August 11, 2014, BY Heather Johns

George Shields
George Shields, Bucknell University dean, College of Arts and Sciences

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George Shields, dean of the Bucknell University College of Arts & Sciences since 2010, is the recipient of the 2015 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, sponsored by Research Corporation for Science Advancement. The award recognizes Shields' career and research involving undergraduates, as well as his publication rate and grant success.

Shields is the second Bucknell faculty member to receive the Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution since its inception in 1986. The first was Professor Emeritus Harold Heine, who did so in 1987. 

"I'm very honored and humbled to receive it," said Shields.

A national leader in undergraduate research, Shields has collaborated with more than 100 undergraduates in computational chemistry, structural biochemistry and science education projects. His most current research involves using computational methods to gain insights into biochemistry and environmental chemistry.

Through external grant support and internal advocacy, Shields has worked to enable Bucknell science faculty to start research projects with students in the earliest stages of their undergraduate careers. | Read more about the Bucknell STEM Scholars initiative here and here.

"Undergraduate research is a transformative experience for our students, who learn what it is like to discover new knowledge in a discipline," said Shields. "Working as an apprentice with a faculty member helps students move from beginner to accomplished practitioner over the course of several years, and they learn how to think within the discipline in ways that traditional classes do not provide."

Since 1990, Shields has received approximately $5 million in external research grants from many foundations and funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 70 scientific and six educational papers since 1983, including 48 scientific papers with 54 undergraduates since 1991.

Shields was the founding dean of the College of Science and Technology at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., where he was also a professor of chemistry. Prior to that, Shields served as the Winslow Professor of Chemistry and chair of the department at Hamilton College, and in various faculty and administrative posts at Lake Forest College.

He is founder and director of the Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate Computational Chemistry (MERCURY), a collaboration of 14 undergraduate research teams at 18 different institutions. Shields also established the annual MERCURY Conference in Undergraduate Computational Chemistry, held each summer at Bucknell. Shields will be honored at an awards ceremony on March 24, 2015, in conjunction with the 249th ACS National Meeting in Denver, Colo.