TU professor awarded University System of Maryland endowed professorship

Steven Lev, of Olney, Md., associate professor in TU’s Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences, is one of two Towson University faculty members — and only one of three faculty members within the University System of Maryland — selected to receive the 2010 Wilson H. Elkins Professorship. Lev’s one-year award comes with a budget of $52,000.

Lev will work toward enhancing the profile of TU’s Urban Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory (UEBL) by supporting four undergraduate research students with stipends, laboratory supplies and travel funds to present their results at professional meetings. Lev has been instrumental in developing the UEBL, a lab comprised of faculty from Geology, Chemistry and Biology who work together and with undergraduate and graduate students on a set of interdisciplinary research goals aimed at better understanding the role and impact of storm water management facilities in the urban landscape. During its four years in existence, the UEBL has involved 20 undergraduate students, three high school teachers and five graduate students.

Lev also intends to bring the applied research of the UEBL into the classroom to better train the next generation of scientists who will confront the complex problems derived from human interactions with the environment. To advance the goals of the UEBL, Lev has worked toward retraining himself in the areas of biogeochemistry and ecotoxicology. These new lines of research have led him to initiate a revision of the curriculum in TU’s geology program and in the Environmental Science master’s program.

“Dr. Lev has established himself as a model faculty member, excelling in all areas of teaching, scholarship and service” said TU president Robert L. Caret. “The Elkins Professorship will do more than reward him for his hard work and success. This support will provide Towson undergraduates with more opportunities to achieve superior research results in a cutting-edge laboratory setting.”

Lev joined the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences in 2000. During his first five years he developed a reputation as an international expert in black shale geochemistry, publishing several articles in this area and reviewing numerous manuscripts. John M. Morgan III, director of Towson University’s Geospatial Research and Education Laboratory, joins Lev as Towson’s other 2010 Elkins Professorship award winner.

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