Professor Deaver recognized with lifetime achievement award


SMSU Environmental Science Professor Emily Deaver was recently recognized with the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award. Deaver has been teaching at SMSU for 15 years. Deaver also started the Undergraduate Research Conference and the Redwood River Monitoring Project.

The Undergraduate Research Conference is an annual professional conference. It’s held in the conference center on campus at the end of the fall semester. The conference helps students improve their written and oral communication skills and allows students a unique learning opportunity. This year roughly 225 students will present from 21 different disciplines. Each year, Deaver takes 10-15 nominated student presenters at the Undergraduate Research Conference to the Minnesota Undergraduate Scholars Conference. The Minnesota Undergraduate Scholars Conference is hosted in the spring each year and has participants from all the colleges in the Minnesota State system.

The Redwood River Project is a joint project between SMSU and the local schools. Deaver teaches a class on Redwood River Mentoring and Monitoring which is open to students from any major. The SMSU students mentor a small group of high school and 7th grade students. The students receive hands-on experience with river monitoring.

“One of the aims of our project is to instill a stewardship ethic in those involved in the project,” Deaver said.

Deaver has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in biological oceanography. In graduate school, Deaver spent a lot of time working in marine and estuarine environments.

After earning her masters, Deaver worked for many years in aquaculture. She worked for several years on a tilapia farm in Florida, then worked on a project in Virginia that involved fish culture and hydroponic vegetables. Deaver also worked in construction and then at the Applied Marine Research Lab at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. She spent 12 years working before deciding to go for her doctorate. Deaver earned her doctorate in biology from the University of Mississippi.

Deaver said that she decided she wanted to be a college professor while earning her doctorate. She taught for seven years at a small private university in North Carolina before coming to SMSU. Emily Deaver was awarded the Cathy Cowan award in 2010 and also received the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award in 2017.