The South Dakotan
The University of South Dakota has recognized three faculty
members for outstanding research. Receiving the prestigious
President’s Research Awards in 2012 are Mark Dixon, Ph.D.,
Mary Berry, Ph.D. and Andrew Shim, Ed.D.
The trio was selected through a highly competitive process
with both university and external reviewers. The awards are a
strong endorsement of each researcher’s creativity and innovation
and an honor for the university to bestow.
In each category, candidates were reviewed based on past
and current research accomplishments, including criteria such
as publications, presentations, successful grantsmanship, serving
as a peer reviewer, maintenance of an active graduate and/or
undergraduate program and other competitive research awards.
The Innovation & Entrepreneurship award further required
demonstrated innovative thinking or research findings with
promising commercial potential as well as a concept that
had progressed beyond the theoretical stage to the applied
stage. Each award recipient received a $3,000 grant and a
commemorative plaque.
The President’s Award for Research Excellence for
Early-Mid Career Faculty went to Mark Dixon, Ph.D.,
associate professor in the Department of Biology. Dixon’s
research specialty is in ecology, with a focus on the factors
that influence vegetation dynamics, landscape change and
biodiversity of river floodplains. USD has been an excellent
fit for his research interests, given that the centerpiece of his
research program has been the ecology and effects of river
management on cottonwood forests within the Missouri River
floodplain. Dixon’s research has attracted more than $2 million
in grant and contract monies, including grants from the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, the South Dakota Department of
Game, Fish and Parks and the National Park Service as well
as a contract with Louis Berger and Associates.
USD awarded the President’s Award for Research Excellence
for Established Faculty to Mary Berry, Ph.D., professor in the
Department of Chemistry. She has spent her entire career at
USD, starting as an assistant professor in 1991 and serving as
chair of chemistry from 2001–2011. In 2007, Berry established
a materials chemistry Ph.D. program that has grown three-fold
to a mix of more than 35 master’s and doctoral students. She
has been the principal investigator on many large research-
related awards that support the department’s progress towards a
nationally recognized graduate program. Berry supervises a large
group of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral
fellows, which has led to publications in quality peer-reviewed
journals. She has a national reputation based upon successful
grants and publications, and she regularly sits on National Science
Foundation panels and also peer-reviews manuscripts. Berry is
currently the director of the Photo Active Nanoscale Systems
collaborative group and the Northern Plains Undergraduate
Research Center.
The President’s Award for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
was given to Andrew Shim, Ed.D., associate professor in the
Department of Kinesiology and Sport Science. Shim is an early
career faculty member who is making great strides in research in
modalities in diverse populations. He has developed a specific
device that could assist the senior population in quantifying
lower-body power output through a stair-ramp device. The focal
point of this research is to modify, facilitate and implement the
existing Fall Prevention Program for older adults at four specific
independent living centers in South Dakota. The project hopes
to gain the support of local manufacturers to provide low-cost
replicas of the power test device so marketing and production
then could be targeted. With the centenarian population
increasing significantly by 2050, Shim’s research has the potential
to make significant strides in aiding the aging population
throughout the U.S.
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