Three Florida Tech Faculty Members Honored for Excellence

MELBOURNE, FLA. —Three Florida Institute of Technology faculty members recently earned the university’s 2013 Faculty Excellence Awards for outstanding performance. Recognized were Associate Professor of Oceanography Kevin Johnson, the Andrew W. Revay Jr. Award for Excellence in Service; Assistant Professor of Chemistry Kurt Winkelmann, the Kerry Bruce Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching; and Professor of Mathematics Charles Fulton, the Award for Excellence in Research.

Johnson’s primary areas of expertise are in marine larval ecology, plankton biology and invasive species. In the last five years, he has been academic advisor to 34 students, work study supervisor to 49 students, graduate advisor to 11 students, and has served on 23 graduate research committees. Under his supervision, work study students care for three large reef aquaria on campus, including the Panther Dining Hall lobby aquarium. Additionally, his training of undergraduates in his research program has resulted in their making presentations at national meetings and contributing to scientific publications.

Johnson contributes to the university in diverse ways. He serves on five university committees and is a member of four professional societies and his blogging efforts have helped to raise Florida Tech’s oceanography degree program to the top match in global web searches.He performs with the all-faculty rock band “TWITCHY,” which has raised more than $100,000 for scholarships for Florida Tech students. For the last three years, Johnson has served as the Ecology Panel Chair for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program.This panel has recommended over 100 of America’s finest young scientific minds for grant funding exceeding $10 million.Finally, as a Scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America, Johnson logs over 1,000 hours of community service annually, including public presentations and community volunteer work.

Winkelmann participates in all aspects of college education. He coordinates service courses, trains graduate teaching assistants, creates and evaluates new curriculum materials and, of course, teaches.He routinely receives high student evaluations for his 8 a.m. general chemistry courses.One of his professional interests is designing new lab experiments for introductory chemistry and nanotechnology courses, and evaluating their effectiveness. Much of this work was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and other agencies.

Among many responsibilities, Winkelmann coordinates the General Chemistry Program, which instructs about 900 students annually. He serves as co-director of the Graduate Student Training Seminar, a three-day workshop that prepares new graduate students to help teach Florida Tech undergraduates.He also serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nano Education. Last fall, the Orlando section of the American Chemical Society honored him with the 2012 Outstanding Four-Year College Teacher award.

Fulton earned his award for research excellence through his contributions to the mathematical eigenfunction expansion theory associated with Sturm-Liouville problems having two singular endpoints. Problems of this type arise in a wide variety of applications in science and engineering, including quantum mechanics, quantum chemistry, heat transfer, fluid flow, solid-state physics and electromagnetics.

A 58-page paper of his own with a novel approach was published in the Mathematische Nachrichten in 2008, followed by two more papers in 2010 and 2012 with Heinz Langer of the Institute for Analysis and Scientific Computing, Vienna Institute of Technology and Annemarie Luger of Stockholm University. This work was supported by the Computational Mathematics Program of the National Science Foundation.

“Dr. Fulton’s idea is one of the most outstanding and important contributions to the theory and numerics of Sturm-Liouville equations with two singular end points from the last decade,” said Professor Heinz Langer.

Professor Angelo Mingarelli, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and professor at Carleton University, Canada, said, “It is a rare thing in the life of a researcher to come up with something so important and permanent as represented by this research.”

Professor Don Hinton of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said,

“Professor Fulton is a world leader in the numerical computation of Sturm-Liouville problems.”

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