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Dr. Lois Zook-Gerdau

Dr. Lois Zook-GerdauDr. Lois Zook-Gerdau, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Director of Muskingum’s Environmental Science program, was recently honored with the Conservation Educator of the Year award from Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District.

From the press release issued by the Muskingum University Public Relations Office: “Dr. Zook-Gerdau has been working with the District for more than 10 years in its monitoring program for the Salt Creek Watershed.  Along with her students, Dr. Zook-Gerdau and the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation
District worked to establish a baseline for water quality in the Salt Creek Watershed, as well as to  monitor changes to that quality.  Water samples were gathered at multiple sites which were initially tested by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Through her efforts, Muskingum
University then acquired the equipment necessary to do the testing to Ohio EPA standards at Muskingum University.”

Dr. Zook-Gerdau began her teaching career at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. But when the opportunity arose, she was excited to make the move to Muskingum: “I really enjoyed my teaching experiences at Delta State, but I always dreamed of teaching at a small, private liberal arts college that would offer the close student-faculty interactions that I experienced in my own undergraduate education [at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio]. Also, the strength of the entire Science Division at Muskingum really impressed me when I interviewed, as well as the institution’s commitment to undergraduate research, such as the Summer Muskie Fellowship program and the capstone requirements for students.  The fact that Muskingum was only [about] 60 miles from my hometown of Richmond, Ohio was just icing on the cake!”

Zook-Gerdau’s praise of her experiences teaching at Muskingum don’t end there. She goes on to say, “I feel that I’ve been blessed to get to call Muskingum my home. I know I’m biased, but I think the students in the chemistry and environmental science programs are some of the best on campus. In fact, I’m very proud to say that on October 31st five of our students will be presenting the results of their research projects at a regional American Chemical Society meeting. Two of our students were also co-authors of mine on a peer-reviewed conference proceedings paper a few year ago. I have also been blessed by the quality of my colleagues at Muskingum. We’ve co-authored grant proposals, written two Journal of Chemical Education publications together, co-authored numerous presentations at regional and national meetings, and even co-chaired a symposium at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education. We have a very supportive and cooperative working relationship that is very beneficial for me as an individual, but I also see how much it benefits our students as well.”