Congratulations to Dr. Alex Klotz!
Klotz, an assistant professor in the Physics & Astronomy Department, is the 2021 Mayfield Award winner.
CNSM students vote every year to bestow the Mayfield Award for outstanding teaching in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The Mayfield award is named after a beloved chemistry professor who for 34 years (1956-1989) was an inspirational professor and mentor for students in the college.
"I was both honored and surprised to receive the 2021 Mayfield award. I began teaching in 2019 and taught in-person for six months before the pandemic forced us online. In a sense, I was fortunate that I only had to re-learn six months of teaching experience rather than twenty years. While teaching online has been difficult for the professors, there is no doubt in my mind that learning online is even more difficult for the students, and with the world in catastrophe it was my goal to ensure that my online classroom did not make their lives even worse. I had many false starts and tried teaching practices that were not effective, but I have always aimed to continuously improve. I am grateful that my efforts are appreciated by the students," Klotz said upon receiving the award.
Klotz's lab studies material physics using DNA molecules, which have similar physics but are much bigger than the molecules used to make modern materials. Currently, his research is focused on complex networks called kinetoplasts, made of thousands of connected circular DNA molecules. Klotz keeps the student research experience front and center, and is currently training 11 students (5 graduate, 6 undergraduate) in experimental and theoretical aspects of this research.