Indiana State University Newsroom

Gonser receives Community-based Learning and Scholarship Award

April 29, 2010

Rusty Gonser, associate professor of biology at Indiana State University, received the university's Community-Based Learning and Scholarship Award Thursday during the university's annual Faculty Recognition Banquet.

The award was established in 2007 to recognize outstanding faculty who have made serving the community an integral part of their academic goals and activities through community-based learning activities and scholarship focused on community issues.

Gonser was recognized with the 2010 award for his efforts in organizing and promoting the Darwin Keynote Speaker Series, which seeks to promote scientific inquiry and analytical thought throughout the Wabash Valley. The series is also intended to enhance science literacy for students in all age groups.

An Indiana State faculty member since 2003, Gonser earned his Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Albany in 1996. His research focuses on using molecular tools to answer questions about the genetic history of populations. He is one of two lead scientists investigating behavioral genomics of the white-throated sparrow, which is funded by a more than $600,000 National Institutes of Health grant. He is also a co-investigator on a more than $590,000 National Science Foundation grant that provides scholarships to students who want to become science teachers.

"This is an exciting award and I am truly honored to be a recipient, as it recognizes efforts to create an innovative science community," Gonser said.

"The Darwin Keynote series is currently ending its fifth year. Through collaborations I have made both within and in the community, together, we have been able to bring to ISU some of the best scientists in the country. This would not be possible without the help of many academic and non-academic units on campus as well as our community partner, the department of sciences and mathematics at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. I am thrilled by the success of the speaker series and how it has interested so many non-scientists to attend biology talks."