A Staff scientist from the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), who is also an assistant professor at Hampton University, received the Commonwealth of Virginia's Outstanding Faculty Award (OFA) for 2000. Dr. Cynthia Keppel was one of 11 college faculty members — selected from 72 nominees — recognized during a ceremony at the State Capitol in Richmond on March 2.
The award recognizes the finest among Virginia's college faculty for their demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and public service. Since the program's inception in 1986, 162 Virginia faculty members have received this honor. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) administers the Outstanding Faculty Award program.
At 37, Keppel is the youngest recipient in the history of the award, and is only the second assistant professor ever to receive the honor.
Doctor Keppel, a Hampton University Assistant Professor of Physics and Director of its Nuclear and Higher Energy Physics Research Center, has been at HU since 1995. She earned her Ph. D. and M.S. degrees from the American University and holds a B.A. degree from St. Johns College. She has also been a Jefferson Lab staff scientists since 1995.
During the formal award presentation yesterday on the South Portico of the State Capitol, the 11 faculty members were honored by Governor James Gilmore and members of the General Assembly, the Governor's Cabinet, and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; as well as local education, business, and community leaders. The Outstanding Faculty Award recipients also were recognized on the floors of the Senate of Virginia and the Virginia House of Delegates. Afterward, the Governor and First Lady hosted an informal luncheon reception for the OFA recipients and invited guests at the Executive Mansion just east of the State Capitol building. Each OFA recipient was presented a $5000 check at the reception.
Professor Keppel has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, and currently has two patents pending. She has developed an interactive physics demonstration program that has been used at many schools and museums around the country and was featured at the American Physical Society's National Centennial conference in Atlanta, Ga., last year. Her passion for teaching physics ranges from supervising Ph.D. candidates to working with elementary and high school students.