posted February 24, 2011

Hope Science Division Honors Three Professors

The Division for the Natural and Applied Sciences (NAS) at Hope College has honored three faculty with awards designed to recognize excellence in teaching or research.

Dr. Nathan Tintle, assistant professor of mathematics and Towsley Research Scholar, has received the "Dean's Science Division Mentoring/ Advising/ Teaching Award."  The research team of Dr. Paul DeYoung, who is the Kenneth G. Herrick Professor of Physics and chairperson of the department, and Dr. Graham Peaslee, who is a professor of chemistry and chairperson of the department and a professor of geology/environmental science, has received the "James N. Boelkins Natural and Applied Sciences Division Research Award."  Both awards were announced during a luncheon at the college on Thursday, Feb. 24.

The "Mentoring/ Advising/ Teaching Award" recognizes a faculty member who has gone beyond the call of duty in being an exceptional mentor, advisor and teacher to students.  The winner is selected by a panel of students.

The divisional research award rotates in alternate years between junior and senior faculty. The winner is chosen by an anonymous panel of faculty members from among nominees by the division's department chairs and the dean.

The student nomination praised Tintle for demonstrating excellent advising, effective teaching and innovative research mentoring.  The students wrote, "He undoubtedly loves what he does, and cares deeply about the success and growth of his students, far beyond the classroom.  He has significantly impacted the math department as well as many of his students' lives."

Among other contributions, the nomination noted his helpfulness in guiding students as they consider their interests and career opportunities, and in providing additional assistance for students in understanding material.  It also praised his work in establishing a program for students interested in actuarial careers, linking the mathematics and economics, management and accounting programs. 

Tintle, a member of the Hope faculty since 2005, is engaged in statistics genetics research.  His current projects include innovations in the design and analysis of genome-wide association; an interdisciplinary effort to extend the capability of the RAST (Rapid Annotation using Subsystems Technology) genome analysis service; and innovations to the curriculum of the college's statistics courses.

Tintle has received major external research support from agencies and organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  In January 2008 the college named him a "Towsley Research Scholar," recognition that included additional support for his ongoing research, and in 2010 he received the "James N. Boelkins Natural & Applied Sciences Division Faculty Promise for Excellence in Research Award."  His work has so far resulted in multiple peer-reviewed publications, many of which include student co-authors.

DeYoung and Peaslee have co-directed the college's Nuclear Group, students and faculty conducting research collaboratively in nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, for the past 16 years.  Between them, they have mentored more than 100 research students and produced more than 60 research publications associated with the group.

Among other external grant support, the group has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) continuously throughout the 16 years, including a three-year, $295,683 grant awarded by the NSF in the summer of 2010.

Some of the research funded through the new NSF grant utilizes instrumentation at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University that was previously constructed with earlier NSF support to a consortium of colleges including Hope:  the "Modular Neutron Array" (MoNA) and the Large-area multi-Institutional Scintillator Array" (LISA).  The Hope researchers are using "MoNA-LISA" to study neutron-rich unstable nuclei.

Multiple interdisciplinary nuclear projects - some based at Hope, while others are conducted in cooperation with groups outside the college--apply a variety of techniques using the Hope Ion Beam Analysis Laboratory (HIBAL) at Hope.  The projects range from a forensic comparison of auto glass fragments, to analyzing bee honey, to identifying metals in sediment, to measuring aerosol particles in the atmosphere.