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WHOI Researcher Honored for Contributions to Education

Mullineaux Dr. Lauren Mullineaux (Tom Kleindinst, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

December 14, 2004

A Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist has been honored for her contributions to graduate education with the Institution’s first Arnold B. Arons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Advising and Mentoring.

Dr. Lauren Mullineaux, a senior scientist in the Biology Department, was recognized by students, alumni/ae and colleagues for her sustained excellence in the Institution’s education programs. The award consists of a plaque and cash prize.

Nominations noted Mullineaux’s skills as a mentor and cited her “teaching style that offers clarity without over-generalization, concreteness without simply listing fact after fact, and an open conversational tone that encourages dialogue and exploration of ideas.” Others pointed out that “her dedication to excellent science, thoughtful and caring interaction with students and colleagues, and her fostering of a positive working environment make her an excellent role model as both a scientist and a lab leader.”

“WHOI is a wonderful place to teach because the students are so bright, creative and motivated,” Mullineaux said. “I’m delighted that the Institution has established an award to recognize teaching, and am deeply honored to receive the first one.”

The award was established to honor the memory of Dr. Arnold B. Arons, an employee of the Institution during World War II who later served for many years as a WHOI Trustee and Honorary Trustee. He collaborated with WHOI colleague Henry Stommel after the war, making many contributions to physical oceanography, and as a Trustee was instrumental in establishing and developing formal graduate education at the Institution, in particular the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Engineering begun in 1968.

Arons was renowned for his excellence in teaching physics at the Stevens Institute, Amherst College, and the University of Washington. He received the American Association of Physics Teachers Oersted Medal in recognition of his contributions to teaching physics, and was presented the University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1973.

Lauren Mullineaux received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Pomona College in 1980, a master’s degree in earth sciences from the University of California at San Diego in 1984, and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego in 1987.

She joined the WHOI staff as a postdoctoral investigator in ocean engineering in 1987, was appointed an assistant scientist in the Biology Department in 1988, promoted to associate scientist in 1992, and to senior scientist in 2001. She has participated in more than 30 research cruises, served on dozens of committees at the Institution and in the international oceanographic community, and written numerous articles in scientific journals and books. She teaches introductory biological oceanography, and various advanced courses in marine ecology. Her research interests include larval dispersal and settlement, benthic community ecology, and deep-sea biology.

WHOI is a private, independent marine research and engineering, and higher education organization located on Cape Cod in Falmouth, MA. Its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, the Institution is organized into five scientific departments, interdisciplinary research institutes and a marine policy center, and conducts a joint graduate education program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.