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Awards / Honors

Two CSU faculty named Monfort Professors

April 29, 2014

Two Colorado State University faculty members have been named Monfort Professors, one of the university's top honors.

They are Shane Hentges, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Kelly D. Martin, Daniel Ethics Initiative Faculty Fellow and associate professor of marketing in the College of Business.

The Monfort Professor Award was established in 2002 through a gift from the Monfort Family Foundation. The two will receive $75,000 annually for two years to support their research projects and teaching efforts. The awards were announced at the annual Celebrate! Colorado State event on Tuesday.

Shane Hentges

Hentges received her Ph.D. in neuroscience and a B.S. degree in genetics and cell biology, both from Washington State University.

“Dr. Hentges is a rising star in our college and in the field of neuroscience, so it’s wonderful that she is being recognized and supported as a Monfort Professor,” said Mark Stetter, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Her discoveries are thought-provoking, and we’re very proud of her work opening new doorways for investigation in neuroscience.”

Hentges, who joined the department in 2007, has enjoyed a meteoric rise within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences, CSU and the field of neuroscience. Her research is focused on understanding the underlying neural causes of obesity and anorexia, and the development of tolerance to opiates used in pain management.

In his nomination letter, department head Colin Clay wrote that  while she is still a junior faculty member, Hentges has procured several million dollars in National Institutes of Health grant support for her research, and is publishing her work in top-tier neuroscience journals, receiving national and international recognition.

“In describing her research, external reviewers have used words such as ‘groundbreaking,’ ‘exceptional,’ ‘novel and innovative’ and ‘cutting edge,’” Clay wrote. “In addition to developing a world class research program, Dr. Hentges is a gifted, dedicated, and highly sought-after teacher and mentor. Dr. Hentges is a model faculty member and in her short career she has achieved a level of excellence in all aspects of her appointment (teaching, research and service) that is truly outstanding and worthy of careful consideration for this honor.”

She proposes to use the Monfort funds to help build an advanced imaging system to map neural circuits that regulate energy balance and reward.  

“High-resolution imaging studies will allow us to examine the connections that underlie behaviors, and will strengthen our cellular and functional work,” Hentges said. “Additionally, with the enhanced capability, we will be able to provide opportunities for students to learn cutting-edge neuroimaging approaches.”

While Hentges’ primary appointment is in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, she is also a key member of the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences (MCIN) program. The MCIN program is a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence and a Special Academic Unit that will be offering a new undergraduate degree program in neurosciences beginning this fall.

Kelly D. Martin

Martin received her undergraduate degree in marketing and operations management from Gonzaga University, her MBA from Creigton University, and her Ph.D. from Washington State University.

She joined the CSU College of Business faculty in 2007. In 2012, she published groundbreaking research evaluating how poverty and consumption inadequacy can influence personal well-being; that same year she received the Emerging Scholar Award for Early Career Research Contributions from the American Association. Her unique research focuses on some of the world’s most vulnerable consumers, addressing ethical questions of importance to both corporate and public policy.

In addition to her outstanding research, Martin has become one of the most outstanding teachers in the College, where she was honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. She teaches the quantitative methods course in the Global Sustainable and Social Enterprise MBA program, providing students the tools they need for their work in the poorest parts of the world. Martin also mentors GSSE student venture teams, and has facilitated a Business Ethics Boot Camp for incoming freshmen to the College.

In her nomination for the Monfort Professorship, College of Business Dean Ajay Menon praised Martin’s ability to expertly teach a cross-section of undergraduate and graduate courses as well as her scholarship. “Kelly is without a doubt the most passionate and enthusiastic scholar I have met,” he wrote. “Kelly is an outstanding colleague who strives to help others and who is very well regarded by her colleagues.”

In addition to her teaching and mentoring at all levels, Martin serves on the review boards of the professional journals and has served on planning and award committees for AMA Educators’ Conferences. She has published about 20 peer-reviewed articles and several chapters in scholarly books.

Martin plans to use her Monfort Professorship funding to design and acquire high-quality data that relates to her research questions of how living in poverty influences individuals’ behaviors and the structures and processes of consumption. One of her focus areas is consumers’ saving behaviors at the base of the economic pyramid, and the Monfort funding will allow her to gain a more fine-grained understanding of individual saving amounts, saving mechanisms, willingness to pay interest and fees, family saving dynamics and other data by traveling to high-poverty countries to conduct in-depth interviews.

She also wants to use her Monfort Professorship to disseminate and present her research findings to global policy and aid organizations. Martin hopes this could result in not only greater understanding of the experiences of people at the base of the pyramid, but also new and closer research partnerships for the University.