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2017 Annual Awards Banquet Honors Faculty & Staff Achievements

Faculty and staff were recognized for their outstanding achievement February 3, 2017, at the BYU College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences (CPMS) Annual Awards Banquet.

While attendees enjoyed dinner, Dean Scott Sommerfeldt presented service awards to ten administrative and staff employees from several departments: Teresa Harper (5 yrs., Chemistry and Biochemistry), Jennifer Bonnett (5 yrs., Computer Science), Kathryn Tucker (5yrs., Geological Sciences), Fred Lewis (5 yrs., Mathematics), Shelena Shamo (5 yrs., Physics & Astronomy), Amy Cetz (5 yrs., Statistics), Kim Christensen (10 yrs., Chemistry and Biochemistry), Lynn Patten (15 yrs., College Office), Klark Walker (20 yrs., Computer Science), and Jim Logan (35 yrs., Mathematics and Mathematics Education).

The evening continued as Sommerfeldt announced the college awards for outstanding faculty and staff achievement.

Janet Fonoimoana, graduate program assistant for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was awarded the Outstanding Staff/Administrative Employee Award. She was honored for helping attract promising graduate students to the department. Fonoimoana has never “rested on her laurels” but has continued to innovate and advocate for the department’s graduate students, according to Sommerfeldt.

“Her attitude is infectiously positive,” Sommerfeldt said. “All the students know she loves them and works in their best interest, even—and especially—when things go wrong.”

Physics and Astronomy professor, Gus Hart, was awarded the Young Scholar Award for his impressive record in research and publishing. Since coming to BYU, Hart has published over forty journal articles.

“He is constantly identifying new ways to tackle difficult problems more efficiently and with greater accuracy,” Sommerfeldt said.

The Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award for a faculty member with 3-10 years of BYU service was given to Amy Tanner, professor in the Department of Mathematics Education. Tanner ranks very high in her student ratings.

“Students consistently say that they love her classes,” Sommerfeldt said. “Many of them put their experiences in this class higher than those of other courses with phrases such as ‘I have never taken a better class at BYU,’ or ‘This is one of the best classes I have ever had.’”

Tanner’s students have recognized her caring nature and how she motivates them and adjusts to their needs. Tanner was also noted for her careful preparation and reflective practice in her work.

Michael Dorff, professor and department chair in the Department of Mathematics, was awarded the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award with 10 plus years of service at BYU.

“He tells students to call him ‘Coach Dorff’,” Sommerfeldt said. “He is their math coach, and his job is to help them do well, while they are the ones who have to do the work and perform.”

Dorff has won eight other teaching awards from two other universities and from the Mathematics Association of America (MAA).

The final award was presented to Gil Fellingham, professor in the Department of Statistics. He was presented with the Distinguished Citizenship Award.

Sommerfeldt noted that Fellingham has been a great influence on the department because of his extra attention to detail and the extra tasks that he has added to his workload.

“Gil has displayed a willingness to serve, often teaching four courses a semester to help reduce the load on younger faculty,” Sommerfeldt said.

Fellingham has done this while still maintaining his research and publication record that exceeds the department median. He has also been serving as the chair of the University Athletic Advisory Board and has worked with university administration in developing statistical models for transfer students.

“Every time I am involved with awards, I am also very much aware that there are many deserving people in the college, so it is always a challenge to single out a single college member to receive an award,” Sommerfeldt said.


By Jessica Parcell Posted on