Nina G. Jablonski, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State University, and a fellow at STIAS, is one of three faculty members at that university who have recently been named Evan Pugh Professor, the highest distinction bestowed by Penn State on its faculty.
According to a recent announcement in Penn State News “The Evan Pugh Professorships are named for Penn State’s founding president, an internationally known chemist and scholar who led the University from 1859 to 1864. The professorships are awarded to faculty members who are nationally or internationally acknowledged leaders in their fields of research or creative activity; have demonstrated significant leadership in raising the standards of the University with respect to teaching, research or creativity, and service; and demonstrate excellent teaching skills with undergraduate and graduate students who have subsequently achieved distinction in their fields. Including these most recent honorees, only 65 have received these professorships since the title’s inception in 1960.
Nina Jablonski conducts research on the evolution and environmental adaptations of Old World primates including humans. She conducts field-based research in primate paleontology in China and Kenya, and works to understand how monkeys, apes and humans have evolved in relation to environmental change in the last 10 million years. Her research on the evolution of human adaptations to the environment focuses on the evolution of skin and skin pigmentation, including the health implications of skin pigmentation for modern people. She leads national and international programs to educate children and young adults about human diversity, while stimulating youth interest in science careers.”
As a STIAS research fellow Nina Jablonski has already spent three terms at STIAS and will return for six weeks in mid-July 2014 as convenor of a core group of fellows working on a long term project “The Effects of Race” which forms part of one of the STIAS theme projects, “Being Human Today”. She described her first period of residence at STIAS in 2012 as “one of the most productive and enjoyable of my academic life”, during which time she delivered a number of public lectures and initiated four new research programmes. These included the development of a UVB monitoring facility associated with the Solar Thermal Energy Research Group (STERG) located at the Department of Mechanical and Megatronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University (SU), a research collaboration with members of the medical faculty at SU to measure serum vitamin D levels, and a related project with members of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDMM) at the University of Cape Town.
STIAS congratulates Nina Jablonski with this well-deserved recognition of her work and wide ranging research programme!