Kristina Launey Receives Socolofsky Award
Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy Kristina Launey is the recipient of the 2017 Dr. Marion D. “Soc” Socolofsky Award for Teaching Excellence. Launey was presented with the award during a surprise visit to her classroom earlier this month by College of Science Dean Cynthia Peterson and Chair of the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy John DiTusa.
Launey came to LSU in 1999 as a research assistant and completed her PhD in Physics from LSU in 2003. Her research experience spans 18 years including 12 years of teaching. Her research interests focus on theoretical nuclear physics and astrophysics, particularly nuclear structure and reactions from first principles (so-called “ab initio”) that are tied to the underlying physics of quarks and gluons. She was drawn to this research focus by her long-term mentor and colleague Jerry Draayer, Roy Paul Daniels Professor in Physics at LSU.
The Socolofsky Award for Teaching Excellence honors the legacy of the late Marion “Soc” Socolofsky, who was a fierce advocate for students at LSU and one of the College of Science’s most influential leaders and educators. Throughout Socolofsky’s 36 years at LSU, he served as head of microbiology for 20 year, taught more than 12,000 students, advised more than 250 master’s and PhD students and was a member of the Dean’s Circle.
The Socolofsky Award recognizes faculty members who the embody pedagogic qualities that Dr. Socolofsky was known for including strong student mentoring and passion for the student experience. Like Socolofsky, Launey has mentored a number of exceptional students including Harvey Shows, physics major and 2016 recipient of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award and a number of other students whose research has been published in top scientific journals.
“I love teaching,” said Launey. “In high school, I remember how fascinated I was when in class, I heard for the first time how particle accelerators worked. Now I have the chance to unveil the mysteries of physics to my students.”