Two Faculty Members Take Top Annual Awards

SOCORRO, N.M. May 17, 2011 -- Each year, Tech recognizes outstanding research and teaching by a faculty or staff member of the Institute. This year’s winners are Dr. Bill Winn for the Distinguished Research Award and Dr. Maggie Griffin-Taylor for the Distinguished Teaching Award.

The recipients of both awards are chosen by a committee of Tech faculty and researchers from a list of people from the entire Tech campus nominated by their colleagues. Both awards include a framed certificate and $1,500.

Dr. Bill Winn

Dr. Bill Winn accepts the Distinguished Researcher Award from Dr. Van Romero, while President Dr. Daniel Lopez looks on.

Dr. Bill Winn is the winner of the 2011 Distinguished Research Award. Dr. Winn earned his bachelor’s and his doctoral degrees at the University of California-Berkeley. He joined the physics faculty at New Mexico Tech in 1970. He achieved full professor in 1982 and became the Chairman of the Langmuir Laboratory in 1982 – a position he has held ever since.

Winn has many contributions to the study of lightning, atmospheric electrification and instrumentation over the past 40 years.

His nomination package for this award included support from scientists at the National Severe Storm Lab in Oklahoma, the University of Arizona and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

Winn developed and built a new sensing instrument that takes airborne measurements of electric fields and particle charges. That instrument has led to many important discoveries regarding lightning and electrification.

Over the decades, Dr. Winn has published numerous academic papers about atmospheric physics. As Langmuir Lab director, he has been a champion of scientific research.

Iin presenting the award to Winn, Vice President of Research Dr. Van Romero said that he felt privileged to have taken a class with Winn as an undergraduate student.

“I even passed on the first try,” Romero said.

Dr. Maggie Griffin Taylor

Dr. Maggie Griffin-Taylor poses with the Distinguished Teaching Award.
Photos by Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech

Dr. Maggie Griffin Taylor joined the Communication, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, or CLASS department in 1991. Since then, she has gained the respect and admiration of her students ever since. Dr. Griffin Taylor teaches philosophy and creative writing. She received her Ph.D. in English composition and rhetoric from Texas Tech in 2003.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Peter Gerity introduced Dr. Griffin Taylor and presented her award.

“She has a very challenging task at New Mexico Tech – teaching liberal arts to scientists and engineers,” he said. “From the nominations that students submitted, it is obvious that Dr. Griffin Taylor has consistently excelled at this daunting task.”

Students nominated Dr. Griffin Taylor for her dedication to teaching and for showing interest in the welfare of students.

One student wrote, “Dr. Griffin makes English and Philosophy relevant and interesting to students who are usually scientists and engineers. For me, she is one of the best people I have met at Tech, and one of the professors who have made coming to Tech life changing.”

Another student wrote that “she makes the material fun to learn instead of just writing notes on the board. In one of her classes she brought in Oreos to teach the students about the structure of paragraphs.”

Yet another student wrote that Dr. Griffin is a rare type of professor that will go out of her way to make sure that her students get more than the needed level of education and proficiency in writing without making it seem like work.”

-- NMT --

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech