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Professor Candi Galen recognized for contributions to women’s education

March 22, 2016

Carlie Barham, Alice Tipton, Candace Galen, Austin Lynn

Prof. Galen (center) with three of her current students (L-R), Carlie Barham, Alice Tipton, and Austin Lynn

Candace Galen, professor of biological sciences, received the 2016 Alumnae Anniversary Faculty Award from the Women & Gender Studies Department and the MU Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women.

The award is given annually to outstanding faculty members at the University of Missouri for their teaching excellence and/or other contributions to the education of women.

Jennifer Geib, Ph.D. ‘10, nominated Galen for the award. In her letter of support, Geib pointed to the number of women Galen has mentored and the impact she has had on their careers in science, including her own.

“Candi’s mentorship of me as a scientist and encouragement to follow my own independent research interests was a critical step in preparing me to build my own research lab and mentor graduate students in my current position as Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Appalachian State University,” wrote Geib.

Geib said that 12 of the 16 graduate students mentored by Galen have been women, which she observed is “above the overall percentages of women receiving master’s and doctoral degrees in the biological sciences.” Galen has mentored a number of women undergraduates as well: 15 in the last 5 years, wrote Geib.

Jessica Kettenbach, B.S. ‘14, is one of those undergraduates. Kettenbach, who is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in applied ecology at North Carolina State University, said she chose to pursue her advanced degree after doing research as an undergraduate in Galen’s lab. In her letter of support, Kettenbach recalled how important Galen’s encouragement and advice were to her when she was applying for graduate school.

“When I was feeling particularly hopeless about getting into a good school, Dr. Galen sensed it. She tracked me down and gave me the confidence I needed to submit an application to my top choice university, and I was accepted,” wrote Kettenbach. “Dr. Galen understands firsthand the challenges young scientists, especially women, face in the scientific community today, and she offers the support and advice to overcome those barriers.”

Another former undergraduate, Sadie Todd, B.A. ‘10, said that, because of Galen, she graduated from MU with more than just a “diverse and robust training” in science and research.

“She inspired me to find the time and the energy to find ways to foster the love of knowledge and science in others, and I greatly value her efforts in emphasizing the importance of public service as a scientist and a community member,” wrote Todd, who is now working as an entomologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Katie Becklin, Ph.D. ’10, shared a similar sentiment in her letter of support. Galen, she said, taught her that passion is critical for science. “From the very beginning, Dr. Galen emphasized the importance of discovering and pursuing questions that make me excited to be a scientist. If I’m not excited about my work, then how can I expect others to be?” she wrote.

Becklin, who is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas, credited Galen for her success, adding “I can only hope to pay it forward by sharing my knowledge and passion for ecology with the next generation of women scientists.”

Galen was presented with the award at a reception on March 15. She was accompanied by three of her current students, Alice Tipton, Austin Lynn, and Carlie Barham.

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Written by: Melody Kroll

Related categories:
Alumni, Awards, Graduate Studies