College of Science Dean Sally C. Morton recently honored faculty and staff for their contributions to the college’s successes, including awards for outreach efforts to the community, commitment to diversity, teaching excellence, and an overall outstanding staff member award.

The faculty and staff were honored at a breakfast at the Inn at Virginia Tech, hosted by Morton.

Recipients were:

Award for Outreach Excellence

This award recognizes an individual or team in the College of Science for outstanding achievements that contribute to its outreach mission to the community-at-large, the nation, and/or the world. Provided by the Office for Outreach and International Affairs.

Cayelan Carey, Department of Biological Sciences. Carey is a communications leader connecting the scientific, private, and public sectors on management of freshwater drinking supplies. Her volunteer work with the Western Virginia Water Authority provides a comprehensive monitoring program encompassing four reservoirs with water for more than 300,000 people every day. In educational outreach, she has developed teaching modules on analyzing environmental data that have been taught to more than 100,000 students in the United States alone in the past five years.

Amanda Morris, Department of Chemistry. Morris maintains an outreach program reaching across generations, socioeconomic strata, and diverse populations, never missing an opportunity to teach and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds on the wonders of science. From informing a national audience as liaison for the ACS Experts Program, to growing diversity in academia with the Chemistry Women’s Mentorship Network, to hosting school groups in her lab and leading grade school children in scientific experiments, her outreach efforts touch all segments of our society.

Diversity Award

This award honors faculty and staff in the College of Science who have made significant and sustained contributions that foster diversity and an inclusive climate within the college, the university, and in the broader community.

Jane Robertson Evia, Department of Statistics. In a nomination letter authored by Shyam Ranganthan and Christopher Franck, also of Statistics, highlighted Evia’s leadership of the department’s diversity committee, her work to plan and co-host the first Virginia Tech Women in the Sciences reception, and efforts in hosting undergraduate research mixers. “Her work embodies the Principles of Community,” said Ranganthan and Franck. 

Outstanding Staff Award

 This award honors staff members in the College of Science whose consistent excellence advances their department or school, or the Academy of Integrated Science, and/or the college.

Andrew Volker, Dean’s office staff. Volker serves as grants coordinator for the college as part of the dean’s staff. In her nomination letter, Department of Physics Associate Professor Sophia Economou wrote, “Andy Volker’s intelligence, helpfulness and friendly demeanor make him a role model for COS staff and a tremendous asset to Virginia Tech. He consistently demonstrates excellence in carrying out his job, and also provides outstanding service to faculty. He regularly shows a willingness to help beyond his normal duties.”

Erika Perdue, Department of Economics. Perdue serves as an undergraduate advisor in the department. In his nomination letter, department head Sudipta Sarangi said: “[During] the past few years, Virginia Tech and by extension the COS have gone through numerous changes in advising policies, procedures, and systems. Erika has flawlessly adapted to the ever-changing rules and regulations. Additionally, our department has also experienced some significant changes in regard to the degrees we offer. Again, she has been able to manage those changes like a true professional.”

Certificate of Teaching Excellence

This award is presented to exceptional faculty members who have demonstrated excellence both inside and outside the classroom. 

Mark Caddick, Department of Geosciences. An associate professor, Caddick was nominated by department head Steve Holbrook, who said Caddick’s development of two courses has “fundamentally transformed the undergraduate experience in the department.” Holbrook added, “His teaching embodies the spirit of Ut Prosim, both in his devotion to his students and his dedication to curricular innovation.”

Eric Hogan, Department of Biological Sciences. An advanced instructor and director of undergraduate teaching laboratories, Hogan was nominated for his significant improvements in laboratory teaching for introductory biology and microbiology classes, and efforts in enhancing and updating laboratory manuals, which he co-authors, and ensuring access to safe and effective laboratory instruction for students with disabilities.

Shamindri Arachchige, Department of Chemistry. An advanced instructor, Arachchige teaches undergraduate courses, including General Chemistry to approximately 3,000 students per year, for the department and spearheads much of the department's outreach activities. She has won multiple teaching awards for her efforts. “Her commitment to educating all students, K-12, undergraduate, and graduate mentoring is exemplary,” wrote department head Alan Esker in his nomination letter.