Clayton State University Professor of Biology Dr. Jere A. Boudell has been named the Gene Hatfield Scholar of the Year for the 2013/2014 academic year by the University’s College of Arts & Sciences.
The Arts & Sciences Scholar of the Year Award is made possible by, and is named after, Dr. Eugene Hatfield, long-time (1976–2008) history professor at Clayton State. Preceding Boudell as recipients of the Hatfield Scholar of the Year Award are Dr. Brigitte Byrd (2009), Dr. E. Joe Johnson (2010), Dr. Jonathan Lyon (2011), Dr. Alexander Hall (2012) and Dr. Shawn Young (2013). The companion award to the Hatfield Scholar of the Year, the Hatfield Teacher of the Year, was awarded for 2013/2014 to Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Karen Young.
“Established in 2008 by a generous gift from Dr. Eugene A. Hatfield, the College of Arts and Sciences Scholar and Teacher of the Year awards are bestowed annually upon two full-time faculty members whose contributions made a substantial impact in advancing the College’s mission of service through teaching, research, and creative endeavors,” explains Dr. Nasser Momayezi, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “These awards recognize scholarly excellence or outstanding teaching as determined by peer review. This year’s award recipients, Dr. Jere Boudell and Dr. Karen Young, as Arts and Sciences scholar and teacher of the year, respectively, are recognized for having brought distinction to the College through their hard work and commitment to the institution.
“I believe that these awards are the highest honors which can be bestowed upon any faculty member at this University, because they are the best among us.”
“It’s truly an honor to receive the Gene Hatfield Scholar of the Year award,” says Boudell. “I’d like to thank my colleagues, from staff to fellow academics, who never hesitated to provide encouragement and support while I pursued my research endeavors. Research colleagues at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center, Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and Agnes Scott College have been a source of inspiration and provided materials, access to state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, and time.
“Finally, I could not leave out the many students with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working as a research mentor and/or teacher. All of these interactions have enriched my teaching and scholarly practice and allowed me to investigate the many mysteries of the natural world.”
A riverine plant biologist who received her B.S. from Northeastern State University and her Ph.D. from Arizona State University, Boudell’s scholarship extends into another of the STEM fields – technology, specifically, app development.
In the spring of 2013 Boudell organized an Eco Hackathon at Clayton State to explore and develop approaches to improve urban stream restoration in the Georgia Piedmont. The key to the Eco Hackathon involved participants exploring and building apps to be used to promote awareness of stream and watershed issues and for use in fieldwork. In particular, the Eco Hackathon included an introductory workshop on app building using MIT’s App Inventor, thus allowing participants to better understand the powerful computers they hold in their hands and allow them to construct simple apps.
Boiudell later followed that experience by attending the “Computational Thinking through Mobile Computing” workshop at University of Massachusetts-Lowell; a special event designed for undergraduate computer science professors and led by the famed MIT professor Hal Abelson, creator of many computer science programs, including MIT’s App Inventor.
“Like many scientists, and academics in general, I’m pretty inquisitive, and this is reflected in the diverse areas I explore,” Boudell explains. “Mobile computing is a new area I’ve been exploring through app development for use in education, outreach, and research. We carry around these small yet powerful interactive computers. Changing how we view this technology and moving beyond apps for games or restaurant reviews is an exciting challenge. Challenge accepted.
“I believe it is critical to develop teaching materials that support faculty as they learn and implement active learning approaches in their class rooms. Here is where we challenge our students, and our students challenge us, to move beyond the memorization of facts to application and synthesis of content.”
As a riverine plant biologist, Boudell focuses on improving approaches to restoring stream environments in the face of what she refers to as unrelenting urban stress, and increasingly, stress due to changing climatic conditions.
“Healthy riverine environments produce clean water and healthy environments in which to live,” she notes.
Boudell also says she is grateful for the new science building currently under construction on the Clayton State campus.
“I can’t wait to see what we, the faculty, staff, and students, can do with our new building,” she exclaims.