2020 Distinguished Service Award: Karen Singmaster
“I have a terrific support system here. I can only do what I do because of their talent, commitment, and shared vision to serve our students together.”
When she’s not managing the San Jose State Department of Chemistry as chair, organizing Chem 1A/B every semester (with over 800 students) and overseeing programs to support underrepresented minority students in science and technology, Professor Karen Singmaster is thinking about the next problem to solve.
“Problem solving was what I enjoy and I think I am good at it,” says this year’s winner of the SJSU Distinguished Service Award. “It helps me stay on top of my to-do list, and ultimately it lets me serve our students better.”
And that’s her true mission of service on campus: helping students learn, overcome obstacles and stay on the rigorous path of STEM programs.
“I’ve been at SJSU since 1988. I know this institution values teaching and research, where our students work hard to achieve their goals so they can improve their lives and their families’,” she says. “What really makes me proud is when my students stay the course and earn advanced degrees themselves, including two who have returned to campus to teach. SJSU and the programs I manage change lives. We educate students on opportunities they hadn’t considered, including going on to a PhD.”
Although she no longer is directly engaged in active research, Singmaster supports her faculty’s research projects by steering students into their laboratories.
“I’m genuinely satisfied that our faculty and our students are advancing knowledge through their combined efforts. We match our students with professors and often pay them for their research contributions. That is tremendously rewarding to me.”
Recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award in 2008, Singmaster notes with pride that the Distinguished Service Award recognizes her entire team.
“I have a terrific support system here. I can only do what I do because of their talent, commitment, and shared vision to serve our students together,” she says.
The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a faculty member for exemplary service in a leadership capacity to the university and/or community or profession that brings credit to San Jose State University.