Three professors were presented with the College’s top faculty awards at Convocation Sunday.
Nicole Theodosiou, associate professor of biology, is the recipient of the Stillman Prize for Faculty Excellence in Teaching.
Her research interests include evolution and development of the digestive tract in the vertebrate lineage. She studies patterning (how different organs are ordered) and morphogenesis (how organs take on their final shape and function) of the digestive tract in vertebrate embryos and how the digestive tract evolved in the vertebrate lineage over 450 million years.
“Nicole’s students deeply appreciate the work that she puts into making her classes exciting, fun, interesting and enjoyable at the same time that they are challenging,” said Michele Angrist, interim dean of faculty and vice president for Academic Affairs, in presenting the award.
“They also remark on the lengths to which Nicole went, when her courses had to be online, to adjust and innovate her pedagogy to maintain student engagement, excitement and motivation during a very difficult time.”
Theodosiou’s faculty colleagues “share their admiration for the time that she has invested in honing her pedagogy and for the myriad ways that that investment has paid off for students in her classes,” Angrist noted. “They laud her for her commitment to course revision and new course development.”
Theodosiou received her bachelor of arts degree from Swarthmore College and her Ph.D. from Yale University. She joined Union in 2007.
Ann M. Anderson, the Agnes S. MacDonald Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Mary K. Carroll ‘86, the Dwane W. Crichton Professor of Chemistry, are winners of the Stillman Prize for Faculty Excellence in Research.
Anderson and Carroll, co-directors of the College’s Aerogel Lab, have developed a rapid supercritical extraction method for preparing aerogels. Today, they have involved 160 undergraduate STEM majors, 10 high-school students and faculty colleagues from Union and other institutions in research in the fabrication, characterization and application of aerogel materials.
Their work has resulted in three patents, 29 papers in refereed scientific journals, several conference publications and book chapters, and more than 100 presentations at regional, national and international conferences. Recently, they have focused their efforts on the use of aerogels in two areas: catalysts for automotive pollution mitigation and aerogel monoliths for window applications in sustainable buildings.
“Ann and Mary have an outstanding record of high-quality research and are recognized nationally and internationally for their work in the area of aerogel materials,” Angrist said. “They have built a respected aerogel facility at Union as a joint chemistry-mechanical engineering initiative, and they have co-founded a firm to commercialize aerogel technology developed at Union.
“They have contributed to proposals for numerous successful National Science Foundation awards that have supported their work as well the acquisition of research instrumentation for the College. Ann and Mary, it is very clear that your collaborative, interdisciplinary scholarship achieves a high level of excellence and that your colleagues, students and disciplines – and the wider world -- are the better for it.”
Anderson received her bachelor of science degree from Tufts University and her Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Carroll received her bachelor of science degree from Union in 1986 and her Ph.D. from Indiana University.
This is the second time Carroll has received a Stillman Prize. In 1996, she was the first winner of the Stillman Prize for Faculty Excellence in Teaching.
The Stillman Prize for Excellence in Research was first awarded in 2019 to Lori Marso, the Doris Zemurray Stone Professor of Modern Literary and Historical Studies, and professor of political science.
The Stillman prizes were created by Abbott Stillman ’69, David I. Stillman ’72 and Allan Stillman in honor of Abraham Stillman, father and grandfather.