College of Natural Science honors 2016 Alumni Award winners

  • Apr 25, 2016
  • Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Chemistry, Mathematics, Microbiology

NatSci 2016 Alumni Award winners

NatSci 2016 Alumni Award winners (L to R): Patrick Smith, Ph.D., Outstanding Alumni Award; and Edward "Ned" Walker, Ph.D., Meritorious Faculty Award. Not pictured: Chelsea Walton, Ph.D., received the Recent Alumni Award.

More than 160 individuals were in attendance at the MSU College of Natural Science (NatSci) annual Awards Program to acknowledge alumni, faculty and students for outstanding achievements and excellence. The event was held April 22, 2016, at MSU’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

Patrick Smith (B.S., chemistry, ’72; M.S., physical chemistry ’77; Ph.D., physical chemistry, ’78) received the Outstanding Alumni Award; Chelsea Walton (B.S., mathematics, ’05) received the Recent Alumni Award; and Edward “Ned” Walker, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics with a joint appointment in entomology, received the Meritorious Faculty Award.

Smith is a world-class scientist, an accomplished and broadly experienced industrial leader and a consultant. During his 32-year career in research and development at Dow, he became a world-renowned scientist in polymer chemistry and molecular characterization, and was a valued professional mentor for dozens of successful scientists around the globe. He has been lauded with many awards and recognitions, and in 2013 was named a fellow of the American Chemical Society. He is now “back home” at his alma mater as a research assistant professor at MSU.

Walton is a Selma Lee Bloch Brown assistant professor in the mathematics department at Temple University, a position she has held since August 2015.  She currently has 13 publications in pure mathematics, has given more than 50 research and expository math talks around the world and has six years of continuous National Science Foundation grant support (2011- 2017). Recently, Walton created a website ( and organized a research workshop (WINART 2016 at BIRS)—both of which serve as a resource for female mathematicians whose research interests lie in noncommutative algebra and representation theory.

Professor Walker is an internationally recognized researcher who is well known in the field of insect vector-borne diseases, including pathogens transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks and tsetse flies. He has conducted field research in the United States, Honduras, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Malawi, and has maintained a strong program in Kenya since 1999. He has had 28 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), resulting in a highly prestigious, 10-year NIH MERIT Award for his research. Walker’s research has had a significant impact on local and global health. He was recently recognized with the Founder’s Memorial Award of the Entomological Society of America.

In addition to these honors, several NatSci graduate and undergraduate students were recognized for their outstanding contributions this past year.

Paula Gajewski, a Ph.D. candidate in genetics, and Patricia Jaimes, a Ph.D. candidate in geological sciences, each received a Tracy A. Hammer Graduate Student Award, which is given to outstanding graduate students in support of their professional development.

Four students received the Dan Bolin Undergraduate Student Award, which is presented to outstanding juniors in the College of Natural Science in recognition of their leadership qualities, community service and academic abilities. The 2016 recipients are: Jodie Gold, neuroscience; Meredith Herman, biomedical laboratory science; Courtney Hughes, zoology; and Annette Kim, neuroscience.

Dean’s Research Scholars (DRS) and Beckman Scholars—both incoming and outgoing—were also acknowledged. These scholarship programs provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate in research—which is critical to students’ future success.