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Martha Christensen -- 1997 -- Outstanding Former Faculty
Botany DepartmentRetirement in 1989 seems only to have given Martha Christensen more opportunity to excel at research in fungi. Recently, she was awarded a large, competitive grant from the National Science Foundation. And throughout her 29 years on the faculty of the Botany department, Dr. Christensen was recognized for the excellence of her research, both by the grants she received and by her colleagues: In 1987-88, she served as president of the Mycological Society of America, the largest group in North America that focuses on the biology of fungi.
Researcher was just one of the hats Dr. Christensen wore, however. Known for her wit and charisma, she was a popular mentor and teacher whose abilities resulted in recognition from UW students (ASUW, Yearbook, Mortar Board) in 1971; 1973 and 1982. Her teaching continues to evoke comments from former students. In 1991, she was awarded the William A.Weston Award for Teaching Excellence by the Mycological Society of America.
Dr. Christensen's enthusiasm for the courses she taught was contagious. She has an unusual ability to connect such creatures as fungi and algae to the "real" world converting students to a lifelong interest in plants, fungi and their interactions and ecosystems.