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The University Honors College (UHC) at Oregon State is pleased to announce that Deborah Pence and Indira Rajagopal have been named UHC Eminent Professors for 2013. UHC Eminent Professor awards recognize faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the education of the high-achieving students in the University Honors College. “Our 2013 Eminent Professors, Dr. Pence and Dr. Rajagopal, exemplify a spirit of engagement and a commitment to teaching and mentoring that is central to the success of our students and to the college,” said Toni Doolen, dean of the UHC.
Indira Rajagopal, a senior instructor in biology, biochemistry and biophysics, has been one of the UHC’s most active and engaged faculty partners for the past decade. Her honors biology laboratory and research section have been central to the experience of UHC students in the life sciences since 2003, and she is one of the leaders of the UHC’s Introduction to Thesis course, a class that prepares all honors students to participate in undergraduate research. Her dedication to student research has extended to individual mentorship, with service on twelve honors thesis committees. Dr. Rajagopal was selected by honors students as the UHC’s Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2006, and she was a finalist for this award on four other occasions. Indeed, throughout her career, her teaching has been commended by peers and students: she has been recognized at Oregon State University with the Beaver Champion Award in 2008, the Loyd F. Carter Award for Outstanding and Inspirational Teaching in Science in 2008 and regular “Top Prof” Awards from the Mortar Board Honor Society. In addition, Dr. Rajagopal is a devoted advocate of the UHC and Oregon State to high-achieving prospective students, appearing regularly at recruitment and admissions events. In recognition of her longstanding commitment to the UHC and its students, Indira Rajagopal is named the 2013 Sandy and Elva Sanders Eminent Professor in the University Honors College.
Since her arrival at Oregon State University in 1998, Deborah Pence has combined excellence in research, teaching, campus leadership and mentorship, and as a professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, she has been instrumental in forging connections between the College of Engineering and the University Honors College. Dr. Pence specializes in thermal-fluid sciences, and she has designed honors versions of the courses Thermodynamics and Introduction to Thermal-Fluid Sciences. She has also served on ten honors thesis committees, including four times as the primary mentor. Since 2007, Dr. Pence has been the adviser for the Oregon State chapter of the Pi Tau Sigma International Mechanical Engineering Honor Society, and she has previously been recognized for her teaching by the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the University Honors College. With 28 journal articles published, four patents and involvement as principal investigator or co-principle investigator on over $9 million in grant funding, Dr. Pence is a leader in her field who has used her professional accomplishments to advance her service to students. Equally devoted to scholarship, leadership and teaching, Deborah Pence epitomizes the commitment and dedication of a UHC Eminent Professor.
The UHC Eminent Professor awards are made possible through the generosity of University Honors College donors, particularly Ruth Beyer and Joseph (Sandy) and Cheryl Sanders. “The University Honors College Eminent Professors are critical to the advancement of creativity and innovation in the UHC community,” said Dean Doolen, “and these donor-supported awards are vital in sustaining the outstanding programs we offer to high-achieving students at Oregon State University.”