TNCC Biology Professor Awarded VCCS Chancellor’s Faculty Fellowship


Published: May 24, 2010

Thomas Nelson Community College’s (TNCC) Jennifer Martin, Assistant Professor of Biology has received the 2010-2011 Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) Chancellor’s Faculty Fellowship.

The prestigious award is given annually to no more than three professional educators within the VCCS  “to ensure that capable people within the VCCS have opportunities to prepare themselves for top-level management and instructional positions within the VCCS.”

Martin was chosen as 2010-2011 Chancellor’s Faculty Fellowship by a committee comprised of one college president, one vice president or provost, chair of the Chancellor’s Faculty Advisory Council, three members of the VCCS Professional Development Committee, and the Director of Professional Development.

Each award recipient receives a fellowship grant of up to $12,500 to cover the cost of attendance as well as three-quarters salary and a leave of absence of up to one-year from VCCS duties with continuation of VCCS employee benefits, including insurance, retirement, seniority. The Chancellor’s Faculty Fellows are required to engage in full-time graduate study, which includes time used to complete course work and/or the time needed to complete a dissertation.

Martin is pursuing a Doctoral degree in Marine Science at The College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). “My research program centers on marine fishes and their environments, integrating questions pertaining to biology, ecology, genetics and oceanography. More specifically, the focus of my dissertation is on the systematics and evolution of the Lampridiform fishes, the oarfishes and their relatives, from the Indo-West Pacific Ocean,” Martin said.

In 2009, Martin received a grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct field research in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. The Chancellor’s fellowship will provide the flexibility Martin needs to conduct research in Africa and Asia and work at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. “Upon my return to TNCC, I will have greater time to focus on providing the opportunity for students to experience and integrate cultural, academic and scientific diversity through high quality science education and research programs,” Martin said.

Martin has been a TNCC faculty member for five years, introducing several new courses to the curriculum, including Biology 102 Honors, Science for Middle School Teachers, Marine Biology, Research Methods in Biology and Tropical Ecology, a course that includes two weeks of field study in Costa Rica, Nicaragua or both countries. Earlier this year, Martin was selected as one of 13 science researchers and educators to travel to China as part of the United States Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) China Workshop. Martin was the only representative from a community college. “I am extremely dedicated to expanding excellence in the science program at TNCC for both majors and non-majors. The Chancellor’s Faculty Fellowship offers the unique opportunity to complete my doctoral dissertation with a guarantee to return to my faculty position at Thomas Nelson Community College,” Martin said.

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