Staff Awards: Heather Russel and Jimmy Du
The College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State is proud to announce the winners of its 2017 Staff Awards. Heather Russel, associate director of creative writing, won the Senior Staff Leadership Award. Zhenming “Jimmy” Du, the director of the university’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility, won the Outstanding Junior Staff Award.
Heather Russel is the associate director of creative writing and assistant to the director of graduate studies in the Department of English. Russel handles an incredibly wide range of duties, including supporting students, coordinating internships, coordinating events, and human resources paperwork. She has worked with faculty to redesign the undergraduate creative writing curriculum. And she is known for keeping a supply of chocolate-covered almonds on hand in case of emergency.
“By the time our students graduate, they often have communicated more with Heather than with any other member of the department,” wrote Stephen Dobranski, distinguished professor and undergraduate director of English.
NMR machines are cutting-edge research tools that are difficult both to use and to maintain. Georgia State has two of them, and when Du arrived one was broken and the other only intermittently in service. Du repaired both machines and instituted a new training regimen for students that has successfully prevented further problems. The NMR training course has tripled its enrollment since Du took over, exposing many more students to this key organic chemistry research technique.