Faculty news

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Adam Hoppe, an assistant professor, received the Berg Young Scientist Award at the university’s Celebration of Excellence Feb. 21, 2012.p10-Hoppe,-Adam

Hoppe’s research focuses on understanding how cell-surface receptors control cell function. These efforts require studying the nanometer-scale organization of biochemical machinery within single living cells. To this end, Hoppe is developing new imaging technologies to interrogate these molecular interactions within the cytoplasm of living cells.

The information gathered from these instruments is being used to create mechanistic and mathematical models of signaling pathways aimed at predicting cell behavior. He is a recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation career grant.

Communication Studies & Theatre

Lonnie Wilburn, an assistant professor, received the Distinguished Scholar Award for the College of Arts and Sciences at the university’s Celebration of Excellence Feb. 21, 2012.p10-Wilburn,-Lonnie

Wilburn’s talent and expertise has provided Broadway-caliber designs and costume creations for State University Theatre and Prairie Repertory Theatre. He has infused his talent into an expanded repertoire of classes and led the department’s first study tour to London’s theater district.

Described as the “consummate artist, instructor, and colleague,” Wilburn provides some of the region’s finest examples of artistic achievement in costume design.


Distinguished Professor Charles Woodard received the Excellence in Outreach and Engagement Award at the university’s Celebration of Excellence Feb. 21, 2012.p10-Woodard,-Charles

Woodard has worked with and advocated for the region’s tribal population since coming to SDSU in 1975. He has served on the South Dakota and Brookings Reconciliation Councils, President’s Advisory Council for Diversity, and has chaired SDSU’s American Indian Advisory Committee and Tiospaye Councils.

He founded SDSU’s American Indian Histories and Cultures and Consider the Century Conferences, has advised the campus Native American Club and helped initiate the first SDSU Wacipi (powwow); he was instrumental in the development of SDSU’s minors in American Indian studies and peace and conflict studies, and the first courses in black studies.

Woodard’s outreach includes initiating the Oak Lake Tribal Writers’ Society, the Oak Lake Campus and Community Advisory Committees, and, drawing on his own experiences as a Vietnam veteran, working with the Veterans Affairs hospital in Sioux Falls with a literature as therapy program.


Charles Vollan, an assistant professor, received the Edward Patrick Hogan Award for Teaching Excellence at the university’s Celebration of Excellence Feb. 21, 2012.p10-Vollan,-Charles

Vollan carries one of the heaviest, most diverse instructional loads at SDSU. In the past five years he has taught 46 sections of nine different courses. He recently earned his department’s first perfect 5.0 rating on IDEA student surveys.

Of particular note is Vollan’s work with History 480, his department’s capstone experience, which has produced an impressive series of Schultz-Werth Award winners. Vollan coordinates his department’s film series and serves as adviser to the History Club and Phi Alpha Theta honor society.

Modern Language

Molly Enz, an associate professor of French, received the college’s scholarship award from the Dean’s Advisory Committee May 2.Enz, Molly

Enz, who received tenure in 2012, has been active in research and academic writing since her arrival at SDSU in 2007. Highlights include work in “Students Without Borders” about French teachers integrating service-learning into their curricula.

In 2011, she spent two weeks in Haiti exploring service-learning options with the Brookings-based Haiti Solar Oven Project.

Christine Garst-Santos, assistant professor, was one of two university faculty members to receive the Women of Distinction Award March 13, 2012, for contributions to campus and community life.p10-Garst-Santos,-Christi

She was cited for her work in mentoring, specifically in advising the Campus Women’s Coalition. The group’s 15 members described her untiring support to bring to campus events that draw attention to women’s issues, encourage leadership among young women and increased the student group’s finances with allocations, grants and donations from $50 in 2007 to more than $10,000.

The state Board of Regents recognized the coalition and Garst-Santos for their leadership among student groups.

Faculty colleagues said her award-winning teaching and coordination of Spanish study-abroad activities show Garst-Santos’ commitment to students and scholarship.

Amy Kor, senior secretary, received an award for outstanding performance from the Dean’s Advisory Committee May 2. p10-Kor,-Amy

Kor, who is in her fourth year at SDSU, was cited for work that goes “far beyond her required duties,” including reorganizing and beautifying the office. That included obtaining relatively new furniture at no cost to the department when the College of Nursing was refurbishing its offices.

She also negotiated with suppliers and found good deals to equip the department’s new computer lab.

Carlos Mejia, a Spanish instructor, received a $1,250 lead grant to bring five Hispanic films to campus in spring semester. The award from Pragda, a New York-based film distribution p10-Mario-Mejia-Suarez,-Carlos-company, is providing half of the cost of renting the films. The English and modern language departments as well as the South Dakota Council of World Affairs are providing the other half.

Mejia, in his second year at SDSU, notes that last year students would informally gather for film showings, but the grant allows screenings to become a campuswide event.

Alberto Orellana-Campos, a Spanish instructor, received the college’s service award from the Dean’s Advisory Committee May 2.p10-Campos,-Alberto-Orellana

Orellana, who is in his fourth year at SDSU, was cited for his work with Sigma Delta Pi, the national Spanish honor society, and for leading service-learning trips to Guatemala the last two summers. Students from a variety of majors spent the morning working on projects with Guatemalans while the afternoons were spent in intensive language study.

In the spring, he organized two weeks of activities to mark the anniversary of the local Sigma Delta Pi chapter.

Eckhard Rolz, an associate professor of modern language, received an award in May 2012 from the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisoryp10-Rolz,-Eckhard Committee in recognition of outstanding teaching. A year earlier, the German teacher was honored with the Edward Patrick Hogan Award for Excellence in Teaching, a university-level honor.

Presenters cited Rolz for “passionate teaching that has turned the German modern language program at SDSU from a grammar-oriented curriculum to a communicative one.” He also has given keynote talks to the South Dakota World Language Association and represented the group at regional conferences.

Rolz is in his eighth year at SDSU, having come here from Idaho State, where he taught for two years.


Brian Nowell, an associate professor, received the Excellence in Teaching Award from University Center in Sioux Falls.p12-Nowell,-Brian

The award was initiated through a nomination by University Center students, and then determined by University Center faculty peers during the spring 2012 semester.  It was presented at the beginning of the fall 2012 semester.

Nowell, who is in his fifth year of teaching classes at the Sioux Falls campus, was cited by nominators for high quality teaching and outstanding dedication to student learning.  He also has involved several graduate school-bound psychology majors in research projects, even though his position is 100 percent teaching.

His areas of study are Internet marketing, entrepreneurship, stock market psychology, emotional intelligence and positive psychology.


Mary Emery, professor and head of the department of sociology and rural studies, received the 2012 Duane L. Gibson Distinguished Service Award from the Community Development Society.p10-Mary-Emery

Emery is the 22nd recipient of the award, which was created in 1984 to honor active members who have been with the society for at least seven years and focus on the development and well-being of the society. Emery, a former president of the group, is in her 22nd year of membership.

Emery, in her second year at SDSU, also gave a presentation at this year’s international conference in Cincinnati July 21-25.

She serves on the evaluation team for the Kellogg Food and Fitness Initiative and explained the importance of community members eating locally grown food and providing safe places for children to be physically active.

Professor Meredith Redlin received the Excellence in Instruction Award from the Rural Sociology Society at its annual meeting July 26-29 in Chicago.p10-Redlin,-Meredith

Nominators cited Redlin’s teaching style, which engages students in critical thinking in a global context. She links theory to application in local situations and guides students so they can transfer knowledge from the classroom into their work.

An SDSU faculty member since 2000, Redlin received a Fulbright Scholar Award in 2008 to teach in Russia.

Visual Arts

Leda Cempellin, an associate professor of art history, has been appointed to the education committee of the College Art Association.p10-Cempellin,-Leda

Her term on the 14-member committee runs from February 2013, when she will attend the group’s annual conference in New York City, through the February 2016 conference in Washington, D.C.  Applicants are chosen after a peer review of their credentials.

Founded in 1911, the College Art Association is the oldest and most prestigious national association of artists and art historians.

Additional Faculty News

Mary Arnold, department head in Journalism and Mass Communication, has been p18-Arnold,Mary-vertical-copyelected to the executive committee of The Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication.

She was elected to a three-year term as a representative of medium sized-programs. The association is composed of administrators from 190 programs at the college and university level, most in the United States and Canada.

p18-LucchesiRoxanne-copyRoxanne Lucchesi, an advertising professor, received the 2011 Silver Medal at the ADDY awards, sponsored by the South Dakota Advertising Foundation.

She was honored for creating a nationally recognized advertising program at SDSU, and she worked to get an advertising major and minor approved by the Board of Regents for the 2011-12 school year.


Edward Meyer, 89, a speech therapy faculty member for 25 years, died March 12, 2012, at Rapid City Regional Hospital.p18-Edward-Meyer-1-cover

Meyer joined the faculty in 1965 and retired as professor emeritus in 1990. In addition to teaching classes in speech pathology, Meyer directed the speech, language and hearing clinic at SDSU. His work was largely with older people, especially stroke victims.

Meyer married Ruth-Elaine K. Olson in 1956. They had two daughters, Kim and Lisa. In 1981, he married Sandra Shockman. They moved to rural Custer following his retirement in 1990.

Survivors include his wife, Sandra; and daughters Lisa Sperl, of Grand Junction, Colo., and Kim Meyer Roberts, of Pierre.

Mary Alice Spencer, an associate professor in the music department from 1971 to 2008, died Sept. 8, 2012, at Silver Lake Nursing Home in Everett, Wash.p18-Spencer,-Mary-Alice

Spencer, 66, taught piano performance, music appreciation and world music. Personally, she loved practicing on the Steinway Concert Grand Piano in her home. She received her bachelor’s degree from Yankton College in 1967 and her master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1970.

Survivors include a son, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, of Everett. She was preceded in death by her husband.

p18-Cheng-Zhang-Cheng Zhang, an assistant professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry, was one of three SDSU faculty members to receive a South Dakota Board of Regents Competitive Research Grant that were awarded in June 2012.

He received $99,425 for “Design and Synthesis of Electro-Optic Chromophores for Spatial Light  Modulation.”

Geoff Henebry was named this fall as co-director of the Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence.p18-Henebry,-Geoffrey

In September 2011, he became the interim co-director when Matt Hansen took a position in Maryland. Henebry has been at the center since it opened in 2005, serving as senior research scientist and coordinator of the graduate program.

The center is a partnership with EROS Data Center. Tom Loveland with U.S. Geological Survey is the other co-director.

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