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Chemistry Professor Honored with Pittsburgh Regional Undergraduate Leadership Excellence Award

Public Relations
Posted: Monday Feb 3, 2014

Feb. 3, 2014

Dr. Caryl L. Fish, associate professor of chemistry at Saint Vincent College’s Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing, was recently honored with the Pittsburgh Regional Undergraduate Leadership Excellence Award.

The presentation was made by Dr. Jeffrey Evanseck on Dec. 3, 2013 at Duquesne University’s Student Union Africa Ballroom. The award is given annually to faculty from southwestern Pennsylvania regional institutions which have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and sustained excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

Dr. Stephen Jodis, dean of the Boyer School, introduced Fish at the award ceremony.

Fish, program director of the Saint Vincent College bachelor of science degree program in environmental science, is the founding director of the program which was initiated in 2004. She is also a full-time faculty member in the department of chemistry where she serves as both the environmental chemist and the analytical chemist.

She earned her bachelor of science degree with distinction from Manchester College with a double major in chemistry and environmental studies. After five years as a developmental chemist at St. Regis Paper Company, she returned to school and earned a master of business administration degree from the University of Dayton and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

She has been a member of the faculty at Saint Vincent College for 23 years. As director of the environmental science program since its inception in 2004, the program has grown from eight students to 30 and has graduated 23 students during that time. She is a longtime member of the Educational Policies Committee and has served as chair for several years. She recently became chair of the Core Curriculum Committee.

Fish is currently director of a project funded in part by the Dominion Foundation and the Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grants Program entitled Laboratory Modules in Energy and the Environment. She also serves as project director of Mine Map Digitizing, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, that entails the digitization of coal mine maps and entry into GIS. These maps date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s in southwestern Pennsylvania. She has also been the project manager on multiple projects related to the remediation of abandoned mine drainage in the local watershed through wetlands constructed on Saint Vincent property. The Monastery Run Improvement Project recently observed the 20th anniversary of its success in cleaning the waters of Monastery Run and Loyalhanna Creek in Latrobe. A former member of the steering committee for the Loyalhanna Mine Drainage Coalition, she has also served as a member and president of the board of directors of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association. In recent years she has obtained grant funding to purchase numerous pieces of analytical equipment to enhance student learning including high performance liquid chromatography and ion chromatography.

In conjunction with the Saint Vincent curriculum which requires all students in the natural sciences to complete a three-semester research project consisting of a research proposal, laboratory experimentation and a written thesis, Fish has mentored more than 60 undergraduate students as their research advisor.

Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president of Saint Vincent College, upon learning of Dr. Fish’s award, commented, “Dr. Fish has provided solid, sustained leadership over more than 20 years at Saint Vincent College. Besides the expected teaching and laboratory duties, she has played a central role in the Monastery Run Project. She has authored several National Science Foundation proposals to revise curricula with modern instrumentation and, for many years, has served on and chaired our Educational Policies Committee. She is a deserving recipient of the 2013 Pittsburgh Regional Undergraduate Leadership Excellence Award.”

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Photo: Dr. Caryl L Fish, center, professor of chemistry at Saint Vincent College, is presented the Pittsburgh Regional Undergraduate Leadership Excellence Award by Dr. Jeffrey Evanseck, left, of Duquesne University, and Dr. Stephen Jodis, right, of Saint Vincent College.

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