CUR Physics and Astronomy Division Announces 2021 Outstanding Research Mentor Awardee

CUR’s Physics and Astronomy Division announces the 2021 recipient of its Outstanding Research Mentor award, which recognizes mentors in physics and astronomy for their steadfast efforts in mentoring undergraduate researchers and involves nominations by colleagues and students.Awardees receive a plaque.

The 2021 awardee is Thomas Pannuti, associate professor of space science and astrophysics at Morehead State University (MSU) in Morehead, KY. Dr. Pannuti earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, graduating cum laude, as well as his master’s degree and PhD from the University of New Mexico. He conducted postdoctoral work at the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research at MIT and at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech.

Dr. Pannuti joined MSU’s Department of Physics, Earth Science and Space Systems Engineering in 2006. His main research interests are in multi-wavelength (mainly X-ray, optical, infrared, and radio) observations of galactic and extragalactic supernova remnants. He has conducted observations with radio telescopes in the United States, Germany, and Australia, including the 21-Meter Space Tracking Antenna at MSU, optical telescopes in Arizona and California, and orbiting X-ray observatories. Dr. Pannuti also operates the Institute for Stellar Necrology Laboratory at MSU’s Space Science Center, a laboratory of Linux boxes dedicated to research projects conducted by undergraduate students.

Seeking to inspire undergraduates to take on advanced research projects and persist through challenges, Dr. Pannuti has developed curriculum with hands-on and inquiry-based research experiences for students. Many of these students have worked with him on research outside the classroom and have coauthored publications with him. Thus Dr. Pannuti represents well the goals and aspirations of research mentors in physics and astronomy across the country.

Founded in 1978, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity. Among the many activities and networking opportunities that CUR provides, the organization also offers support for the professional growth of faculty and administrators through expert-designed institutes, conferences, and a wide-range of volunteer positions. The CUR community, made up of nearly 700 institutions and 13,000 individuals, continues to provide a platform for discussion and other resources related to mentoring, connecting, and creating relationships centered around undergraduate research. CUR’s advocacy efforts are also a large portion of its work as they strive to strengthen support for undergraduate research. Its continued growth in connections with representatives, private foundations, government agencies, and campuses world-wide provides value to its members and gives voice to undergraduate research. CUR is committed to inclusivity and diversity in all of its activities and our community.

CUR focuses on giving a voice to undergraduate research with learning through doing. It provides connections to a multitude of campuses and government agencies, all while promoting networking and professional growth to its community.