Texas A&M Professor Receives the 2015 Piper Professor Award

COLLEGE STATION, May 18, 2015 – Dr. Louise Abbott of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences has been named a recipient of the 2015 Piper Professor Award, a prestigious faculty honor bestowed by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.

Dr. Louise Abbott
Dr. Louise Abbott

Ten Piper Professor Awards of $5,000 each are made annually to professors for superior teaching at the college level. Selection is made on the basis of nominations submitted by each college or university in Texas. Begun in 1958, the roster of Piper Professors includes outstanding professors from two- and four-year colleges and universities, public and private. Candidates must be nominated through the university president’s office.

Abbott, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences who joined the university in 1994, is an internationally renowned scholar in developmental toxicology with special focus on the effects of mercury on the developing nervous system. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Whitman College, a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Washington, and a DVM degree from Washington State University. In 2014 she received the Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award, the most prestigious faculty honor bestowed by Texas A&M University.

“Her superior ability to teach while engaging her students and her zest for innovative and collaborative teaching methods have created a dynamic learning environment for our students,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “Dr. Abbott excels in all she does, whether it be transformative research in neuroscience and neuroanatomy or serving as the creator of fun, interesting and productive learning environments. She is most deserving of this recognition.”

Widely regarded as an expert in developmental neuroanatomy, Abbott has received numerous professional awards and honors, including most recently the 2013 American Association of Veterinary Anatomists Outstanding Anatomist Award, the College of Veterinary Medicine John H. Milliff Teaching Award in 2013, and the College of Veterinary Medicine Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award in 2012.

“Dr. Abbott is one of the very few individuals within our college that has meaningful teaching assignments at the undergraduate, professional and graduate student levels,” said Dr. Kenita Rogers, associate dean for professional programs. “This is particularly remarkable because of the ease at which she moves between these very different groups of students. She is able to maintain appropriate expectations, a kind demeanor, and truly relate to the needs of each and every student.”

With teaching and mentoring students as top priorities, Abbott has served as major professor for eight doctoral students, four master’s degree students, and numerous undergraduate students during her career.

“Our students are fortunate to have a professor with such a strong passion for teaching and service,” said Dr. Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni, professor and head of the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences. “Where Dr. Abbott truly distinguishes herself is her effectiveness in using teaching strategies that encourage synthesis of information and active participation in the learning process. She is an exceptional teacher who finds ways to connect with students so that they can understand how to learn for themselves.”

Complementing her outstanding in-class teaching, Abbott also maintains an active research laboratory in developmental neuroscience. She supervises both graduate and undergraduate research, and publishes two or three papers per year in peer-reviewed research journals with trainees as co-authors.

The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation was organized in 1950 and incorporated in the state of Texas as a non-profit, charitable corporation. Its purpose is to support charitable, scientific, or educational undertakings by providing for, or contributing toward the education of financially limited but worthy students; by assisting young men and women residents of Texas, attending or wishing to attend colleges and universities in the state of Texas, to complete their education and obtain degrees; by contributing to community chests and supporting any other non-profit organization or activity dedicated to the furtherance of the general welfare within the state of Texas. Randall Gordon Piper and his wife, Minnie Stevens Piper, were the principal donors.

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