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Environmental Studies faculty wins inaugural Janet and George Voinovich Faculty and Staff Leadership Award

Marilyn Icsman
February 21, 2019
Four people

Natalie Kruse Daniels, an associate professor of Environmental Studies, received the inaugural Janet and George Voinovich Faculty and Staff Leadership Award for her research in reclamation and water quality.

The new biennial award honors Voinovich School faculty and staff who have made outstanding leadership contributions and followed Sen. George V. Voinovich’s commitment to public service. It includes $5,000 to be used for professional development training, activity or equipment related to the Voinovich School’s strategic outcomes.

“It is a true honor to be selected as the inaugural Voinovich Leadership Award recipient,” Kruse Daniels said. “I recall many engaged and lively conversations with Senator Voinovich about the intersection of economy and the environment and how public policy and public service can support both the people and the environment of Appalachian Ohio. I aim to continue finding solutions to the environmental problems of our region and this award will allow for professional development to support that mission.”

Kruse Daniels was nominated by Jennifer Bowman, director of Environmental Programs, who laid out Kruse Daniel’s pertinent work and accomplishments.

Kruse Daniels’ research spans water quality issues related to mining, oil gas extraction, acid mine drainage, injection wells and more. While working on these environmental concerns—which greatly affect the region—Kruse Daniels has earned more than $2 million in research funding. She’s also a member of the interdisciplinary, cross-campus Appalachian Watershed Research Group.

In addition to her own research, Kruse Daniels has advised over 30 master’s student theses or practicums related to water quality.

“Natalie is deserving of the Janet and George Voinovich Award for her commitment to social and environmental impact work and leadership of her colleagues and students,” Bowman wrote in her nomination. “She is passionate about her work, and making a difference in the lives of GVS students and the region.”

The selection committee for the Janet and George Voinovich Faculty and Staff Leadership Award was made up of Ohio University Student Trustee Faith Voinovich, the late senator’s granddaughter; Matt Evans, president of Boich Companies and former staff under then-Ohio Gov. Voinovich; and Greg Browning, former chair of the Ohio University Board of Trustees and the Director of the Ohio Office of Budget and Management under then-Ohio Gov. Voinovich.

In a joint letter to congratulate Kruse Daniels on her award, the selection committee wrote about Sen. Voinovich’s purpose for creating the award.

“The Senator’s goal in establishing the award was to create a fund that would provide individual recipients financial support to further their professional development,” the letter said. “He valued the people who worked for him and always wanted to see them succeed in their own right.”

“Natalie, your stellar research work in reclamation and water quality is exemplary and embodies the values of the Voinovich School,” the letter continued. “The Senator very much appreciated your efforts. Your work exemplifies your undying commitment to the region, Ohio University students, and the impact to the environment.”

Faith Voinovich said that in reviewing the staff and faculty nominated for the award, Kruse Daniels stuck out for her accomplishments in growth, social impact, and leadership and engagement—the key goals for the award.

"Natalie is the embodiment of what my grandfather (Sen. Voinovich) hoped the Voinovich School would be,” she said. “She is dedicated to finding solutions to the region's toughest environmental troubles through her own research, and by galvanizing community members, students, and industry leaders to do their part in tackling these environmental and social issues."