Connecting campuses to promote excellence in math and science

2017 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners


Biological Sciences and Psychology

Dr. Julie Legler


Professor of Statistics and Statistics Program Director

Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science

St. Olaf College


After completion of her Sc.D. in Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Julie Legler spent 8 years with the National Institute of Health where much of her work was with the Cancer Surveillance Research Program.  A colleague recalls that “Upon arriving at St. Olaf in 2001, she believed, rightfully, that undergraduate statistics students could (should) work in collaborative, interdisciplinary research teams modeled on the type she knew so well from her work at the NIH.”  Since then Julie has received almost $3 million from National Science Foundation grants to create and sustain the St. Olaf Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR). The CIR has provided a structure in which hundreds of students have been able to engage in meaningful – and often life changing – collaborative research with faculty and other students. While many projects are broadly health related, they have ranged from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to economics and political science, as well as many other areas.  Julie herself has been personally involved in dozens of undergraduate research projects, including international collaborations with entities such as the World Health Organization in Geneva.  Julie’s work to inspire the next generation of leaders in STEM is exceptional.  Dr. Legler will be recognized for her contributions to undergraduate research by presenting the Janet Andersen Lecture at the 2017 Midstates Consortium Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Biological Sciences and Psychology.



Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science

Dr. Thomas Varberg









DeWitt Professor of Chemistry

Department of Chemistry

Macalester College


While physical chemistry is often viewed as one of the more challenging areas of chemistry, the nomination letter for Dr. Thomas Varberg describes him as an enthusiastic teacher whose “passion for pchem is clear and effusive; Tom enjoys stimulating student interest in physical chemistry and making the material accessible.”  This passion is evident in both his teaching and mentoring of undergraduate research at Macalester College.  Chemistry majors regularly identify his quantum chemistry course as one of their favorite chemistry classes, while his teaching in the Accelerated and General Chemistry courses encourages many first-year students to continue with a chemistry major.  Tom has obtained over $1 million in NSF-RUI funding to support students, both chemistry and physics majors, in molecular spectroscopy research projects at Macalester.  Of the approximately 40 students he has mentored in the laboratory, 21 have been included as co-authors for peer reviewed publications.  Tom is seen as a strong advocate of the liberal arts and his global perspective obtained from multiple sabbaticals in international venues supports Macalester’s emphasis on internationalism and multiculturalism.  Dr. Varberg will be recognized for his contributions to undergraduate research by presenting the Janet Andersen Lecture at the 2017 Midstates Consortium Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Physical Sciences, Math and Computer Science.