Science takes top honors at University Day

Oregon State University ushered in the new academic year with the 2016 University Day celebrating the outstanding achievements and service of  faculty, advisors, graduate students and staff on Monday, September 19.

Faculty, graduate students and advisors in the College of Science received five of the university’s most prestigious awards for exceptional teaching, advising, promising research and scholarship.

“I am extremely proud of our excellent and dedicated faculty, graduate students and advisors,” said Sastry G. Pantula, Dean fo the College of Science. “They have advanced OSU’s goals of excellence in research, transformative student experiences and student success.”

Congratulations to the following College of Science faculty, advisors and students who received the following honors at University Day 2016:

The OSU Faculty Teaching Excellence Award honors unusually significant and meritorious achievement in teaching and scholarship which enhances effective instruction. This year Devon Quick, a senior instructor in Integrative Biology, received the honor.

Widely commended for her teaching of biology, human anatomy and physiology courses by her students and colleagues, Quick has taken her dedication to student learning one step further. In collaboration with fellow biology instructor Lindsay Biga, Quick is adapting a biology textbook that will be freely accessible to OSU students and learners worldwide in fall 2017. Developed through a $30,000 open textbook project award, the open source textbook will save students approximately $100,000 on textbooks annually.


The OSU Academic Advising Award recognizes undergraduate academic advising by professional faculty rank as well as fixed-term academic rank faculty whose primary role is advising and acknowledges advising as a profession making a pivotal contribution to the OSU community. The 2016 recipient is Brock McLeod, chief academic advisor for the School of Life Sciences. A chief advisor in the department of integrative biology for 14 years, McLeod has been recognized for his role in positively influencing and monitoring student academic success and promoting new and innovative programs that promote student success and development.


The 2016 Promising Scholar Award, which recognizes scholarship of junior faculty, was awarded to Chong Fangan associate professor in chemistry. The award honors the high level of accomplishment by a junior faculty in a relatively short period of time at OSU, and who is also expected to continue his/her extraordinary work.

Fang’s research at the intersection of chemistry, physics and biology has garnered national and international recognition and awards. In addition to the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, Fang has received numerous high-profile awards this past year, including: the Oregon Medical Research Foundation (MRF) New Investigator Award, the Robin Hochstrasser Young Investigator Award by Elsevier and Chemical Physics, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Emerging Scholar Award. Read more.


The OSU Impact Award for Outstanding Scholarship recognizes faculty who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship in a specific project or activity resulting in substantial impact beyond the university setting. This year’s honoree is Rebecca Vega Thurberassociate professor in microbiology.

Vega Thurber, a coral microbiologist,  has pioneered research aimed at protecting marine biodiversity with a special focus on highly endangered coral reefs. Her team’s three-year field experiment on a coral reef in the Florida Keys uncovered the crucial role that fishes play in protecting coral reefs. “We also discovered that these fishes together with clean water may be a vital buffer against the coral disease and decline caused by climate change-induced warming ocean waters,” wrote Vega Thurber in an article published in The World Economic Forum.


The Herbert F. Frolander Graduate Teaching Assistant Award recognizes graduate students who have excelled in their capacity as teaching assistants. This year the honor went to Andrew Stickel, a graduate teaching assistant in physics.

He also received the Department of Physics’ Peter Fontana Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award in 2011-2012. The award recognizes excellence in conveying physics concepts and analytical and laboratory skills effectively to students, in demonstrating mastery of physics subject matter, and engaging in professional development activities that foster excellence in graduate teaching. Stickel recently defended his dissertation and earned his doctorate in physics.


OSU President Edward Ray kicked off University Day followed by Faculty Senate President Kate Halischak, who welcomed faculty, staff and students. The keynote speaker was Carmen Suarez, Vice President for Global Diversity and Inclusion at Portland State University. He spoke on “Present Day Activism in Higher Education: What are we hearing, what are we learning, what are we feeling, what are we willing to do?”

Other events included the 2016 University Day OSU Expo designed to showcase the work and opportunities provided by units at OSU to fellow staff and faculty as well as a free lunch for attendees.

Read about College of Science awards from University Day 2015.

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