Graduate student Ellyn Evans wins the Joanne Westin, Leonore A. Kola, and Dean’s Instructional Excellence Award

The Biology department wishes to congratulate Ellyn Evans for winning three awards at the Spring 2022 Graduate Student Awards ceremony.

1. The Joanne Westin Award is presented annually to a graduate student in the Department of Biology who has demonstrated excellence in undergraduate teaching. A request for formal nominations was sent to all of the faculty members in the Biology Department. It was specified that the nomination should include information pertaining to the faculty member’s association with the nominee and why the nominee deserves to be recognized for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

2. The Lenore A. Kola Award is given to one graduate student who is actively engaged in a graduate student organization in recognition of their service to the university community. Ellyn is on several committees including GCAS, DOGs, The Academic Integrity & Judicial Board, The Racial Injustice Task Force, The Disabilities Task Force, and a new committee that she is organizing based off some work she has done for GCAS. Ellyn shared, “This new committee is a DEI focus group for all graduate students at CWRU geared toward generating a Canvas page, online brochure, and app to easily provide resources for students in terms of everyday living. Essentially the goal is to make such resources more accessible for new graduate students of color (both domestic and international) so they can also enhance their mental health with less stress about such resources (i.e. hair salons for women of color, welcoming businesses, mental health resources for students of color, and many more).”

3. The Dean’s Instructional Excellence Award is given to graduate students nominated by their departments as an individual who demonstrates outstanding achievement in instruction.

Ellyn post-graduation plans include: her dissertation seminar May 13th at 9:30am in Clapp 405, followed by her defense on June 24th. She will be a visiting assistant professor in the department of biochemistry & molecular biology at The College of Wooster. In addition, she was given startup research funds, publication funds, and conference travel funds with the offer. Some of her research will be derived from her dissertation work with a focus on characterizing the pathways of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria in collaboration with Dr. Stephanie Strand and some folks at OARDC (The Ohio State Agricultural Research & Development Center). A second project will consist of engineering microbes to produce biodegradable plastic polymers and determining the best mode of production to make such polymers marketable.