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Three Will Receive Distinguished Research Awards April 21
For release: April 14, 2006
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The University of Memphis Alumni Association has announced the three recipients of its Awards for Distinguished Research, Excellence in Engaged Scholarship, and Creative Achievement. Each will receive a $2,000 award during the University's annual Faculty Convocation at 2 p.m. April 21 in the Michael D. Rose Theatre.

Dr. James P. Whelan will be honored for excellence in engaged scholarship; Dr. William H. O'Donnell is the winner of the award for the humanities; and Dr. Joan T. Schmelz was chosen to represent the sciences, engineering, and math.

Whelan is an associate professor of psychology. His scholarship is a model of engagement with the community and spans three major areas: His work with the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology led to improved testing and licensing requirements and strengthened relationships between academic programs and practitioners. Under Whelan's leadership, the Psychological Services Center has provided mental health services to hundreds of area residents who otherwise would not have had access to services. He also helped establish the Institute for Gambling Education and Research, which offers outpatient treatment for problem gambling and serves as a catalyst for research conducted by Whelan and psychology students.

O'Donnell joined the U of M faculty in 1986, first as chairman of the English Department, which he later served as professor. He is a scholar of modernist literature and the poetry and prose of William Butler Yeats. O'Donnell is a leading critic and editor of Yeats, an Irish poet, novelist, and playwright who is a major figure in international modernist literature. O'Donnell's scholarly readings and editions of Yeats' wide-ranging work have helped redefine the writer's place in literature.

He is internationally recognized for his many conference presentations, articles, and six major book publications.

Schmelz is a professor of physics whose research interests lie in astrophysics. She uses diagnostic measurements in the X-ray and ultraviolet wavelength ranges to characterize physical conditions, such as temperature, density, emissions, and elemental composition, of coronal active regions. Schmelz has developed a strong federally funded program in astrophysics.

She has published more than 50 scientific papers on a variety of astronomical subjects including stars, galaxies, interstellar matter, and the sun. Schmelz has worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where she was part of the operations team for the Solar Maximum Mission Satellite.

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