There is a diamond in a place we call Hand Chemical Lab.
Dr. Whitnee Nettles, an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Chemistry and a faculty member since 2017, is the recipient of the College of Arts & Sciences 2021 Teaching Award for outstanding teaching service. Nettles has commanded some of the largest teaching loads with over 800 students in one year and teaches challenging courses such as Chemistry I and Chemistry II both in-person and online in addition to running attached recitation sections. This monumental task is met with impassioned grace, poise, and care that is unmatched. Dr. Dennis Smith, the department head, states: "Her classroom impact as the highest performing teacher and the hardest working member of the department is so much larger than even this substantial teaching." He continues saying that Nettles’ dedication and commitment to student learning on all levels is unmatched in his 23 years spanning three universities.
These statements share similar sentiments from her former students who responded en masse to show their support for the quality of Nettles' teaching. One student wrote: "Dr. Whitnee Nettles is an absolute inspiration to all her students and has the best balance of caring for her and pushing her students academically." Another states: "Even on the first day of class in Chem I, I could tell that she had a true passion for what she taught, and that passion was emphasized every day in the classroom."
Despite the sheer number of students she oversees, Nettles always takes the time to ensure that every student seeking her help receives appropriate time and attention while bringing with her a level of positivity and optimism that is healthy and contagious. Nettles impacts students both in the realm of academics as well as life in general. Dr. Eric Van Dornshuld, a colleague of Nettles, states: "I have personally witnessed many times when she would prioritize a student in need over everything else despite the time of day or how busy she was. Her level of care and attentiveness towards students is consistent and remarkable. She is a role model for many of us."
We are excited to see Dr. Whitnee Nettles receive this award and be recognized for her immeasurable contributions to the chemistry program and this department.
See the official press release here: https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2021/04/shackouls-honors-college-dean-beloved-late-english-faculty-member
By Eric Van Dornshuld
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