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AMERICUS (Nov. 21, 2013)–Nedialka Iordanova, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, was announced as Georgia Southwestern State University’s 2013-14 Featured Scholar today by President Kendall A. Blanchard, Ph.D.

The public is invited to join the GSW community at a reception honoring Iordanova Monday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. in the Rotunda of the Wheatley Administration Building.

“Dr. Iordanova is a wonderful chemistry professor,” said Blanchard. “She is actively engaged in her own research, but at the same time, she involves her undergraduate students in that research. Students who take her chemistry courses not only learn about chemistry, they actually do chemistry, and at levels usually reserved for graduate students. She is one of the reasons that our graduates fare so well when applying for medical, dental, veterinary, or pharmacy school.”

On a campus that focuses on teaching, Iordanova is pleased to be recognized for additional scholarly work.

“It means a lot to me because it recognizes the scholarly work that I am doing,” said Iordanova. “We are teaching students here, but we also do research. To be recognized for my research efforts on top of a pretty heavy teaching load makes me really happy and really proud of what I do.”

With a background in physical chemistry, Iordanova’s current research focuses on theoretical modeling of reaction pathways involving low energy particle deposition on polymer surfaces. As a postdoctoral research assistant at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., she worked on theoretical characterization of reactions involving charge transfer.

“Research is definitely important in the upper division classes that I teach because the students are more interested and can actually understand the work,” she said. “I always mention my research in lower division classes and classes for non-science majors as well because the students in these classes need to know that discoveries don’t come only from textbooks. The students can be the ones finding new things.”

Having earned bachelor’s and master’s level degrees in chemistry at Sofia University in her native Bulgaria, Iordanova began working on her doctorate at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind. She later transferred to The Pennsylvania State University, finishing her Ph.D. in physical chemistry. From there, she moved to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a postdoctoral research scientist.

Iordanova has co-authored 12 peer reviewed journal articles and is working on her thirteenth. She has given 24 presentations at universities, chemistry conferences and symposiums and international workshops. Much of her recent work has been completed with the help of undergraduate research assistants she has mentored at Georgia Southwestern.

“All of the students that did research with me publishing papers were really excited to do the work,” Iordanova added. “They saw not only the benefits of doing the research but how much fun it can be. At conferences they met people they otherwise would not, like Nobel Prize winning scientists, and this additionally motivated and inspired them.”

Primarily teaching upper level physical chemistry lecture classes and labs, Iordanova also teaches chemistry seminar courses, general chemistry, and she has led study abroad GSW courses. She believes that what Southwestern has to offer in the sciences is second to none.

“I would like to see more students coming to GSW because of our great chemistry program and because we do so much more than would be done elsewhere, allowing students to have experiences that they might not be able to have at other schools of our caliber,” she said.

A member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) for more than a decade, Iordanova has a long list of affiliations with various professional organizations. She is also member of numerous university committees, currently serving as chair of the GSW Faculty Affairs Committee and a treasurer of the Southwest ACS local section. During her tenure at GSW, she has participated in 16 grants and fellowships totaling nearly $100,000.

In 2012, she received the Wiley-International Journal of Quantum Chemistry Young Investigator Award, and she was given GSW’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Award for Scholarship. She has twice been invited to participate in the Cherry L. Emerson Center Visiting Fellowship program at Emory University.

President Blanchard initiated the Featured Scholar Award in 2008 to recognize, once a year, a GSW faculty member who has made significant contributions to his or her discipline in the form of artistic accomplishment, basic research, writing, publishing, editing, presenting and grant awards. The award recipient is chosen by a committee of faculty members representing each school selected by the Faculty Senate chaired by the past recipient of the award. It carries a stipend of $500.

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