2012 CUR Fellows Award Recognizes Excellence in Undergraduate Research
The Council on Undergraduate Research presented Kerry Karukstis, Joseph B. Platt Chair in Effective Teaching and Professor of Chemistry at Harvey Mudd College and Dr. Joyce Kinkead, Professor of English and Associate Vice President for Research
Utah State University, the CUR Fellows awards at the 2012 CUR, in June, at The College of New Jersey.
The CUR Fellows Awards are presented to two CUR members who have developed nationally respected research programs involving undergraduate students. Each CUR Fellow is also awarded a CUR Student Research Fellowship that they will give to a deserving undergraduate at their respective institutions. CUR Fellows Award recipients have established outstanding records of obtaining funding for their collaborative research with their students, and have published research findings with undergraduate co-authors. They reach out to students of all backgrounds, incorporate research activities into the courses they teach, and lead efforts to institutionalize research on their campuses and across the nation. In sum, they are leaders and role models for countless faculty and students. CUR Fellows Awards are made possible by the generous contributions of LI-COR Biosciences.
Joseph B. Platt Chair in Effective Teaching, Professor of Chemistry
Harvey Mudd College
Dr. Kerry Karukstis received both her BS and PhD degrees from Duke University in 1977 and 1981, respectively. In 1984, following postdoctoral work at UC-Berkeley, she joined Harvey Mudd College as a junior faculty and moved through the ranks to become a professor of Chemistry in 1993 and the Joseph B. Platt Chair in Effective Teaching in 2009. In 2010, Dr. Karukstis was elected to serve as Chair of the Faculty at Harvey Mudd, a position she still holds. Her philosophy about undergraduate research reflects her outstanding teacher/scholar character and is summed up in her own words: "All students – chemistry and non-chemistry majors and students ranging from first-year to seniors – have been welcomed in my laboratory during both academic year and the summer months. Not only do these students work collaboratively with me to conduct our research investigations, they also participate in the dissemination of our results."
Over the last 27 years, Dr. Karukstis has mentored the research work of over 100 students and has published 34 peer-reviewed publications in high quality scientific journals, 90% of them coauthored with undergraduate researchers. She also supervised the research work of more than 50 senior research theses. Her high level of scholarship was evident from the start of her academic career, as indicated by the number of prestigious research grants she was able to secure to support her laboratory activities. Over the course of her career, Dr. Karukstis has been able to secure $2.2 million dollars from private and federal funding agencies, including the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, Research Corporation, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. These multiple awards allowed her to support her students with summer stipends while equipping her research laboratory with modern instrumentation.
Dr. Karukstis research interests involve the use of spectroscopic and light scattering techniques for characterization of structure and properties of surfactant aggregates and macromolecular host-guest systems. Her passion for undergraduate research is also reflected in the classroom, where she teaches a difficult subject, physical chemistry. As expressed by a former student, "I remember when we would work on concepts and she would write examples out and then let me take that piece of paper with me. They seem like such a little things- being available to talk and listen or giving a student a piece of paper with some notes- but those things made a huge difference in my life." Similarly, two former students and members of her group wrote that their undergraduate research experience and their close interactions with Dr. Karukstis inspired them to choose Chemistry as their professional discipline. They added "her enthusiastic, engaging teaching style, her patience in teaching and guiding students new to research, and her ability to explain difficult concepts were irresistible."
Undergraduates under Dr. Karukstis’ mentorship received a number of important awards, including prestigious NSF pre-doctoral fellowships, and had the opportunity to present their research work in multiple disciplinary conferences. Dr. Karukstis’ inspiring style was best described by a former student who is now a PUI faculty member: "She inspired me to follow in her footsteps. Every day I try to pay what she taught me forward. I wrote in my applications to graduate schools that if I could turn out even half good as Kerry, I would be satisfied and I’m working on it everyday." Another student shared the same sentiment and wrote: "She has all of the best qualities one should seek when looking for a professor who is dedicated to pedagogy, laboratory, and the consequences both have on one’s future career."
Dr. Karukstis’ service to the scientific community has also been exemplary. She served five consecutive terms as a Councilor for the CUR Chemistry Division before becoming Emeritus Councilor in 2009. As a Councilor she had the opportunity to serve in a number of important leadership roles and served terms as the chair of the Chemistry Division (2001-2003), co-chair of the Nominations Committee (2008-2010), co-chair of the 2006 CUR National Meeting, CUR Secretary (2005-2006), CUR President (2007-2008), and member of the executive board (2001-2003, 2005-2009). In these capacities, she served as a co-PI for CUR’s successful NSF-CCLI Phase 2 and Phase 3 grants aimed at help institutionalize undergraduate research activities in colleges and universities across the country. Her endless work for CUR earned her Volunteer of the Year awards twice, in 2004 and 2010.
The National Science Foundation also recognized Dr. Karukstis’ outstanding scientific work and invited her to join the prestigious NSF Chemistry Division Committee of Visitors (2009-2010), a thirty-member committee that evaluates integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness of the Chemistry Division’s activities and processes. As noted by one of her CUR Chemistry colleagues "her appointment with the committee of visitors is quite an honor for someone from an undergraduate institution, and is a testament to her reputation within the chemistry community." In addition to this outstanding service, she was invited to be part of countless review panels for a number of NSF programs, including the Research Experience for Undergraduates, the former Physical Chemistry program within the Chemistry Division, the Research Sites for Educators program, the Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement program and the ADVANCE program for increasing participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. Dr. Karukstis also served two terms as a member of the Beckman Scholars Program Advisory Panel (2000-2001, 2004-2006).
Dr. Karukstis is also committed to help advance the career of academic women at primarily undergraduate institutions. In this role, she has led a collaborative effort funded by NSF and aimed at promoting leadership among women faculty. As part of this effort, she organized a symposium at a recent American Chemical Society meeting, and co-edited a book arising from the symposium presentations entitled Mentoring Strategies to Facilitate the Advancement of Women Faculty.
While her long list of accomplishments is truly impressive, Dr. Karukstis’ remarkable teacher/scholar career is better summed up by a colleague who wrote: "One final attribute worth noting is the incredible modesty that Kerry exhibits when undertaking all of these important leadership roles. She cares about the outcomes; she really doesn’t care about getting the credit."
Professor of English and Associate Vice President for Research
Utah State University
Dr. Kinkead’s groundbreaking efforts to institutionalize, support, and fund undergraduate research permeate her entire career and emerge from her own experiences as an undergraduate student. As she explains, "My passion for ensuring that undergraduate research is accessible to as many students as possible, not only on my own campus and in my own field of study, but also to students beyond my home territory is rooted in my belief that hands-on learning can change lives. Undergraduate research provides the possibility for life-long relationships between mentors and students, enhanced learning, and impact on the scholarly fields themselves. As a first-generation student myself, I found college to be an exhilarating experience, filled with the potential of inquiry and discovery. I want nothing less for the students with whom I work." Dr. Kinkead is responsible for what one colleague refers to as a "culture change" at Utah State University through her work in undergraduate research. In addition to mentoring hundreds of students over the course of her career, Dr. Kinkead created and directed the Writing Fellows Program from which twenty-one students have had their work published in refereed journals. Wanting to extend and expand opportunities for undergraduates, Dr. Kinkead founded and co-chaired the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research. Dr. Kinkead’s passion for her work is infectious, and she is generous with her knowledge, readily sharing it for the advancement of the greater good of undergraduate research. The perspectives of her many recommenders are encapsulated in the comments of one colleague who writes: "Joyce Kinkead is a transformative leader of undergraduate research in Utah. Her vision and drive are at the core of statewide and university efforts to enable students in the intermountain west to participate in undergraduate research and showcase their results to fellow researchers and the public. She is a unique, creative leader that thinks and acts broadly to enhance opportunities for students."
Students applaud Dr. Kinkead’s deep and abiding investment in her mentees, and remark on the immediate and long-term effects of her directives and guidance to help her students think and see themselves as scholars. Dr. Kinkead has mentored students who have gone on to careers in a wide range of disciplines, including law, medicine, engineering, sociology, philosophy, and English. Student recommenders consistently draw attention to her time and genuine care for them, as well as her encouragement and support to explore areas of intellectual curiosity. As a result, they note increased confidence in their abilities. As one student writes: "The Undergraduate Research Fellows program that Dr. Kinkead founded at Utah State has defined my entire collegiate experience…She has created and sustained an atmosphere of academic excellence on campus that benefits the entire university…Dr. Kinkead has proved one of my greatest resources as I entered the university experience, and she is deeply invested in my success." Dr. Kinkead’s willingness to work alongside her students is particularly significant, as another student observes: "One of the greatest qualities of Dr. Kinkead is the way she shares with her students what she is currently working on herself. Watching her complete her own creative projects, goals, and books, was such an inspiration."
Dr. Kinkead’s contributions to undergraduate research have made a deep and lasting impact not only at Utah State University, but also at disciplinary and national levels. Her innovative work on undergraduate research is shaping the way research is conceived and undertaken in her field; moreover, it can serve, therefore, as a model for those in other humanities disciplines who are concerned about the inability to simply replicate the model of undergraduate research undertaken in the natural and social sciences. Her co-edited volume (with Laurie Grobman), Undergraduate Research in English Studies, published in 2010 by the National Council of Teachers of English, provides breakthrough work on this pedagogy in the discipline. Another extends and expands her contributions in the area of advancement. Titled, Advancing Undergraduate Research: Marketing, Communications, and Fundraising, it was published in 2011 by the Council on Undergraduate Research. A third book, Valuing and Supporting Undergraduate Research, published by Jossey-Bass in 2003 addresses pedagogical and institutional directives. Her co-edited book (with Michael Pemberton), The Center Will Hold: Critical Perspectives on Writing Center Scholarship, also published in 2003 by Utah State Press, includes the work of student authors and received both the International Writing Centers Association Award for Best Book (October 2004) and the Writing Program Council Administration Award for Best Book (July 2004). Through over one hundred publications, several including student authors, Dr. Kinkead has made a truly significant contribution to scholarship on undergraduate research and in her field. Her extensive outreach efforts in the forms of workshops, public addresses, and service are a further testament to her passion, commitment, and impact. Her leadership at the institutional level, and in national organizations, including CUR, has been widely recognized and is deeply appreciated. And yet, it is as an educator, as a teacher and mentor, that she has had, perhaps, the most influence. As one former student writes: "When I think of Dr. Kinkead at Utah State, I envision her walking the halls of the Old Main Building and I think of undergraduate research. To me, she is the face of undergraduate research at the university and well deserving of the 2012 CUR Award. At times during my work on the writing center project, I wondered if my work as an undergraduate student would be valuable. Through her training as the Rhetoric Associates director, by offering me the opportunity to work on a project with real consequences, and the encouraging recognition she gave, Dr. Kinkead helped me see I had a greater potential."
Dr. Joyce Kinkead received a BA degree in English from the University of Central Missouri in 1975, a MA degree in English from the same institution in 1976, and a PhD in the College Teaching of English (with emphases in Composition and Rhetoric, and in American Literature) from Texas A&M—Commerce in 1979. She directed the Writing Center at Pittsburg State University from 1979-1982 before beginning a long, successful career at Utah State University where she has served in many positions at various times as a Professor of English, Director of the Writing Center and Writing Fellows Program, Associate and Acting Dean, and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies & Research. From 2000-2011, she served as the Associate Vice President for Research.
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