Dr. Jeff Groff, assistant professor of physics at Shepherd University, received the 2013 McDaniel Honors Program College Scholar Alumni Award at McDaniel College March 28.
The award is given annually to a college scholar, a designation that graduates of McDaniel's Honors Program earn, who has demonstrated leadership in career, academic, and civic involvement.
"I was incredibly excited when I found out I was receiving it," Groff said. "At the same time, the award says it recognizes individuals who achieved their full potential. I hope that's not me. I hope I haven't achieved my full potential in regards to these criteria."
Groff said he was especially proud of three areas of his focus: work toward positive change by mentoring students on their undergraduate research projects; getting grants for resources to integrate biological physics into Shepherd's physics curriculum; and promoting renewable energy and environmental sustainability.
"Through a liberal arts education you become an instrument for positive change in the world around you," he said.
Groff said he knew he wanted to become a professor by the time he finished his bachelor's degree and said the students are the best part of his work at Shepherd.
"I find that I have the most fun while I am in the classroom teaching or in the lab working on research projects," he said.
Dr. Colleen Nolan, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Shepherd, said that Groff is a valued member of the school and that his recognition is well deserved.
"His enthusiasm in working with students and others on projects relating physics to real-world problems is one way he is advancing science literacy," she said. "His commitment to teaching and supporting student research is exceptional."
Groff earned a bachelor of arts in physics at McDaniel in 2001. He then earned a master's degree and a Ph.D at The College of William and Mary.