AHS graduate wins science award

By: Ariana Diaz | adiaz@oanow.com Published: May 25, 2012 Updated: May 25, 2012 – 9:49 PM

Bess Ward said she had no idea she was nominated for a prestigious Procter & Gamble honor but was thrilled when she found out.

Ward, a 1972 Auburn High School graduate, was named the 2012 Procter & Gamble laureate in applied and environmental microbiology. She has been chair of the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University for six years. She has focused much of her research on the biogeochemistry of nitrogen in marine environments.

The award recognizes distinguished achievement in research and development in her field.

Shes made many important discoveries on how the nitrogen cycle of the ocean works and has made fundamental contributions, said Procter & Gamble nominator Douglas Capone, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California.

Capone said he and Ward met more than 30 years ago at one of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography meetings for research and discussion. He said he nominated Ward because he thinks highly of her research and believes she deserves it.

Ward received her undergraduate degree in zoology at Michigan State University and Ph.D. in oceanography at the University of Washington. She held postdoctoral and research scientist positions at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. Ward served as assistant professor for the department of ocean sciences at the University of California for six years before becoming department chair.

She really is a pioneer, Capone said Shes brought many new techniques.

As fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, Ward has also received the Fellowship in the American Geophysical Union and the American Academy of Arts and Science. In 1997, she was the first woman and youngest person to receive the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Medal from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography.

Ward will be honored by Procter & Gamble on June 18 at the American Society for Microbiology general meeting in San Francisco. There, she will give the lecture: Biogeochemical Cycling: Past, Present and Future.

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AHS graduate wins science award

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