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Bozeman - Six members of the faculty and staff in the College of Letters and Science at Montana State University received awards during ceremonies held recently.

Yves Idzerda, physics, received the Letters and Science Dean's Award for Meritorious Research. Idzerda is recognized as one of the world leaders in the field of nanomagnetism. Prior to joining the MSU faculty in 2000, Idzerda was a researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. Idzerda is currently organizing and finding funding for the new Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials at MSU.

Michael Reidy, history and philosophy, and Angie Sower, chemistry and biochemistry, received the Letters and Science Teaching Awards.

Reidy's specialty is the history of science and technology. He helped established the Science, Environment, Technology, and Society option in MSU's Department of History and Philosophy. He was also co-principal investigator on a $300,000 training and research grant from the National Science Foundation to bolster the history department's new Ph.D. program. Reidy is the co-author of "Science and Exploration," which will be published in December. It explores the mutually dependent relationship between science and exploration.

Sower is an adjunct faculty member who teaches introductory chemistry to about 500-600 students per semester. In two years, more than 1,500 MSU students have enrolled in her lecture courses--about 2/3 of an entering freshman class. Sower's research interest is neurobiology.

Julia Sharp, mathematics, won the Letters and Science Graduate Teaching Award. It is the third year that a mathematics graduate teaching assistant has won the award. Her students had the highest average score on the department's common semester final.

Rose Waldon, physics, and Jim Burns, Native American Studies, received the Letters and Science Employee Excellence Awards.

Waldon, administrative associate in the Physics Department, is said to be the "nexus of operations" in a department that includes about 50 faculty members, 50 graduate students, 100 majors, and countless non-major physics students.

Burns is the counselor and adviser for the MSU American Indian Council and is an advocate for MSU Indian students. He administers a tutorial program for native students, initiated an early grade alert system and a short-term loan program, instituted a peer advising program and established a weekly "Talking Circle." He also helps recruit and retain Indian students. Last year 53 new Indian students enrolled in MSU, a university record. Burns also was personally responsible for raising more than $40,000 in scholarship funds for native students in the past two years, providing financial assistance to 38 students.

Contact: Sarah Alexander (406) 994-9288, Alexander@montana.edu