“This year’s Eberly College outstanding faculty award recipients represent vastly different disciplines, but they all share deep dedication to our research, teaching and service missions,” said Gregory Dunaway, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. “All of our recipients are worthy of these awards, and we are proud to have them serving our students.”
Outstanding Service Award
Kathryn Williamson is a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and director of the WVU Planetarium. Since arriving at WVU in 2016, she has quickly developed a successful outreach program with the planetarium that complements her Astronomy 106 course, “Descriptive Astronomy.”
“Williamson is one of a new cadre of faculty within the Department of Physics and Astronomy whose duties include critical teaching and service responsibilities,” Scime said. “Her service impact has become statewide in just a few short years, and we are fortunate to have someone with such passion for teaching and service in our department. Her successes are a model for all faculty at a land-grant institution like WVU.”
In 2017, Williamson organized “Celebrating Einstein,” a major event on the WVU calendar featuring public lectures, planetarium shows, orchestra performances and a danced lecture to celebrate the centennial of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, all while engaging the local community.
Later that year, she organized an event to highlight the Great American Solar Eclipse with a campus-wide viewing party, complete with eclipse glasses. With support from a WVU Community Engagement Grant, she also collaborated with the Green Bank Observatory, West Virginia Space Grant Consortium and WVU Extension Service to send more than 30,000 eclipse glasses to 290 schools across West Virginia along with a curriculum.
“Through these activities, the eclipse project engaged over 50,000 students,” Williamson said. “It was an outstanding way to extend WVU’s reach and service to our state.”
Recipients of the Eberly College’s faculty awards are listed on a plaque in Woodburn Hall and are awarded $1,500 to pursue professional development opportunities. The Outstanding Teacher Award recipients also serve as the College’s nominees for the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching, which are announced in April.