Two Faculty Members Receive 2015 Centennial Professors Awards

June 26, 2015

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Media contact: Tonya Lewis, (254) 710-4656
WACO, Texas (June 26, 2015) –Kevin J. Gutzwiller, Ph.D., professor of biology, and Jay Pulliam, Ph.D., The W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of Geophysics, both in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, have been selected as the 2015 Baylor Centennial Professors by the Centennial Faculty Development Review Committee.
Created by the Baylor Centennial Class of 1945, the award provides tenured professors with $5,000 for research projects that will facilitate more in-depth study in his or her field.
The committee selected Gutzwiller’s proposal to research the ecological impact of whitebark pine decline in the northern Rocky Mountains and Pulliam’s proposal to participate in a delegation to Cuba to assess earthquake hazards and earthquake response preparations. In addition, Pulliam and the delegation will exchange data and work with Cuban seismologists to improve understanding of the structure, tectonics and seismic hazard of the northeast Caribbean.
Gutzwiller’s trip will provide data for one or more peer-reviewed journal articles, the ability to secure significant federal funding and an increase in the number of Ph.D. students that he can mentor each year.
“The Baylor Centennial Professor Award will enable me to work on an issue with significant ecological ramifications, collaborate with scientists who are knowledgeable about the natural and human-altered systems that support whitebark pine and inform the conservation of this tree and the animal species that use its nuts for food,” Gutzwiller said. “I am deeply grateful for this award and delighted with the research and conservation opportunities it provides.”
Pulliam’s trip will provide at least three Ph.D. and M.S. theses, at least five papers published in peer-reviewed journals and a series of presentations concerning Cuba to Baylor faculty and students.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by a committee of my faculty colleagues for the 2015-16 Centennial Professor Award,” Pulliam said. “This award makes it possible for me to meet in person with Cuban seismologists, see their operations firsthand, and build the sort of trust that is required for collaborative scientific investigations. I have worked hard to build these relationships in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Jamaica, so I am enormously grateful that this award will allow me to welcome Cuban seismologists to our seismology working group.”
by Spencer Cutright, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
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