Faculty, Staff Commended for Outstanding Teaching, Scholarship & Service

Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Biology & Biomedical Engineering’s Kay C Dee, PhD, and Computer Science & Software Engineering’s Nate Chenette, PhD, earned this year’s outstanding teacher and scholar awards, respectively, while Electrical & Computer Engineering’s Gary Meyer received the outstanding service award.

Elements of Rose-Hulman’s educational mission pillars – personal attention, dedication to student success, and quality service – helped three distinguished faculty and staff members earn honors during this year’s pre-Commencement Awards event May 23 in the Hatfield Hall Theater. 

Associate Dean for Learning and Technology and Professor of Biology & Biomedical Engineering Kay C Dee, PhD, received the Dean’s Outstanding Teacher Award and Associate Professor of Computer Science &  Software Engineering Nate Chenette, PhD, earned the Board of Trustees’ Outstanding Scholar Award. Meanwhile, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Laboratory Technician Gary Meyer was presented the President’s Outstanding Service Award.

The trio were publicly acknowledged again as part of Rose-Hulman’s 146th Commencement on May 25.

Each of this year’s special award winners consistently receive accolades from students and other campus community members, and President Robert A. Coons noted that they contribute to the college’s mission of providing the world’s best undergraduate science, engineering, and mathematics education in an atmosphere of individual attention and support. 

Dee, a member of the Rose-Hulman faculty for 20 years, is a passionate classroom instructor whose teaching skills have been recognized by the National Science Foundation and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Her concern for students has been appreciated by Rose-Hulman alumni, bestowing Dee with honorary alumnus status in 2013. 

Dean of Faculty Russ Warley, PhD, mentioned that Dee became a “pivotal teacher of teachers” as she and her Learning and Technology team supported faculty colleagues in figuring out how to teach effectively in the remote and hybrid teaching environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her team also received the Rose-Hulman Excellence in Service Award in 2014 for its service to the faculty.

In her own classrooms, Dee consistently receives high numerical student evaluations for her teaching methods along with her concern and active support for student well-being, both academically and personally. One student stated, “Dr. Dee is amazing. She is very friendly and relatable while also being a really good professor. She doesn't mess around and she's not just there to have a good time, but instead she is invested in our futures and it really shows. She gives really good feedback and somehow makes it an easy course where you learn so much.” 

Dee specializes in cell and tissue engineering, biomaterials, and engineering education and is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical & Biomedical Engineering. She was the founding director of the Rose-Hulman Center for the Practice and Scholarship of Education.

Chenette conducts research in encryption and other areas of national security interest, and earned his doctorate in algorithms, combinatorics, and optimization. He has spent five summers and an educational sabbatical leave working on classified national-security related research at the Center for Communications Research (CCR) in La Jolla, California. Chenette’s six-month sabbatical in 2023 was extended to an 11-month full-time appointment that resulted in him authoring three classified research papers and co-authoring another.

Board of Trustees Chair Carl Cook stated that Chenette’s excitement for his scholarly work is evident in his lengthy post-sabbatical report, and he plans to continue his impactful work at CCR in the future.

Meanwhile, Meyer has spent nearly two decades being an indispensable resource within the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and campus community. He has designed and constructed platforms for student competitions, provided guidance for student projects, helped maintain equipment, and supported summer science, technology, engineering, and mathematics camps.

Coons acknowledged that Meyer’s “proactive approach to problem-solving, coupled with his genuine concern for the well-being of others, sets a standard of service that is truly unparalleled … his tireless efforts leave an indelible mark on our community.”