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Knot theorist, stream-water expert among new members in Duke's Bass Society of Fellows

<p>Members of the Bass Society of Fellows are chosen based on their&nbsp;contributions to research and undergraduate teaching.</p>

Members of the Bass Society of Fellows are chosen based on their contributions to research and undergraduate teaching.

Five faculty members were selected to join Duke’s Bass Society of Fellows, the University announced Tuesday.

The award recognizes recipients for their contributions to research as well as undergraduate teaching. Joining a cohort of 78 other Bass Fellows, the faculty will receive an endowed chair position and hold this role for a total of five years before becoming lifetime members of the Bass Society of Fellows.

“This honor exemplifies the best of Duke, where our top faculty combine outstanding teaching and world-class research,” said Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education, in a Duke Today release. “Bass faculty are nominated by their peers, and then vetted by a committee charged to establish both their reputation as internationally recognized scholars and their excellence as innovative and dedicated undergraduate teachers.”

The Bass Society of Fellows dates back to 1996, when Anne and Robert Bass donated $10 million to the University to encourage future donations from others in recognition of faculty scholarship. As part of the original agreement, donations for endowed chair positions from alumni, parents or other Duke affiliates are matched in their entirety by the Bass Challenge for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.

Here are the recipients:

Emily Bernhardt, the Jerry G. and Patricia Hubbard professor of biology, is a widely recognized expert in stream-water ecology. She redesigned the biology department's core ecology class to a flipped style in an effort to encourage independent thinking.

Kristin Goss, the Kevin D. Gorter associate professor of public policy, spearheaded the Duke in D.C. program. Her work as a political scientist has influenced policies in areas like gun control and women in politics.

Joel Meyer, Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown and Sons associate professor of molecular environmental toxicology, is renowned for his studies in environmental genomics and toxicology. He has helped craft several undergraduate experiences across campus, including a Bass Connections seminar, and serves as an advisor at the Nicholas School of the Environment. In addition, he has published more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Lenhard Ng, Eads Family professor of mathematics, is a renowned knot theorist and has been lauded for his eagerness to mentor students both at Duke and the North Carolina School for Mathematics and Science.

Marc Sommer, W. H. Gardner Jr. associate professor of biomedical engineering, studies the neural circuits of the brain and aims to determine how the brain's intricate components work together to create consciousness and cognition. Students have referred to Sommer as one of the best instructors in the biomedical engineering department, complimenting his ability to teach problem solving to students.


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