Hope College biology and chemistry professor Dr. Maria Burnatowska-Hledin has been presented one of two 2016 Janet Andersen Lecture Awards by the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science.

The award recognizes Burnatowska-Hledin’s longstanding success in teaching, research, involving students in research, and innovative curriculum design.  The recognition includes an invitation to speak during one of the consortium’s Undergraduate Research Symposia on a topic of the recipient’s choice.

A member of the faculty since 1992, Burnatowska-Hledin is the Frederich Garrett and Helen Floor Dekker Professor of Biomedicine and Chemistry at Hope, and was appointed as an A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Fellow at the college in 2013.  She has directed Hope’s interdisciplinary Biochemistry Molecular Biology (BMB) major since its inception in 2009 and led its accreditation by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in 2014.  Hope College became one of only 13 institutions in the nation with an ASBMB-accredited major.

Her research program has supported an average of six to eight students per year and has garnered more than $1.3 million in external grant funding.  It is particularly noteworthy that all of Burnatowska-Hledin’s Hope College publications have included students as co-authors.  More importantly, students working in her lab have enjoyed great success in getting into graduate programs, professional schools, and employed positions in the fields of biology, chemistry and biochemistry.  Last year’s Janet Andersen Lecture Award winner, Dr. Laura Listenberger of the faculty at St. Olaf College, is a 1997 Hope graduate who did undergraduate research in Burnatowska-Hledin’s lab and has credited her for her outstanding mentoring of students.

Janet Andersen was a beloved faculty member in the Department of Mathematics at Hope College for 14 years and served enthusiastically as the Midstates Consortium director for five years before her life ended tragically in an automobile accident in November 2005. As a teacher and scholar, she was devoted to providing creative, high quality learning experiences for her students, and she herself was always learning as she was teaching. As consortium director, she looked for ways to connect with and support natural science faculty, both new and experienced. The Janet Andersen Lecture Award was established in 2008 to honor Janet Andersen’s dedication and commitment to her work with students and faculty in her teaching, research and service to the consortium.

The Midstates Consortium for Mathematics and Science was founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts in 1988. The consortium seeks to improve undergraduate science and mathematics education by providing high-quality and flexible professional development opportunities for students and faculty at the member institutions. Major activities include two annual symposia on undergraduate research hosted at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Chicago, faculty development workshops, and exchange programs that support visits of students and faculty members to other member schools to give presentations or to enhance research collaborations.  A total of 18 Hope students were among those who made research presentations during the most recent meetings in St. Louis and Chicago.