Karen Nordell

Tag: Karen Nordell

Lawrence University Art Historian, Chemist Recognized for Teaching Excellence

Art historian Carol Lawton was cited with an unprecedented third teaching award and chemist Karen Nordell was recognized for her teaching prowess among junior faculty Sunday, June 13 at Lawrence University’s 155th commencement.

Lawton, professor of art history, received Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, given annually to a faculty member for outstanding performance in the teaching process, including the quest to ensure students reach their full development as individuals, human beings and future leaders of society.

Nordell, assistant professor of chemistry, was presented the Young Teacher Award in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.

The recipient of the college’s Young Teacher Award in 1982 and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 1998, Lawton is Lawrence’s only faculty member ever recognized with all three teaching honors.

A specialist in ancient Greek sculpture, Lawton joined the Lawrence art department in 1980. She has made numerous research trips to Greece to work with the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, where she is pursuing study on Greek and Roman votive reliefs excavated from the Athenian Agora, the center of civic activity of ancient Athens.

She is the author of the book, “Attic Document Reliefs of the Classical and Hellenistic Periods,” (Oxford University Press, 1995) and has received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the J. Paul Getty Trust. She serves as curator of Lawrence’s Ottilia Buerger Collection of ancient and Byzantine coins.

In presenting the award, Lawrence President Richard Warch cited Lawton’s faculty colleagues, who describe her teaching as “solid,” “demanding,” “tough-minded” and “characterized by an unremitting emphasis on precision and consistently high standards.”

“Art history majors credit you with igniting their passion for the subject and non majors relish the ways in which your courses broaden their educational horizons,” Warch said. “Your love of stone and how beautiful it can become in the hands of a Greek sculptor led you to carve out a niche for yourself in ancient art history. Your research with Greek and Roman votive reliefs emphasize not only the beauty of the objects themselves, but what the objects tell us about the culture, religion and politics of their period.”

A native of Oakland, Md., Lawton earned her bachelor’s degree in art history from Vassar College and her Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University.

Nordell, who joined the Lawrence chemistry department in 2000, is a specialist in materials chemistry, specifically nanoscale science, which focuses on the manipulation of matter at the smallest level, literally atom-by-atom.

In 2002, with the help of a grant from the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region, Nordell co-founded the outreach program PRYSM — Partners Reaching Youth in Science and Math. The program matches women students at Lawrence who are majoring in one of the sciences or mathematics with eighth-grade girls from Appleton’s Roosevelt Middle School. The Lawrence students serve as mentors and role models to their younger counterparts, providing tutoring assistance, conducting experiences and leading occasional field trips of scientific interest.

Warch cited Nordell’s “infectious enthusiasm” and her “genuine interest in her students” in recognizing her.

“They {students} admire and appreciate the limitless energy and passion for teaching you bring to all you do, praise expressed not only by chemistry majors but by the scientifically challenged as well,” Warch said. “Through your work with Partners Reaching Youth in Science and Math, known to us as PRYSM, and Girls Exploring Math and Science,
referred to as GEMS, you, your students and your colleague Eugenie Hunsicker have provided important role models for young girls in their early encounters with these disciplines.”

A graduate of Appleton East High School, Nordell earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in chemistry at Iowa State University.

Professors Katz, Nordell Become First Honorary Faculty Members of Lawrence Chapter of Mortar Board

For the first time in the organization’s 81-year history, two faculty members were among the new inductees in Lawrence University’s chapter of Mortar Board.

Derek Katz, assistant professor music, and Karen Nordell, assistant professor of chemistry, were initiated recently as honorary members at the organization’s annual spring program. They are the first two Lawrence faculty members to hold honorary membership in Lawrence’s Iota chapter of Mortar Board, a national honor society for seniors that recognizes outstanding leadership, scholarship and service to the academic community.

“Although Lawrence has never selected Mortar Board honorary members before, the contributions Dr. Katz and Dr. Nordell make to this campus and the larger community could not go unrecognized by our current chapter,” said Sarah Krile, student president of Mortar Board. “We felt that both of them fully exemplify and promote the three ideals of Mortar Board, namely the pursuit of academic excellence, the encouragement and practice of leadership and commitment to service. They are dedicated to their students and are highly respected among their peers. It was with great enthusiasm that we nominated them for this honor.”

Katz, who joined the conservatory faculty in 2000, was cited for his role as an advisor to Mortar Board and Sinfonia, the professional music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha, his work in helping to organize music history lectures and forums, sharing his expertise and time with the Russian and Eastern European Club, his regular attendance at recitals and lectures of students, many of whom he serves as both a formal and informal advisor and his “widely recognized” commitment to academic excellence.

Nordell, who also joined the faculty in 2000, was recognized for her accessibilty to students outside of the classroom, her role in organizing a variety of outreach programs, including the new PRYSM (Partners Reaching Youth in Science and Mathematics) Program, which creates mentoring partnerships between Lawrence women undergraduates majoring in math and science and area eighth-grade girls, her leadership as the instigator in many Lawrence students presenting at their first undergraduate research conferences, her volunteer service as coach of the crew team as well as her role of “host Mom” for student dinners and outings for international students who cannot make it home for the holidays.