Galileo Circle Copernicus Awards

College of Science Dean Joaquin Ruiz is pleased to announce the 2017 Galileo Circle Copernicus Award Recipients.

2017 Galileo Circle Fellows
2017 Galileo Circle Copernicus Awardees John Pollard, Peter Loch, Becca Van Sickler, Carol Bender, and Jeffrey Kingsley (copyright 2016 FOTOSMITH)

The Galileo Circle Copernicus Award is one of the highest honors the College of Science can bestow on its non-tenure eligible faculty, appointed personnel or classified staff. These awards, established through the generosity of Galileo Circle members, recognize individuals whose extraordinary accomplishments significantly advance the mission of a department and the knowledge base of a discipline. Each Copernicus Awardee receives $2,500 and lifetime membership in the Galileo Circle.

2017 Galileo Circle Copernicus Awardees

John Pollard
Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

John Pollard is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona and the co-author of the nationally recognized and innovative Chemical Thinking curriculum and supporting ebook. Besides his interests in transforming the general chemistry course at the University level, John has expertise in the design and implementation of active engagement pedagogical approaches for small and large classrooms. He recently spearheaded the Collaborative Learning Space Project at the University of Arizona where traditional classrooms and library spaces are being transformed into learning environments suited for classes centered on active learning approaches. John’s current research interests are centered on understanding how student meta-cognitive patterns and group influences relates to their engagement in the classroom and learning outcomes in his Chemical Thinking course.

Peter Loch
Associate Research Scientist, Department of Physics

Peter is an experimental particle physicist who is best known for his contributions to the scientific success of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland. His pioneering work in the ATLAS collaboration includes the measurement of the internal structure of the highly collimated bundles of particles emerging from the proton collisions. Experimentally resolving this structure yields previously inaccessible insight in their origin, and is used in searches for the known and potentially unknown missing pieces of understanding the forces in nature and the composition of matter. Peter is a recognized expert in the measurement of particle energy and collaborates with world-renown domestic and international experts. He is an active scholar teaching modern experimental techniques and analysis strategies at top institutes in Europe and the US, and was a CERN Scientific Associate, a prestigious and selective assignment. In addition, he established and maintains important relations to national laboratories like SLAC, LBNL and BNL, and introduces physics graduate students to these facilities.

Becca Van Sickler
Senior Program Coordinator, Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program

Becca Van Sickler has been a part of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NSCS) program since it began in 2010 with only 29 students. Working closely with the program’s director, Becca was responsible for all the work needed to administratively establish the program at the university level and has been instrumental in developing the program to a current enrollment of over 500 students. Becca has an intensive advising role for full majors and is teaching a 1-unit course for freshman and transfer pre-majors to ensure their ability to navigate the program. Currently Becca serves on two NSCS committees: the Undergraduate Studies Committee, which handles admissions and awards, and the Curriculum Committee. She has recently developed the NSCS Ambassadors Program and a peer-mentoring program and has been instrumental in establishing a local chapter of the national Neuroscience Honorary Society.

Carol Bender
Distinguished Outreach Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Carol Bender is a University Distinguished Outreach Professor and Director of the Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP). She became the UBRP Director in 1989, a program that now boasts 2,400 alumni. In 1992 she established the Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Open (BRAVO!) Program so that research experienced undergraduates could work in research groups in other countries. In recognition of her international work, she was awarded two Fulbright Fellowships (Japan, 1997 and India, 2011) and in 2001 received one of 32 Millennium International Volunteer Awards given by the US State Department. She is involved in international outreach as the founder and past president of the Arizona Chapter of the Fulbright Association. In 2015 she became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Jeffrey S. Kingsley
Associate Director, Steward Observatory

Jeff Kingsley’s experience working on antennas, instruments, optics and large telescopes spans over a period of 30 years. He joined the University of Arizona in 2003 and was promoted to Associate Director of Steward Observatory in 2006. During his tenure at UA he has been most involved in managing projects, telescopes and technical groups for private, public, government and defense customers. As Director of Projects, Engineering and Technical Services for Steward Observatory and College of Optical Sciences, Mr. Kingsley oversees more than 20 projects comprised of leading edge advances in adaptive optics, fabrication and testing of large complex mirrors and optical systems. He manages teams consisting of more than 150 scientists, engineers and technicians who implement these projects while supporting more than 26 telescopes on eight sites worldwide.


Previous Galileo Circle Copernicus Awardees

Lisa Elfring
Associate Professor, Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Chemistry and Biochemistry

Yeon Sun Lee
Research Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Devid Meko
Research Professor, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research

Lynne Oland
Research Scientist, Department of Neuroscience

Mobile Menu