Dalton Eminent Scholar Award winners announced
Radford University announced the five faculty members that won the 2018 Dalton Eminent Scholar Awards.
Each faculty member received a $10,000 award that will fund research travel and materials, along with a $5,000 award to be granted to the faculty member following successful completion of research and scholarly activity.
“Radford University is dedicated to supporting faculty research and the inaugural Dalton Eminent Scholar Award is a way for us to further foster their endeavors,” Interim Provost Kenna Colley said. “Each winner is highly deserving of the award and we are excited to see the results of the research and to see how that knowledge and experience is brought back into the classroom.”
The five winners are:
- Jeremy Wojdak, professor of biology, Artis College of Science and technology
- Helen Roybark, professor of accounting, Davis College of Business and Economics
- Ji-Eun Lee, assistant professor of dance, College of Visual and Performing Arts
- Tracy Cohn, associate professor of psychology, College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences
- Skip Watts, professor of geology, Artis College of Science and Technology
Wojdak has five grant-funded research projects currently, including three that help faculty teach quantitative skills to science students. He also collaborates with colleagues in Physics, Chemistry and Biology to improve student outcomes in the natural sciences through the REALISE (Realizing Inclusive Science Excellence) program. His disciplinary research involves studying the interactions among predators and prey in freshwater habitats, and the consequences of changes to biodiversity for how those ecosystems function.
“There are so many talented faculty at Radford,” Wojdak said. “To be recognized in this manner and alongside four really impressive colleagues is quite an honor, and certainly a surprising one.”
Cohn will use the award to fund work related to understanding the experiences of transgender, gender non-conforming (TGNC) and sexual minorities. Cohn said that rates of hate crimes, hate speech and hostile work environments remain exceptionally high for TGNC and sexual minorities.
“It is such an honor for my work to be recognized, especially when you see how many incredibly talented individuals were nominated,” Cohn said. “Research is a social activity for me, and so receiving this award is acknowledgment of the fun and also challenging work that I've been able to accomplish in collaboration with my students, my colleagues and my friends.”
Roybark will be conducting research related to accounting, auditing and regulations.
“It is an honor to have been nominated by my colleagues for the Dalton Eminent Scholar Award,” Roybark said. “I am humbled to receive this award and appreciate this recognition. My research relates directly to what I teach, so I believe my research has and will continue to make me a better teacher.”
Lee, who received the Rising Star award, is planning to conduct her research during the upcoming winter break.
“It means a lot to me,” Lee said. “Once again, I have been reminded that Radford University strongly supports faculty research, which motivates me to work harder.”
Watts, who received his master's from Radford University in 1977, is a specialist in engineering geology, which refers to applying the principles of geology to understanding how everyday earth processes impact the things that have been built. That includes all infrastructure like highways, pipelines, power plants, landfills, railroads, bridges and more.
"I deal most specifically with natural hazards. That includes floods, earthquakes, landslides and sinkholes," Watts said. "In recent years, unmanned aerial systems, more commonly known as drones, have become a very important tool and Radford is leading the way regionally in using drones for geohazards investigations. We have over a dozen drones of varying sizes and capabilities."
Watts will be using the money from the Dalton Eminent Scholar Award to support faculty and student travel to Patagonia in South America to work on climate change studies monitoring glaciers in the Andes Mountains using Radford University drones.
"I’m working with geology professors Ryan Sincavage and Beth McClellan, who are leading the group of students there over the winter break to use our drones to detect and document changes in glacial volumes," Watts said. "I will supervise drone flights and image processing while communicating with them via satellite links.
“It is an honor to be recognized for my research endeavors alongside talented colleagues from across Radford University,” Watts said. “This award is evidence that Radford supports the research of its many talented faculty members.”