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Alumni Association Distinguished Research, Excellence in Engaged Scholarship and Creative Achievement Awards

The University of Memphis honored five faculty members with its 2012 Alumni Association Distinguished Research Award during Faculty Convocation April 20. Four of the recipients are Arts & Sciences faculty and are featured in this page. The recipients were Beth Edwards, Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts; Dr. Emily Thrush, Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities; Dr. Margaret Vandiver, Distinguished Research in the Social Sciences, Business and Law; Dr. Sanjay Mishra, Distinguished Research in Science, Engineering and Mathematics; and Dr. Joy Clay, Excellence in Engaged Scholarship.

Distinguished researchers: (from left) Dr. Sanjay Mishra, Professor Beth Edwards, Dr. Margaret Vandiver, Dr. Emily Thrush and Dr. Joy Clay. (Photo by Susan Prater)
Distinguished researchers: (from left) Dr. Sanjay Mishra, Professor Beth Edwards, Dr. Margaret Vandiver, Dr. Emily Thrush and Dr. Joy Clay. (Photo by Susan Prater)

Dr. Sanjay Mishra, a professor in the Department of Physics, is a highly recognized researcher in magnetic nanomaterials and biomaterials as evidenced by more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles in national and international journals, his strong interdisciplinary and collaborative research program, and his exemplary record of extramural funding. Mishra's research has important applications in the development of novel magnetic nanomaterials for targeted drug delivery, high-performance magnets for energy-saving devices, nanoscale microwave devices, materials for wound healing, polymers for implants, and nanoparticles for detecting early cancer cells. In addition, he has established a rigorous materials science research program and was instrumental in the development of a material sciences concentration at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in physics.

Dr. Emily Thrush, a professor in the Department of English, has established a remarkable and highly influential research agenda in the areas of professional communication and the teaching of English as a Second Language/applied linguistics. She has authored or co-authored influential textbooks on second language acquisition and has 26 refereed publications. She has received more than $2 million in research funding to support her research. Thrush is a highly respected figure in the field of intercultural communication. Her 1993 essay, "Bridging the Gap: Technical Communications in the International and Multicultural World," had been called "a pioneering article – a revelation for the field in making the case for multilingual and multicultural sensitivity and adaptation in technical communication."

Dr. Margaret Vandiver, a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, is an outstanding scholar who is widely respected for research focusing on violence at multiple levels. Her work spans individual, collective and government violence, leading her to evaluate homicide, legal execution, lynching and genocide. Vandiver has published two books, has more than 45 peer-reviewed publications and has received extensive extramural funding. Her research is heralded as being "rich in theory and supported by the painstaking collection and rigorous analysis of data." Vandiver is described as a "compassionate scholar" and recognized as speaking in her writings for those who do not have a voice of their own.

Dr. Joy Clay is a professor in the Division of Public and Nonprofit Administration in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy and is associate dean for Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a highly accomplished and engaged scholar. Her commitment to engaged research is demonstrated by sustained and cultivated partnerships across communities, and communities of practice, as well as through her impressive publication and grantsmanship record. The spirit of engagement is at the heart of Clay's professional life. She has invested in, built and sustained significant and meaningful partnerships with local and state government, community organizations, and nonprofit agencies. Through her teaching, research and outreach, she "embodies the mission of the engaged urban university."

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