Five University of Iowa faculty members have been selected to receive the inaugural Iowa Mid-Career Faculty Scholar Awards.
The award provides funding to outstanding tenured associate professors who have an established national or international reputation in their discipline and are exceptional teachers in and outside the classroom.
Each recipient will be given $25,000 per year for three years to support their scholarly activities.
The recipients are:
- Mary Charlton, associate professor, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health
- Melissa Febos, associate professor, Department of English and Nonfiction Writing Program, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)
- Michael Schnieders, associate professor, Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, and Department of Biochemistry, Carver College of Medicine
- Rong Su, associate professor, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Tippie College of Business
- Michelle Voss, associate professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, CLAS
“I am delighted to present the inaugural Iowa Mid-Career Faculty Scholar Awards to this talented group of faculty,” says Kevin Kregel, executive vice president and provost. “It’s a meaningful way to demonstrate that Iowa values their contributions and is the place where they can find the support to build the next phase of their careers.”
In addition to receiving funding, each scholar will work with mentors to create a tailored development program. The program will identify and support future growth opportunities, including leadership training, grant writing, and support for interdisciplinary collaborations. A symposium will allow the scholars to showcase their work to the university community.
In 2021, Charlton became the principal investigator for the Iowa Cancer Registry, which has more than 40 research staff and contributes to national cancer research and surveillance projects. In 2022, Charlton became co-leader of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Epidemiology and Population Science Research Program, one of four Holden research programs and one that is essential to the center’s prestigious National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive status. In addition, she launched a research project that will implement a model for elevating the quality of care in Iowa’s community cancer centers.
“Each of these outsized responsibilities is added to usual faculty teaching and service expectations,” wrote Charlton’s nominators, Edith Parker, dean of the College of Public Health, and Elizabeth Chrischilles, professor and head of the Department of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health. “We believe Dr. Charlton would benefit immensely from the award so she can continue to strategically apply her talents on a path that will affect the health of Iowans and the nation.”
Charlton received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Iowa, a Master of Science in epidemiology from Iowa, and a doctorate in epidemiology from Iowa. She became an assistant professor at Iowa in 2014.
Febos is a leader in the field of creative nonfiction writing, with four published books and research for a fifth underway. Her book Girlhood won the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism and her latest, Body Work, was released in March and already is framed as a bestseller. In 2022, she received a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Nonfiction and a prized Guggenheim Fellowship. Febos plays a leading role in Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and leads coursework and mentors students in the large creative writing major in the Department of English.
“Professor Febos has presented a steady increase in productivity and visibility since joining the University of Iowa in 2020. She has already had a truly remarkable career, and though it may seem hard to believe, considering her achievements, her trajectory is strongly upward,” Sara Sanders, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, wrote in Febos’ letter of support.
Febos received a Bachelor of Language Arts in creative writing and literature concentration from The New School University in New York City and a Master of Fine Arts in fiction and nonfiction writing from Sara Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.
Schnieders is a leader in using physics-based simulation and modeling to understand protein structure, work that has important applications in areas such as genetics, drug design, and disease diagnostics. In addition to his own research, Schnieders has had sustained success in supporting Iowa undergraduate and graduate students in their pursuit of prestigious national scholarships and fellowships, and in the past few years has mentored 10 recipients. He also has developed a successful program through which he mentors students at West Liberty High School in West Liberty, Iowa, who are interested in STEM careers.
“Dr. Schnieders has distinguished himself through his excellent scholarship, outstanding mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students, and consistent ability to attract external funding to support his research,” Harriet Nembhard, dean of the College of Engineering, wrote in a letter of support.
Schnieders earned a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering from Iowa and a Doctor of Science in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. He joined Iowa as an assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical engineering in 2012.
Su’s research centers on individual differences as well as gender and diversity in organizations. Her work is widely cited and has received 14 grants to date. In 2020, Su became an associate editor of Psychological Bulletin, a premier journal with one of the highest impact factors in the field of psychology. Outside of academic circles, Su has made a broader impact both nationally and internationally. She has contributed to projects to help organizations including the U.S. Department of Labor and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Assessments of vocational interests and well-being that she developed have been translated into more than 20 languages and used around the world.
“Professor Su is an outstanding young faculty member who has already developed an international reputation in the field of management. She also has tremendous potential to continue growing and contributing as a top-level scholar. The quality and quantity of her work places her on a clear trajectory toward becoming truly elite,” Greg Stewart, DEO of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship in the Tippie College of Business, wrote in a letter of support.
Su earned a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science in psychology from Peking University in Beijing and a doctorate in organizational psychology and quantitative psychology from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She joined Iowa as an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship in 2017.
Voss, whose research examines the mechanisms of cognitive function decline with aging, injury, or disease, has published more than 120 peer-reviewed papers, including eight first-author papers with more than 250 citations each. Voss has a total citation count of 22,654, which ranks her 48th among all Iowa faculty in any field and at any stage of their careers. In the classroom, Voss has demonstrated considerable leadership through her mentorship of PhD and undergraduate students. She has mentored or co-mentored eight PhD students, many of whom have been placed into prestigious postdoctoral research positions, and has provided mentored research opportunities for 40 undergraduate students in her lab.
“Dr. Voss is not only among the most productive researchers at her career stage at the University of Iowa, she is among the most productive researchers at any career stage at UI. She is an extremely dedicated and excellent teacher, researcher, mentor, and leader in her field,” Sara Sanders, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, wrote in a letter of support.
Voss received a Bachelor of Science in psychology, and Master of Arts and doctorate degrees in psychology, brain, and cognition, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She joined Iowa in 2012 as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.