Alumni Awards for Excellence
November 15, 2015
Two college faculty members were recognized with 2015 excellence awards presented by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association.
Associate Professor Kathleen Alexander received the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Research. She focuses on international development and public and wildlife health with an emphasis on balancing human health and environmental sustainability. Working across Africa, she takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of infectious disease, integrating divergent study elements, from human culture and behavior to hydrological dynamics and climate change. Alexander and her research team have made a number of important findings that have influenced policy and planning in Botswana. She co-founded the Center for Conservation of African Resources: Animals, Communities, and Land Use (CARACAL), a nongovernmental organization that has helped bridge the gap between human and animal health and environmental sustainability.
Professor Bill Hopkins, a physiological ecologist who studies the influence of anthropogenic global changes, such as pollution, habitat destruction, and climate change, on wildlife populations, received the Alumni Award for Excellence in Research. Regarded as the world’s leading expert on the effects of solid wastes from coal combustion on wildlife populations, he is also a pioneer in an emerging field examining the effects of microclimate on the early development of wildlife. He has broken ground addressing one of the most fundamental problems in all of modern biology: How do responses at one level of biological organization (for example, cell or individual) translate to responses at higher levels of organization (populations or communities)? His team’s work goes further to demonstrate that effects on one population can actually influence the viability of other nearby, interdependent populations.