Harvey Mudd College Awards Two Mudd Prizes

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Harvey Mudd College recognized two recipients this year for its Henry T. Mudd Prize, an award that celebrates extraordinary service. The honor was announced at the College’s Commencement ceremony, May 12.

Awardees receive $6,000, $3,000 of which is designated for use within the College at the discretion of the recipient.

Zach Dodds, Leonhard-Johnson-Rae Professor of Computer Science

Dodds, a faculty member at Harvey Mudd for 25 years, researches robotic hand/eye coordination and computer vision-based robotics and specializes in computer science education and curriculum design. He co-developed the College’s ground-breaking CS5 course, serving as principal investigator and co-PI on a number of projects funded by the National Science Foundation, as well as improving curricular design in computer science nationally. He was lauded for his focus on student success in and out of the classroom—mentoring and advising students, encouraging entrepreneurship, overseeing summer research—and for his dedication to the intellectual development, emotional well-being and all-around success of students.

His efforts to improve K-12 Computer Science education include co-founding the MyCS Middle-years Computer Science program, which provides computer science curriculum to students in school districts that serve populations underrepresented in CS.

In response to winning the award, he said, “It was both exciting and thought-provoking, not least, because the surprise was shared with the Class of 2024! Our graduating class has just shared the most surprising, unconventional and memorable of the four-year journeys I‘ve overlapped at Mudd.”

Wendy Menefee-Libey, Senior Director of Learning Programs

Upon accepting the Mudd Prize, Menefee-Libey, who retires this month, remarked, “This has been the thrill of a lifetime.”

Menefee-Libey joined the staff in 2000 as director of learning programs, later becoming senior director. As director of the Writing Center and Academic Excellence Program, Menefee-Libey created a warm, welcoming space where students from all disciplines can develop the critical and analytical tools to become clear and forceful communicators. In addition to the student writing consultants, she oversaw trained peer tutors, who facilitate workshops for HMC’s Core technical courses. She was recognized for “working tirelessly to ensure student success, confidence and joy in learning.”

She helped create and maintain Writ 1, the College’s interdisciplinary writing course, part of a campus-wide effort to develop writing and critical inquiry skills and provide students with effective writing strategies and conventions that apply across disciplines. The course brings together faculty from every department to teach writing to every first-year student, building a rich foundation of shared language and creating a community of scholars who can confidently defend intellectual claims. She highlighted Writ 1, with co-author and HMC colleague Laura Palucki Blake, in the 2017 Association of American Colleges and Universities Peer Review article “How Writing Contributes to Learning: New Findings from a National Study and Their Local Application.