Aug 31, 2011 - Claremont, Calif. -
CUR Fellows Awards are given biennially to two CUR members who have established nationally respected research programs involving undergraduate students. Recipients have published research findings with undergraduate co-authors and demonstrated a commitment to obtaining funding for collaborative research with their students. CUR Fellows are selected as well for their efforts to reach out to students of all backgrounds, incorporate research activities into the courses they teach, and lead efforts to institutionalize research on their campuses and across the country.
“Professor Karukstis has, from the moment she arrived at HMC, been dedicated to research with undergraduates,” said Dean of Faculty Robert Cave. “She understands how important research is to their formation as young scientists and was the driving force in the department for providing research opportunities at very early stages in students' careers. Her research has been far ranging, touching topics from photosynthesis to phase behavior of complex mixtures, and this has allowed students to explore varied interests in physical chemistry. She has been truly impressive to watch.”
When recommending her for the award, one of her former students wrote “Professor Karukstis taught me how to be a scientist. She taught me how to think about my work, utilize the resources around me, take risks in studying a system, how to be dedicated to your craft as a scientist, and possibly most importantly, the implications of our work in a broader context.” Another former student wrote “Professor Karukstis embodies the true spirit of a teacher-scholar and she mentors
by example. I model so much of what I do as a teacher-scholar myself on what she taught me when I was an undergraduate at Mudd.”
Karukstis leads an active research laboratory at HMC. Her research interests focus on using spectroscopic and light scattering techniques to characterize the structure and physical properties of surfactant aggregates and macromolecular host-guest systems. She has conducted externally-funded research (NSF, NIH-AREA, ACS-PRF, Research Corporation, Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award 1994), in collaboration with over 100 HMC students. With over 70 publications in scientific journals during her time at Harvey Mudd, Karukstis publishes often with undergraduate co-authors, and her students regularly present their research results at national meetings of the American Chemical Society.
Karukstis has co-authored three books and co-edited three volumes, including two focused on undergraduate research: Developing and Sustaining a Research-Supportive Curriculum and Transformative Research at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions. She has long been a national advocate for undergraduate research. For eight years she served as a feature editor for the Journal of Chemical Education on undergraduate research issues. She is co-principal investigator on two NSF-supported projects to catalyze the development of undergraduate research programs and enhance undergraduate STEM education throughout state university systems and within public and private consortia. Karukstis served as president of CUR from 2007-2008 and has held numerous other leadership positions within the organization. She served as a member of the National Science Foundation Division of Chemistry Committee of Visitors in 2009-2010. She was recognized as the CUR Volunteer of the Year in 2004 and again in 2010, and in 2003 she received the Henry T. Mudd Prize for Outstanding Service to Harvey Mudd College.
As part of the CUR Fellow Award, Karukstis will receive a CUR Student Research Fellowship to support a student pursuing research in her laboratory.
Contact: Judy Augsburger