Ellen Gawalt, PhD, has been named interim dean of Duquesne University’s Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (BSNES), effective Thursday, July 1, 2021. She will step in for Philip Reeder, PhD, who will be rejoining the faculty to pursue his research.
A professor at Duquesne since 2003, Dr. Gawalt is a Hillman Distinguished Professor and chair of the school’s chemistry and biochemistry departments. An affiliated faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, her research group focuses on the surface chemistry of biomaterials to improve tissue-material interaction.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to work directly with Dr. Gawalt. She has an impressive academic background and has been a stellar leader of the chemistry and biochemistry department,” said Provost David Dausey, PhD. “She will be an excellent interim dean who will continue to advance and grow the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences for a new generation of students.”
Dr. Gawalt is a mentor for the Bayer Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships and research opportunities for underrepresented groups in chemistry. Since 2013, 18 students have graduated from the program under Dr. Gawalt’s supervision and gone on to work in industry or attend graduate school. The program serves as another example of Duquesne’s long-standing commitment to creating equity and opportunity in the region.
“Dr. Gawalt’s students have graduated from Duquesne prepared for anything and have gone on to success in an array of professions. Her teaching acumen, research expertise and commitment to all students position her well to step into this leadership role at the Bayer School,” said Duquesne President Ken Gormley, JD. “The faculty, staff and students at Bayer will benefit greatly from her service as interim dean.”
A prolific researcher, Dr. Gawalt has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and presentations. Her research has generated more than $3.5 million in funding, with a focus on scientific discovery and student education. Dr. Gawalt is a two-time recipient of the BSNES Excellence in Teaching Award and also has been honored with the University’s Creative Teaching Award.
“Science plays such an important role in our society, so it’s an honor to help educate the next generation of scientists,” Dr. Gawalt said. “As interim dean, I look forward to working alongside our excellent faculty and staff to help students explore new discoveries and reach their goals.”
Dr. Gawalt received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Duke University and her master’s and doctoral degrees in chemistry from Princeton University.