Two faculty members from the Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will receive the 2020 Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards for teaching and research.
Texas A&M and The Association of Former Students selected 24 outstanding members of the university’s faculty and staff to honor with 2020 Distinguished Achievement Awards. The university-level awards were first presented in 1955 and have since been awarded to more than 1,000 professionals who have exhibited the highest standards of excellence at Texas A&M.
In recognition of their achievements, each recipient will receive a cash gift, an engraved watch and a commemorative plaque. In lieu of an in-person ceremony honoring Distinguished Achievement Award recipients, the university is formally celebrating their accomplishments through other channels.
Teaching – Chavela Carr
Chavela Carr, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics will be honored with a teaching award.
Before starting this position, Carr earned her doctorate in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University and was an assistant professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
In 2009, she took a position as a research scientist at Texas A&M. Carr teaches two classes, Biochemistry 410 and 411, to more than 250 students per year.
She has previously been recognized for her teaching skills with the Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Early Career Teaching in 2017 and the Texas A&M AgriLife Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence-Teaching in 2018.
Carr’s unique approaches to teaching incorporate videos — often music parodies — to introduce topics and illustrate concepts. This motivates students, as well as illustrating the important topics of the day by engaging multiple sensory experiences. Students appreciate her efforts, as shown by evaluation scores that exceed the department average.
Although Carr’s official job description is teaching, her role extends beyond her official duties. As a research scientist, she merged her research program on cell membrane fission with Hays Rye’s, Ph.D., research on protein folding, and she mentors students on this project.
Carr’s service activities also move beyond her official job description. In addition to numerous recommendation letters she writes to support her students’ applications to medical and other professional schools, she continues to review manuscripts for peer-reviewed research journals.
Research – Raghavan Srinivasan
Raghavan Srinivasan, Ph.D., Spatial Sciences Laboratory director at Texas A&M University, interim director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Blackland Research and Extension Center and a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, has been recognized with a Distinguished Achievement Award for research.
Srinivasan, a Regents Fellow and professor in the Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology and Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M, has brought national and international recognition to Texas A&M over the past 28 years in the areas of spatial sciences, computer-based natural resource modeling, and land use and climate change impacts on hydrology, soil conservation, water quality and crop production.
He began his career with AgriLife Research in 1992 at Temple. He moved onto the Texas A&M campus in 1999 to become assistant director of then Mapping Science Laboratory and became the director of Spatial Sciences Laboratory the following year.
Over the years, Srinivasan’s research and service activities have contributed to major improvements in assessments and development of watershed management systems, benefiting natural resources and sustainable agricultural production through conservation practices in the U.S. and across the globe, the nomination stated.
Srinivasan is known for working with colleagues in the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop the Soil and Water Assessment Tool, known as SWAT. This public domain, watershed-scale computer simulation model predicts impacts of weather, soils, land use and land management on water supplies and pollution, soil erosion and fertility, and crop production.
His contribution to SWAT’s development was pioneering integration of large-scale, internationally available natural resource databases and geographic information systems into an easily used analytical system, according to his nomination. As an ambassador for SWAT, he has traveled worldwide to help researchers and development agencies apply this model to their natural resource problems.
The Journal of Soil and Water Conservation identified SWAT as the world’s most widely used nonpoint source pollution model over the past 20 years and names Srinivasan as one of the two most productive authors in the world in nonpoint source pollution research.
He has provided more than 270 peer-reviewed articles and participated in 150 international workshops and 30 conferences organized over the years.
Most recently, he was selected for Fulbright Specialist and as the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University. He has previously been recognized with the AgriLife Research Fellow, Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence and the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award. Additionally, he was honored with Docteur Honoria Causa from Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, and with the Norman Hudson Memorial Award from the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation for the development and worldwide application of SWAT.