Kevin Ahern and Patti Duncan named 2017 Honors College Eminent Professors

The Oregon State University Honors College (HC) has named Kevin Ahern from the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and Patti Duncan of the School of Language, Culture, and Society as Honors College  for 2017.

HC Eminent Professor awards recognize the contributions of faculty members to the education and mentorship of students in the Honors College. “Dr. Ahern and Dr. Duncan are dedicated and passionate teachers,” said HC Associate Dean Tara Williams. “We are thrilled to recognize their commitment to the honors community.”

Ahern teaches introductory and upper-division biochemistry courses, as well as two HC classes, Scientists in the Public Eye and Sing a Song of Science. He has also been instrumental in developing and teaching courses that introduce students to the honors thesis process. Since completing his doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State in 1986, Ahern has served as the Director for Undergraduate Research at Oregon State University (2012-2015), published four textbooks and more than 40 scientific articles for peer-reviewed journals, and mentored six HC student thesis projects. A proponent of Open Access in education, Ahern records and uploads all of his survey lectures to; combined, his YouTube videos have been viewed more than three million times. He is also the creator of Metabolic Melodies, a series of biochemistry-related lyrics sung to the tune of popular songs, and the basis of his popular HC colloquium, Sing a Song of Science. In recognition of his dedication and support for HC students and their research, a faculty panel selected Kevin Ahern as the 2017 Sandy and Elva Sanders Eminent Professor in the Oregon State University Honors College.

Duncan has been teaching at Oregon State since 2009 and is the coordinator of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. She teaches HC sections of the courses Women in World Cinema and Disney: Gender, Race, Empire. Duncan is the editor of Feminist Formations, a leading journal in the field of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of more than 20 peer-reviewed articles, as well as a book, Tell This Silence: Asian American Women Writers and the Politics of Speech(University of Iowa Press, 2004). The recipient of grants and fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, and the National Women’s Studies Association, she was the winner of the 2015 Honors College Outstanding Professor of the Year Award. In recognition of her excellence as a scholar and educator, Patti Duncan was selected by a panel of peers as an HC Eminent Professor for 2017.

The HC Eminent Professor awards are made possible through the generosity of Honors College donors, particularly Ruth Beyer and Joseph (Sandy) and Cheryl Sanders. For a list of previous honorees, see


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