Peiris and Powell Win Robert J. Tomsich Science Awards

Kenyon recognized excellence in teaching, research, and creative work at the April 15 Honors Day Convocation, bestowing the Robert J. Tomsich Science Awards on professors Frank Peiris and Wade Powell.

The Tomsich awards were established in 1995 by Cleveland, Ohio, businessman Robert Tomsich, a long-time Kenyon trustee and currently an emeritus trustee. The cash award is given in recognition of scientific excellence in past and current research, contributions to the strength of research efforts at the College, and promise of continuing creative leadership in such endeavors.

Frank Peiris is an assistant professor of physics and Kenyon's Harvey F. Lodish Faculty Development Chair in Natural Science. His research focuses on nanostructures and optical and electronic properties of thin films. Since arriving at the College in 2001, he has been awarded two single-investigator research grants. He has published his work in professional journals, including collaborative work with Kenyon students who are co-authors.

He was recognized "as an excellent research mentor to students. He combines his encouragement of student research with his enthusiasm for teaching. A colleague stated that he 'exemplifies the synergy between teaching excellence and scholarly engagement' that represents the Kenyon ideal."

Assistant Professor of Biology Wade Powell's research is concerned with understanding how organisms respond to environmental contaminants in aquatic environments. He and his students are working with the African-clawed frog as a model to investigate the molecular mechanisms responsible for this frog's ability to resist negative effects of dioxins.

Since joining Kenyon's faculty in 2000, Powell has received three substantial grants to support his work and to support the work of several Kenyon Summer Science students.

Powell was recognized for "an impressive publication record, which includes papers with Kenyon students as co-authors. He has mentored an unusually large number of Kenyon students in his research program, and his colleagues describe him as a 'gifted teacher who is a model of the Kenyon teacher-scholar ideal.'"