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College of Science and Mathematics awards announced

Published: 04 May 2012





The College of Science and Mathematics announced the recipients of prestigious annual awards. The college’s Nominations and Awards Committee made the selections.

Verlin Hinsz, professor of psychology, was selected to receive the Paul Juell Mentoring Award. Guodong Liu, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Clay Routledge, assistant professor of psychology, will share the 2012 Research Award. Will Bleier, professor of biological sciences, was chosen to receive the Service Award. Maria Alfonseca, assistant professor of mathematics, will receive the Teaching Award.

““We had an amazing group of nominees for every one of our awards this year, so the committee had a very difficult task. I’m very proud of all our award winners,” said Kevin McCaul, dean of science and mathematics.

Nominators said Hinsz excels in the role of mentor. “Mentoring students is one of Professor Hinsz’s passions. He engages students in the research process from inception to publication,” wrote faculty colleagues James Council, Mark McCourt, Michael Robinson and Paul Rokke. “He has over 180 presentations at national and international professional conferences, and the vast majority of them involve student authors, often as first author.”

The nomination packet for Hinsz also included numerous testimonials from undergraduate students, graduate students and developing professionals.

Hinsz earned his bachelor’s degree at NDSU, his master’s degree and doctorate in social psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His teaching interests include such topics as group processes and productivity, cognitive psychology of groups and teams, groups at work and motivation and morale.

In a nomination letter, Liu was praised for his research efforts since joining NDSU in 2007. A nomination from faculty members D.K. Srivastava, Gregory Cook, Wenfang Sun and Sivaguru Jayaraman said Liu has “established a vibrant and innovative research program” that uses “a combination of gold nanoparticles/quantum dots, electrochemistry microfluidics approach to detect DNA, RNA and proteins during a single experimental setup.”

Liu earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in chemistry from Hunan University in China. He also held postdoctoral research scientist positions at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

Routledge was nominated by fellow psychology department faculty Mark McCourt, Michael Robinson and Paul Rokke. They wrote he “studies the psychological and physical health consequences of defenses against self-related threats and the social consequences of human efforts to perceive the world as full of meaning and purpose.” The nominators noted Routledge has accumulated 47 publications and one edited book, and has eight papers under review and another 16 in preparation.

“Dr. Routledge is the quintessential researcher,” they wrote. “His work is prolific and impactful.”

Routledge earned his bachelor’s degree at Missouri Southern State University and his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Bleier was nominated by the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences. They said Bleier recently stepped down as department chair/head after serving for more than 17 years. The nomination said he annually hosts 50 to 100 high school-age students from the Future Farmers of America Region III semi-final competition in wildlife biology. They said he often serves as a judge for the State Science Fair.

“The impact of Will’s service has extended well beyond our department to the entire NDSU campus,” they wrote.

Bleier earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin, and his master’s degree and doctorate at Texas Tech University.

Alfonseca was nominated by Jim Coykendall, James A. Meier Professor of Mathematics. He wrote that Alfonseca is “a tough teacher, with high, but not unattainable standards” and is “approachable, personable, friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help her students.”

Coykendall also included six testimonials from former students of Alfonseca. Coykendall wrote, “One student described her as a role model and another pointed to her as a reason that he is still a mathematics and computer science double major.”

Alfonseca earned her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in mathematics at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

NDSU is student focused and committed to its land-grant mission.

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Last Updated: Sunday, August 25, 2013