2014 Sigma Xi Award Winners

2014 Awards

Sigma Xi, the research honor society at Texas A&M University, recently recognized a research scientist and a senior lecturer with its top awards at its annual ceremony.

The Outstanding Distinguished Scientist award was presented to James Womack, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Womack is the W.P. Luse Professor of Pathobiology and holds a joint academic appointment in the Department of Molecular & Cellular Medicine, College of Medicine and Faculty of Genetics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Womack received his Ph.D. in 1968 from Oregon State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recipient of the 1994 Ciba-Geigy Prize for Research in Animal Health and the 2001 Wolf Prize in Agriculture. Womack has served as coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Research Support Project 8 Cattle Genome Program and as president of the International Society for Animal Genetics, the American Genetics Association, and the Texas Genetics Society. He has published, with students and associates, more than 360 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. His research interests are comparative genomics, mapping the bovine genome, and the genetic basis of disease resistance in mammals.

The chapter’s Outstanding Science Communicator award went to Tatiana Erukhimova, a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science. Erukhimova received her Ph.D. in physics from the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1999. She serves as the physics outreach coordinator and coordinated eight physics and engineering festivals attended by thousands of visitors from all over Texas and other states. She developed the Physics Show, an interactive presentation involving entertaining physics demonstrations and hands-on exhibits. Since 2007, Erukhimova has conducted more than 170 shows, which have been attended by more than 11,000 people of all ages. In 2012, she received a Tier One Program grant from Texas A&M for engaging students in physics and engineering outreach. She is a co-organizer of the Mitchell Institute Physics Enhancement Program, which includes annual summer boarding schools for physics teachers from Texas high schools. Erukhimova has been sharing her experience and passion for physics outreach through presentations at local, national and international conferences.

The Sigma Xi ceremony, which is held each spring, also presented Outstanding Math and Science Teachers Awards to Sally Hughes, Outstanding Math and Science Teacher, Greens Prairie Elementary School in College Station; Rebekah Schaub, Outstanding Science Teacher, Stephen F. Austin Middle School in Bryan; and Jamie Bassett, Outstanding Math Teacher, A&M Consolidated High School in College Station.

The honor society also presented prizes to six winners in its annual drawing and essay contest.

Former astronaut Gregory E. Chamitoff gave the keynote address, “The International Space Station: a Laboratory for the Science and Engineering to Enable our Future.”  Chamitoff is a professor of engineering practice in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering.