4 CAS faculty receive research, mentorship awards from the Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies

BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University's Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies has announced the recipients of their 2022-23 faculty awards. The recipients were honored at the School of Graduate Studies awards reception on Tuesday, April 4.

Dr. Derek Martin, associate professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, received the Wachovia Environmental Research Award. The Wachovia Award recognizes one faculty or graduate student actively engaged in high-quality environmental research related to the southern Appalachians. 

Martin was selected for the award due to his work studying the effectiveness of beaver dam analogs as a stream restoration and sediment management strategy in Appalachian streams. The project focuses on Canoe Creek near Morganton, which is a highly impacted river basin affected by the loss of beaver habitat. The team's goal is to assess the impact of beaver dam analogs on sediment storage, sediment transport and erosion on Canoe Creek. This work contributes to an NSF-funded project Martin is conducting with a colleague at the University of North Carolina Greensboro that aims to understand the impact of large woody debris on geomorphic processes in rivers in the southeastern U.S.

Dr. Maggie Sugg, associate professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, received the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award. The Award recognizes a faculty member who is engaged in the graduate education enterprise as an outstanding teacher, mentor and scholar.

In their nomination letter, one of Sugg's nominators wrote, “Dr. Sugg has an aggressive research agenda, with over 60 publications since her appointment in 2015 and over $2 million in funding through multiple external grant agencies. She teaches graduate courses in GHY 5800 – Quantitative Methods and GHY 5025 - Climate and Society, and mentors at least five graduate students every year! She spends significant time involving graduate students in her research and has included App State graduate students in over 20 peer-reviewed publications.”

Another colleague wrote: “Dr. Sugg has provided more financial support to graduate students in Geography and Planning than any other faculty member, and likely more than any other graduate mentor at Appalachian. Most recently she has supported graduate students with research funding from an NSF CAREER grant, two National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences awards, and funding from an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention grant, representing a combined total of over $1 million—among many, many others. Since 2015, Dr. Sugg has advised 15 graduate students, many of whom have been honored with awards including an NSF Research Experiences for Graduates Award, three Best Poster awards, an Outstanding Thesis Award, two Zigli Awards and a Cratis D. Williams society inductee, among others.”

Additionally, Dr. Jeff Colby, professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, and Dr. Katherine Ledford, professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, were inducted into the School of Graduate Studies' Academy of Outstanding Mentors. The Academy was established to recognize graduate faculty members for exemplary mentoring activities well beyond good classroom and laboratory instruction or research supervision of graduate students.

About Colby, one supporter wrote, “Under Jeff’s leadership, our reputation for providing a high quality graduate degree in Geographic Information Science (GIScience) has spread from across the state to now, across the nation. Every year we have multiple applicants from across the country who come to App State to work specifically in the field of GIScience and with Jeff.”

The nominator added, “Of all the accomplishments that Jeff can rightly claim, I think the most telling is his near perfect graduation rate! Jeff simply never gives up on a student. He is kind, consistent, patient and willing to spend an incalculable amount of time and effort to ensure that students complete the work that they begin.”

About Ledford, a colleague wrote: “Katherine Ledford is an outstanding teacher and mentor. I have visited her classes as a guest speaker and observed her in the classroom, so I have witnessed first-hand how she responds to students with helpful information, encouragement, empathy and enthusiasm. Students see her as an approachable expert who is willing to assist them—by sharing her books, life experiences, and links to relevant articles, films and other media.”

Congratulations to these outstanding researchers and mentors in the Department of Geography and Planning and Department of Interdisciplinary Studies! For more information about these awards and to view a list of past recipients, visit graduate.appstate.edu/faculty/faculty-awards-and-funding.


About the Department of Geography and Planning
The Department of Geography and Planning promotes the understanding of the spatial dimensions of human behavior within the physical and cultural systems of the earth, and the role of planning in achieving improvement in those systems. The department offers degrees in geography and in community and regional planning. Learn more at https://geo.appstate.edu.

About the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in four program areas: Appalachian studies; gender, women’s and sexuality studies; global studies; and interdisciplinary studies. The department is also home to Watauga Residential College, an interdisciplinary, alternative general education program. The department promotes creative and imaginative engagement through a cross-disciplinary investigation of complex systems and problems. Learn more at https://interdisciplinary.appstate.edu.

About Graduate Education at Appalachian
Appalachian State University’s Williams School of Graduate Studies helps individuals reach the next level in their career advancement and preparedness. The school offers 80 graduate degree and certificate programs in a range of disciplines, including doctoral programs in education (Ed.D.) and psychology (Psy.D.). Classes are offered at the main campus in Boone as well as online and face-to-face at locations around northwestern North Carolina. The graduate school enrolls more than 2,000 students. Learn more at https://graduate.appstate.edu.

By Lauren Andersen
April 13, 2023

Dr. Derek Martin, Dr. Maggie Sugg, Dr. Jeff Colby and Dr. Katherine Ledford
Published: Apr 13, 2023 10:10am