WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Jan. 4, 2017 — Dr. Joseph Horzempa, associate professor of biology at West Liberty University, has been selected as one of five finalists for West Virginia Professor of the Year by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia.
“This is one of the highest awards that a professor can receive and we congratulate Dr. Horzempa for this honor. He is a hard working, humble man and his students know him as an exceptional professor. We wish him well in his upcoming interview,” said Dr. Stephen Greiner, WLU president. The award recognizes outstanding teaching.
Horzempa is the second finalist for West Virginia Professor of the Year selected from the WLU biology department over the past three years. (In 2015, Dr. Zachary Loughman was named the 2014 Professor of the Year.)
Horzempa joined the faculty in 2011 and the student body named him WLU’s professor of the year last spring. He maintains a working lab that offers students challenging research experiences. Not long ago, his work was published in the October 2016 issue of the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.
Since 2011, he has received over $1.7 million in grants to support the activities of his lab, and he and his students are currently developing new antibiotics, vaccines and researching the biology of Francisella tularensis.
Horzempa has been researching this bacterium since he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine from 2006 – 2011.
Horzempa earned both a bachelor and Master of Science degree from California University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and 2002 respectively. He received his doctoral degree from Duquesne University in 2006.
Horzempa completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2011.
A native of Monaca Pa., Horzempa and his wife Crystal are the parents of two children, Gwen, 9 and Jack, 6.
Horzempa will be interviewed on Wednesday, Jan. 25 by the West Virginia Humanities Council Board of Directors. After this interview, a final candidate will be announced.
The finalists and recipient of the 2016 Professor of the Year will be announced at a banquet in Charleston on March 13. The Professor of the Year will receive a $10,000 award, the runner-up will receive a $2,500 award and the remaining finalists each will receive $1,000.
To be eligible for consideration, a professor must be associated with one of the public or private nonprofit degree-granting colleges or universities in West Virginia and be a full-time employee of the nominating institution for a minimum of five consecutive years.