Chemistry, biology professors honored for outstanding teaching

Carolyn Chambers, Roy Cohen recipients of Joan G. McDonald Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Sciences | May 1, 2006

Carolyn Chambers, chair of the department of biology, and chemistry lab instructor Roy J. Cohen, are the 2006 recipients of the Joan G. McDonald Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Sciences. The pair received the awards from University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., and Dr. Robert H. McDonald Jr. during a ceremony on April 3.

Chambers has been a member of the biology faculty since 1978 and served as biology chair from 1987-1993 and from 2003 to the present. She received a B.A. in biological science from Stanford University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in zoology from the University of California. She is also chair of the health sciences committee, which oversees all pre-health professional programs and students, and has been an advisor to many student organizations. She has also published scientific articles in the fields of reproduction biology, cell and tissue research and cell biology.

“I am honored to be chosen to receive this award,” says Chambers. “Dr. and Mrs. McDonald have done a wonderful thing to provide support for science education in this way. I appreciate the recognition, not just for myself, but for the value the award places on science at Xavier University and in our society in general.”

Cohen received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Delaware Valley College, a Master of Education with a chemistry specialization from Xavier, and a Ph.D. in education from Kennedy-Western University. He did graduate work and research in environmental chemistry at Drexel University in Philadelphia in the late 1980s. He joined Xavier on a part-time basis in 1997 and became a full-time chemistry instructor in 2002.

He was a career chemist with companies that contracted with such agencies as the EPA, the Department of Energy and the Navy. He also worked at the Fernald Remediation project from 1992-2002 as a senior chemist, QA officer and lab manager. In addition, Cohen serves as a chemical consultant and tutors high school students in chemistry.

“Receiving the McDonald Award was very humbling and rewarding,” Cohen says. “My life's passion has always been for teaching, and receiving this award has only served to increase my desire to become an even better instructor here at Xavier. I am very grateful to Dr. and Mrs. McDonald and to the faculty and students at Xavier for making this award possible, and for bestowing it upon me.”

Dr. McDonald established the McDonald Award in 1997 in honor of his late wife, Joan. The award recognizes outstanding teaching among natural science faculty members. Dr. McDonald graduated from Xavier in 1955 with a degree in chemistry and has had a very successful career as a physician in Pittsburgh.

The McDonald Teaching Award carries a $10,000 prize, half of which goes directly to the recipient and half of which is held in a fund earmarked for support of the recipients’ work.

Dr. McDonald also sponsors a companion bi-annual award of $5,000 given to an outstanding lab instructor. Half of the award goes directly to the recipient and half held in a fund earmarked for support of the recipients’ work.