Northwestern faculty members Kenzie Cameron, Richard D’Aquila, Michael Ison and Bryna Kra are being honored with this year’s Provost Award for Exemplary Faculty Service.
The annual award from the Office of the Provost recognizes full-time faculty members who provide outstanding service to Northwestern or significant contributions to their individual units and are exemplars of good academic citizenship.
The recognition comes with a $5,000 award, and all four faculty members will be honored at a reception in the spring.
Kenzie Cameron is a research professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine. She is being recognized for her extraordinary service and excellence in mentorship, both within Feinberg and across the University. She has worked tirelessly to have mentoring recognized as a valued activity.
One nomination said of Cameron: “Kenzie believes that mentoring should be part of what makes Northwestern excellent and that Northwestern can be a model for how mentoring should work in higher education.”
Cameron led an interdisciplinary cross-campus Mentoring Work Group as part of the Provost’s Advisory Council on Women Faculty that ultimately developed Northwestern’s first University-wide mentoring program for faculty. The yearlong mentoring program depends on senior faculty volunteers, and it now offers training to those volunteers and provides a community of like-minded peers. Both mentors and mentees report high satisfaction with the program. As a mentor herself, Cameron has worked with more than 30 junior faculty members and postdoctoral fellows, both inside and outside of her division at Feinberg. By investing much of her time, expertise and enthusiasm with mentees and fellow mentors, Cameron has formalized a strong culture of mentorship at Northwestern.
Richard D’Aquila is the Howard Taylor Ricketts Professor in the Infectious Disease Division of the Department of Medicine at Feinberg. He is being recognized for his extraordinary service guiding Northwestern through the COVID-19 pandemic by lending his medical expertise to the University decision-making process and frequently meeting with groups of faculty, staff and students to answer their questions and explain the science behind the evolving institutional response.
“Richard has an innate ability to synthesize science and data into practical, useful advice at the macro level and at the individual level,” said Vice President for Operations Luke Figora, who has led Northwestern’s response to the pandemic. “He has been a calm and reassuring resource for the entire University community through the twists and turns of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
D’Aquila frequently meets with University leaders to address issues of health and safety on Northwestern’s busy campuses, particularly for unique elements of university life such as athletics and performance. Additionally, he has joined numerous public and private webinars and meetings with faculty and staff, as well as students and their parents, to provide insights into the latest pandemic developments and advice for guarding against the spread of the virus.
Michael Ison is a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease and professor of surgery in the Division of Organ Transplantation at Feinberg. He is being recognized for his extraordinary service guiding Northwestern through the COVID-19 pandemic, regularly meeting with members of the University community to offer his medical perspective and answer questions, and providing valuable advice to University leaders.
“Michael always thinks of the health and safety of our students and colleagues first,” said Vice President for Operations Luke Figora. “As a doctor who works with transplant patients, Michael understands the concerns of some of the most vulnerable members of the community. He has become a trusted voice of reason during a period of time fraught with fear and anxiety.”
Ison has volunteered significant time to meeting with faculty and staff, as well as students and their families, to provide context to the pandemic and Northwestern’s measures to protect its active community. He helped to support Kari Krueger, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Disease, who led the University through a National Institutes of Health study on COVID-19 infection and virus transmission after vaccination among undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 26 and also serves as a trusted advisor to University leaders as they update institutional strategies for mitigating spread of the virus on Northwestern’s campuses.
Bryna Kra is the Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor of Mathematics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She is being recognized for her outstanding support and mentorship of young mathematicians as well as her service to both her department and the University. Contributions include expanding the department’s postdoctoral programs, establishing mentoring groups within the department and across the University, and serving on a diverse list of University committees.
According to one nomination, “The mathematics department simply wouldn’t be what it is today without her continuous, consistent and unswerving guidance.”
In her mentorship role, Kra seeks to create a more diverse mathematical community, working in particular with women and members of other historically underrepresented groups. She founded the Women in Mathematicsgroup at Northwestern in 2005 and continues to organize meetings. Kra also founded GROW (GraduateResearch Opportunities for Women), an annual conference specifically designed to increase therepresentation of women in mathematics. After being held for three years at Northwestern, the award-winning conference now is hosted by other universities.
Kra is a co-founder and co-organizer of the CausewayPostbaccalaureate Program in Northwestern’s mathematics department. This innovative yearlong program aims to increase the number of graduate students in mathematics from historically underrepresented groups. The program’s first cohort started this academic year.