Connecting campuses to promote excellence in math and science

Janet Andersen Lecture AwardJanet Anderson - Hope College Math Professor

Established by the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science in 2008

Professor Janet Andersen was a beloved faculty member in the Hope College Mathematics Department and served enthusiastically as the Midstates Consortium Director for five years before her life ended tragically in an automobile accident in November 2005. As a teacher and scholar, Janet was devoted to providing creative, high quality learning experiences for her students, and she herself was always learning as she was teaching. As Consortium Director, she looked for ways to connect with and support natural science faculty, both new and experienced.

To honor Janet Andersen's dedication and commitment to her work with students and faculty in her teaching, research and service to the Consortium, the Janet Andersen Lecture Award was established in 2008. The Midstates Consortium will choose one or two faculty members from one or two of the Consortium member institutions each year to present the Janet Andersen Lecture at one or both of the fall Undergraduate Research Symposia on a topic of his or her expertise. The award recipient(s) will also receive a $300 honorarium.

The Midstates Consortium invites faculty, students, staff and administrators to nominate faculty members in the Consortium for the Janet Andersen Lecture award. We encourage nominations for faculty members of any rank who have vigorous research programs involving undergraduates, who are exceptional mentors for undergraduate research students, who are engaged and skilled teachers, or who create interdisciplinary research opportunities for undergraduate students.

The Consortium accepts nominations for this award each spring. The deadline is typically in late March or early April, and the award recipients are selected by the Executive Committee at their spring meeting (usually held in April or May).

Please direct any questions to Brandy S. Russell, Midstates Consortium Director, at

2015 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners


Biological Sciences and Psychology

Associate Professor Laura Listenberger

Departments of Biology and Chemistry

St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN


Associate Professor Laura Listenberger was selected for the 2015 Janet Andersen award in the Biological Sciences and Psychology. The following statements are taken from a letter written by several of Laura's colleagues in nomination for this award: 

"Laura is an exceptional research mentor who has consistently and persistently built mechanisms for her students and others interested in the broad areas of biochemistry and molecular biology to form sustainable research teams while carrying out their own intellectually rich research programs. For example, during the summer research period, Laura initiated a weekly “breakfast” for all of the students in our joint (4-6 faculty mentors at a time) research lab. These are informal gatherings that ensure we all know each other, learn each other’s skill sets, and make sure the logistics of shared spaces are working well. Her own research group meets for data and journal clubs throughout the year. Importantly the group is fluid: students currently in the lab, students interested in being part of the lab and those who have been in the lab are all invited and participate. Laura has cultivated a strong sense of belonging among all of our 'biochemistry' students through initiating our student chapter of ASBMB members known locally as StoMols: as a mentor, Laura provided the impetus and direction to help the students see the value of participating in an intellectually active group as well as guidance for some of their more ambitious projects and she has let them go. We now have a student sustained learning community that meets one evening a week to read papers of their choosing, to discuss graduate schools and, for two years running, invite and host a major seminar speaker. This is all Laura!"


Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science

Professor Julie Bartley

Department of Geology

Gustavus Adolphus College

Professor Julie Bartley is the 2015 Janet Andersen Award winner for the Physical Sciences, Math, and Computer Science. The following excerpt is from a nomination letter written by one of Julie's colleagues:

"Students love working with Julie! In the summer of 2012, a Geology and Biology double-major worked with Julie to grow algae, then let them die and begin to decompose, in order to study how algal remains might look when fossilized. That student, Tara Selly, presented their work at a national geology conference, and I heard from several attendees that their poster was 'swamped'. Tara told me that she was humbled by all the attention, greatly enjoyed the conversations, and was ultimately offered a graduate assistant position in geology. As another student wrote to me, 'Julie is the kind of professor who delves for your greatest academic desires and then draws the map that leads you exactly where you need to go to make your dreams a reality.' 

Last academic year (during her sabbatical), Julie worked with one of our Environmental Studies majors. I often saw the two of them in the lab together, peering into some beaker of steaming chemical solution. That student wrote to me that 'Julie without hesitation brought me in to the Geology Department and has given me more experience and knowledge than I could have hoped for.' One day, I heard that student talking with another, and they both enthusiastically agreed that 'they want to be Julie when they grow up'! Then the other student, who is 'a Physics minor, smilingly amended that she actually wants to be 'a combination of Julie and Carl Sagan". That speaks – in an odd way, admittedly! – to how highly her students regard Julie, and also to the interdisciplinary interests of the people she attracts."

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