Eastern Michigan University
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Professor Backues Receives Faculty Mentor Award

Dr. Steven Backues At the College of Arts and Sciences fall meeting, Dr. Steven Backues, Department of Chemistry, was presented with the William Fennel Symposium Faculty Mentor Award.  This award recognizes extraordinary leadership and guidance to undergraduate students and their research experience that includes presentation at the Undergraduate Symposium.

Dr. Backues was nominated by one of his research students, Jesse Smith, who wrote:
Dr. Backues finds time to set aside five hours a week for individual meetings with his undergraduates. Additionally he organizes weekly laboratory meetings to ensure that each laboratory member is on the same page regarding individual projects… No matter how primitive the idea may seem, Dr. Backues is always willing to explain a concept to me and all of his other [students].”  Smith, a student researcher, chemist at Cayman Chemical, and a McNair Scholar, credits Dr. Backues for much of his success.

The award is named in honor of “Doc Fennel,” Professor William E. Fennel, III, who joined the EMU faculty in 1970. He taught introductory biology classes—teaching close to 20,000 students. There are legends that he knew every student’s name; and to this day, he still remembers! After his retirement, he continued as a strong supporter of the Undergraduate Symposium and the Kresge Science Initiative. Annually, a faculty mentor is recognized in his name, with a generous endowment established by one of his former students. 

- Posted 9/20/17

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The Department of Chemistry is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, 214 Pray-Harrold