Sahlin awards for research, teaching, leadership, outreach

Sahlin-compositePULLMAN, Wash. – Four Washington State University faculty members have been named recipients of the 2013-14 Sahlin awards, to be presented at WSU’s annual Showcase Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet on March 28.

showcase-125Showcase, WSU’s annual celebration of faculty, staff and student achievement, also includes the Distinguished Faculty Address (March 27); the Academic Showcase display of faculty, staff and student work (March 28); and SURCA, the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (March 28).

Showcase reservations are being accepted at through Wednesday, March 19.

Besser-80Thomas E. Besser, professor in veterinary microbiology and pathology, earned the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship and Arts.

He has made seminal contributions in microbiology, epidemiology and the ecology of enteric bacteria. He is best known for his work on E. coli O157:H7, which established the epidemiology of this important human pathogen and increased understanding of how it survives in the bovine host and the environment.

Besser has been a leader in development of diagnostic tools used in the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for detection of bacterial pathogens. He has published more than 190 refereed scientific papers in high impact journals.

He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012 and of the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2010. He was selected as a US-UK Fulbright Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh (2000), received a Pfizer Award for Research Excellence from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine (2007), and earned the Distinguished Research Alumnus Award from the University of Minnesota (2007).

pezeshki-80Charles Pezeshki, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, earned the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction.

Known as “Dr. Chuck” by students and industry leaders alike, he has a long history of diligently working to improve the quality of undergraduate teaching. He is an internationally recognized expert in active and problem-based learning and is known for his expertise in the social dimension of organizing high-performance teams and goal-based learning.

His signature course, ME 416, is a capstone class that he designed and has taught since 1994. He has raised more than $2 million in external funds to support the course.

“All I’ve done is serve as a switch operator, connecting our talented and responsible senior undergraduate students with industrial partners needing work completed,” Pezeshki says. “It’s a combination of the kids, engineers across the region, my MME colleagues’ diligence in preparing our students for career success, our talented staff and WSU’s commitment to economic outreach that has made this program a shared win for everyone.”

Inglis-80Debra A. Inglis, professor of plant pathology at the WSU Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, earned the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Leadership.

She served as director of the Mount Vernon office 2004-08, leading its upgrade to a modern, full-service research and extension center. She has been president of the Pacific division of the American Phytopathological Society, associate editor and editor of an international journal and a member of a federal grant review panel.

Inglis’ scholarly focus is on the biology and management of diseases of vegetable crops, especially potatoes. She has published prolifically, delivered presentations, mentored employees and students and obtained research funding from many extramural sources, most recently through a U.S. Department of Agriculture specialty crops research initiative.

Her awards from the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences include the Hall of Honored Alumni and Friends (2009), National Women’s History Month Award for Professional and Academic Leadership (2009) and Team Interdisciplinary Award (2012).

Clark-80Sue B. Clark, Regents professor of chemistry, earned the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement.

She has served on many local, national and international committees and boards. In 2011, she was appointed to the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB) by President Barack Obama. The NWTRB advises Congress and the secretary of energy on technical issues related to disposal of radioactive waste. In 2012, she was awarded the Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal of the American Chemical Society, which recognizes distinguished service by women chemists.

Clark has held senior administrative positions at WSU, including chair of chemistry, interim vice chancellor of academic affairs at WSU Tri-Cities and interim dean of the College of Sciences.

She is a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences. Throughout her career, she has been successful in obtaining major extramural grant funding ($18 million total), has been engaged in teaching undergraduate and graduate students and has mentored many masters and doctoral students.