5/14/2021 Staff Writer

Christian R. and Mary E. Lindback Foundation Award: Jennifer L. Morford, Professor of Chemistry

Linback Award | Jennifer Morford

Professor Jennifer L. Morford is an outstanding teacher, mentor, scientist, and colleague. She is driven by a desire to create an excellent and inclusive educational environment at Franklin & Marshall College. She exemplifies how one can combine kindness with high standards. She encourages her students and colleagues to heights of success they could not imagine by welcoming them to work with her. 

Professor Morford’s courses challenge and support students in equal measure. Her General Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, and Chemical Analysis courses provide students the opportunity to hone their analytical and experimental skills, developing the care and criticality necessary to answer nuanced scientific questions. Professor Morford embraces teaching practices that encourage students to learn from and build on their setbacks. She has developed innovative assignments that encourage students to reflect on their own learning and provide in-roads for more personal discussions with students about their understanding. 

Professor Morford is a caring mentor. Students come to her office hours not only for help with chemistry, but also for her warmth and kindness. She always has a sympathetic and supportive ear, patiently listening to student’s problems and concerns. She served as a Posse Foundation cohort mentor, an experience that she says has changed her perspectives on teaching and mentoring. She is grateful that this experience has helped her identify ways to better serve students and guide them along personalized pathways toward success. 

Professor Morford’s research laboratory is as much a space for excellent teaching and mentoring as it is for uncovering impactful new insights into the connections between oceanography and chemistry. Professor Morford skillfully mentors undergraduate research students (39 in her career at F&M) across a variety of complex, cross-disciplinary projects involving meticulous laboratory and field work, while maintaining close relationships with all of her students. She uses research to help students create new knowledge, find their right path, support them as they navigate personal or academic struggles, or simply give them a place where they feel they belong. One student described her as a life mentor, providing guidance on “everything from how to change the argon tank for the glove bag and what classes to take next semester to how to make the best homemade bagels.” She publishes continually and regularly attracts external research funding from sources such as the National Science Foundation and the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. She has a strong record of publishing 15 papers at F&M, many with student collaborators. Her most recent paper, titled “Adsorption of tetrathiomolybdate to iron sulfides and its impact on iron sulfide transformations,” appeared in ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, featuring 11 F&M student co-authors. 

Professor Morford has helped shape the student and faculty experience through her work on the Teaching Evaluation Task Force, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Program, the Curricular Innovation: Inclusivity in the Sciences working group, and her constant efforts to improve the curriculum, to name only a few of her many activities. Her effect on the Chemistry Department has been invaluable; she was an excellent Chemistry Department Chair and a constant role model and inspiration to her colleagues, fostering a supportive community. A model teacher-scholar and mentor, Professor Morford impacts the lives of her students and works tirelessly to promote a supportive and inclusive campus culture.

Jennifer L. Morford
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