Two Appalachian State University geology professors recently won awards from the university.Johnny Waters received the 100 Scholars Research Award and Chuanhui Gu received the Wachovia Award for Environmental Research.Waters, who is both a geologist and a paleontologist, specializes in the study of fossil echinoderms and their response to changing climates and ecosystems. Waters’ research is part of a large collaborative effort involving other scientists at Appalachian in addition to colleagues in 22 other countries. He is the co-leader of the project from North America.”I was very honored to receive this award. The name of the award, ‘100 scholars,’ comes from the 100 faculty members who originally donated the funds for the award,” Waters said. “Having peer recognition of one’s research is a very high honor and I am very appreciative of this award.”Gu is currently working on a project where he looks at land use and the effect that has on water quality in mountain streams.Gu’s research focuses on the area surrounding the university. The High Country has experienced rapid urbanization and Gu is researching how urban sprawl affects water research.”I feel grateful, first, to the whole university; without the help from people around me, this award would have been impossible,” Gu said. “And then, secondly, I am humbled because I feel there is a lot of faculty who have all done excellent jobs, so I am lucky.”Interim Chairperson for the Geology department William Anderson said he thinks the department won both of these awards because of the relevance of the research conducted.”[Waters] has a really good background,” Anderson said. “He has over 60 publications…he has quite a bit of funding that he’s gathered through the years to support his research and right now he’s one of the leaders on this big global project studying mass extinction events.”Also, Gu’s research is “relevant” and “very publishable,” Anderson said.”He has a great track record on publishing in really top quality journals, so that’s why I think he won the award,” Anderson said.
Story: LINDSAY BOOKOUT, News Reporter