Dr. Kenneth BrownDr. Kenneth Brown

Dr. Kenneth Brown, who is the John H. and Jeanne M. Professor of Chemistry at Hope College, has been presented one of two 2024 by the .

The awards honor faculty at consortium-member colleges and universities who have vigorous research programs involving undergraduates, who are exceptional mentors for undergraduate research students, who are engaged and skilled teachers, or who create interdisciplinary research opportunities for undergraduate students.  In recognition of the award, Brown will be an invited speaker at the consortium’s 2024 Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in November.

Brown, who has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1999, noted that he values the award not only as professional recognition but because of his high regard for the dedicated, outstanding teacher — a former colleague — for whom it’s named.  Andersen was a member of Hope’s mathematics and statistics faculty for 14 years before dying of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in November 2005. Andersen had directed the consortium for five years, and the organization established the award in 2008 to honor her dedication and commitment to her work with students and faculty in her teaching, research and service.

"I was honored to have worked closely with Janet as the Hope representative for consortium shortly after I arrived at Hope," Brown said.

Brown’s areas of research, which he conducts collaboratively with Hope students, are electrochemical preparation and characterization of chemically modified electrodes, and environmental justice.  His active research program at Hope has resulted in 20 papers with 40 undergraduate co-authors in the last 25 years.  He has also mentored students beyond the campus, leading a six-year-long project funded by the National Science Foundation that provided summer research experiences for community college students from the City Colleges of Chicago, many of whom were from underserved communities.

He has also used his expertise in analytical chemistry in collaborative in interdisciplinary research projects with researchers from many different fields.  As one recent example, he collaborated with colleagues from colleagues at Valparaiso, Purdue and Notre Dame in the formation of the Northern Lake County Environmental Partnership with the goal of pursing environmental justice for communities in that area.

Brown was appointed to the college’s John H. and Jeanne M. Professorship in 2023.  Additional recognition from Hope through the years includes receiving the Vanderbush-Weller Award in April for having a strong, positive impact on students; having been named an A. Paul Schaap Fellow in 2014 in support of his research and a Global Shalom Fellow in 2014; receiving the Mentoring, Advising and Teaching Award presented by the Dean for Natural and Applied Sciences in 2010; and multiple faculty-development awards in support of his research.

He graduated from Oral Roberts University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry.  He completed his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1999 at Oklahoma State University, where he held a NASA Graduate Fellowship.

The Midstates Consortium for Mathematics and Science was founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts in 1988. The consortium seeks to improve undergraduate science and mathematics education by providing high-quality and flexible professional development opportunities for students and faculty at the member institutions. In addition to the two annual undergraduate research symposia, major activities include faculty development workshops, and exchange programs that support visits of students and faculty members to other member schools to give presentations or to enhance research collaborations.

Hope is one of 12 colleges and universities that are members of the consortium.  The others are Beloit College, Carthage College, Colorado College, Grinnell College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Knox College, Lawrence University, Macalester College, St. Olaf College, the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis.