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UTA chemist Kevin Schug wins ACS J. Calvin Giddings Award

Kevin Schug
Kevin Schug, Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry

A chemist at The University of Texas at Arlington is the recipient of a prestigious award from the American Chemical Society for his efforts to improve the educational experience of students in the field of analytical chemistry.

The ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry presented Kevin Schug, Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, with the 2017 J. Calvin Giddings Award for Excellence in Education. The award recognizes scientists who have enhanced the personal and professional development of students in analytical chemistry.

“Given the past recipients of this award, this is a tremendous honor,” Schug said. “Teaching at UTA has been a really fulfilling part of my job, and it is really humbling to be honored like this for that effort.”

Schug, who also directs UTA’s Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation or CLEAR Lab, becomes the second member of UTA’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to win the Giddings Award in three years. Purnendu “Sandy” Dasgupta, the Hamish Small Chair in Ion Analysis and Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, received the honor in 2015.

“Dr. Schug is passionate about teaching and about improving science education in general and chemistry education in particular,” College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi said. “He has received numerous awards and commendations for his teaching and mentoring efforts, and the ACS J. Calvin Giddings Award is a well-deserved affirmation of his extraordinary efforts on behalf of students to make sure they receive the best possible educational experience.”   

Schug has been given significant recognition previously for his teaching.  He was named a Fellow of the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2016, following his receipt in 2014 of the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2016 he won a Tech Titans of the Future - University Level Award along with Laura Mydlarz, UTA associate professor of biology, for their leadership of the Achieving Success in Science through Undergraduate Research and Engagement (ASSURE) program.

His research activities have also been recognized. He was named to The Analytical Scientist magazine’s 2014 Power List as one of its Top 40 Under 40, signifying recognition as one of the top young analytical scientists in the world. In 2013, Schug received the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Young Investigator in Separation Science Award. In 2010, he won the Eli Lilly and Co. Young Investigator Award in Analytical Chemistry, which recognizes researchers whose work has applications in the pharmaceutical industry. In 2009, he received a National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award, which is given to junior faculty who show excellence in education and research. That same year he was also named an Emerging Leader in Chromatography by LCGC Magazine.

Schug received the UTA College of Science Teaching Excellence Award in 2014 and the College of Science Research Excellence Award in 2010. He also received the Outstanding Mentor Award from UTA’s chapter of Sigma Xi, the Honor Society for Scientists and Engineers, each year from 2010-13, as well as in 2015 and 2017.

In 2013 he, Dasgupta and Gary Christian, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Washington, co-authored a rewrite of Analytical Chemistry, an influential and widely-used textbook originally written by Christian, now in its 7thedition.

Schug has been heavily involved in science education for over a decade. He was co-principal investigator on a collaborative $2 million National Science Foundation-funded STEM Talent Expansion Program or STEP grant, which included successful efforts to aid freshman engineering, physics, math and chemistry students pass difficult courses early in their college careers.

He is also the founder and director of a K-12 science outreach program, Diversity in Science in the United States called DISCUS, and he served as a project leader in UTA’s National Science Foundation STEM Talent Expansion Program, which focuses on efforts to improve retention and graduation rates of STEM students.

Since joining the UTA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Schug’s research has been focused on the theory and application of separation science, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy for solving a variety of analytical problems spanning the energy, environmental, biological and pharmaceutical fields. He was instrumental in building the relationship between UTA and Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Inc., which in 2013 led to the creation of the Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies, comprised of multiple instrumentation facilities, each with a different research focus, and operated under the “centralized research resources” model.

Schug received a B.S. in Chemistry in 1998 from the College of William and Mary, and earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Virginia Tech in 2002 under the supervision of Harold M. McNair, who received the J. Calvin Giddings Award in 2000. From 2003 to 2005, Schug was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna in Austria. He came to UTA in 2005.