Dr. Meera Chandrasekhar is one of three preeminent scholar/teachers from U.S. universities who have been selected as finalists for Baylor University’s 2014 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching.
The Cherry Award is the only national teaching award with the single largest monetary reward of $250,000 presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching.
As Cherry Award finalists, each professor will receive $15,000, as well as $10,000 for their home departments to foster the development of teaching skills. Each finalist will present a series of lectures at Baylor during fall 2013 and also a Cherry Award lecture on their home campuses during the upcoming academic year.
The winning professor will be announced by Baylor in spring 2014.
Chandrasekhar is a Curator’s Teaching Professor of Physics, University of Missouri. The Indian American earned her B.Sc. degree in physics and mathematics from M.G.M. College, Mysore University in India, in 1968; master’s degrees in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India, in 1970 and Brown University in 1973; and a Ph.D. in physics from Brown University in 1976.
After a post-doctoral fellowship at Max-Planck-Institut in Germany, she joined the University of Missouri faculty in 1978.
Chandrasekhar’s teaching and research has been recognized with many honors, including the 2006 President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching from the University of Missouri, 2004 Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship from the University of Missouri, and the 1999 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the National Science Foundation.
She was honored in 2002 with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology. She received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in 1985 and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1992.
Chandrasekhar’s research interests are in the area of optical spectroscopy of semiconductors, superconductors and conjugated polymers, with an emphasis on high pressure studies.
She has a strong interest in the education of young students, and has developed hands-on physics programs for students in grades 5-12 and summer institutes for K-12 teachers, activities for which she has received several awards.