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Astronomy professor selected for 2007 Darnall Award

Jon Holtzman, an associate professor of astronomy at New Mexico State University, has been selected to receive the 2007 Dennis W. Darnall Faculty Achievement Award.

Jon Holtzman (NMSU photo)

The award, named in honor of a former associate dean, is presented each year to a faculty member for achievements in teaching and research and for service to the community and the university.

"I am very pleased," said Holtzman. "I'm honored to receive this award that recognizes breadth of contribution to the University."

Holtzman has been teaching and conducting research in the Astronomy Department at New Mexico State since 1995. He received his bachelor's degree at Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was a researcher at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz. before coming to NMSU.

Holtzman teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes. He said he is committed to generating interest in science and astronomy through his undergraduate general education classes, and in encouraging graduate students to take the initiative they will need to succeed.

He was awarded the Patricia Christmore Teaching award for his teaching efforts in 1998, and was named a Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for work in both teaching and research in the same year.

Holtzman plays an active role at the Apache Point Observatory operated by NMSU. He is the instrument scientist for the observatory's 3.5-meter telescope. He has spent considerable time working with the NMSU 1-meter telescope at APO, and has turned it into a working robotic instrument that is contributing to a variety of scientific projects. He is currently an active member in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Supernova Search taking place at the observatory.

Outside of NMSU, Holtzman is known for his research and calibration work with the Hubble Space Telescope, among other things. He currently serves on the Scientific Oversight Committee for a new camera scheduled to be installed in the telescope next year. His research includes studies of stars in our own and nearby galaxies that provide clues about how galaxies were assembled. He has authored or coauthored dozens of articles in professional astronomical journals. He has recently served on several review panels for the National Science Foundation.

Holtzman participates in a variety of public outreach activities, performs a variety of services within the Astronomy Department and currently serves on the Faculty Senate.

The Darnall Faculty Achievement Award was created by family and friends in memory of Darnall's broad interests and service to recognize the broad-based achievements and service of other dedicated university faculty.

Darnall was head of New Mexico State's chemistry and biochemistry department, associate dean and director of the Research Center of the College of Arts and Sciences, the founder of Bio Recovery - a company based on his research, and an award-winning teacher and researcher.