ETSU Presents Distinguished Faculty Awards | New


Three faculty members from East Tennessee State University received the Distinguished Faculty Award in the areas of teaching, research, and service. This award is the highest honor awarded to an ETSU professor. Each winner receives a medallion and a prize of $ 5,000 provided by the ETSU Foundation.

Dr Sean Fox, Lecturer and Laboratory Coordinator (Microbiology) in the Department of Health Sciences at the College of Public Health, is the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching.


Fox joined ETSU as a lecturer in June 2013. He received his BS in Forensic Science / Molecular Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007 and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences – Microbiology, from ETSU in 2013.

Fox’s nomination for the award was initiated by two independent students who garnered over 20 letters of recommendation from past and current students detailing their enthusiastic support. Letters from the students spoke of Fox’s sincerity and enthusiasm and described him as a valuable mentor who helped them guide them both professionally and personally through difficult times.

One faculty member described his teaching style as “very capable but absolutely unpretentious, successful but absolutely not self-promoting, a shrewd observer but absolutely uncritical of others.”

Fox has one of the most prominent teaching responsibilities at the College of Public Health. He teaches Introductory Microbiology Conference & Lab, Human Genetics, Healthcare Simulation I, General Microbiology Conference & Lab, Biomedical Techniques, and Supervised Education.

He also teaches master’s and doctoral courses. Graduate programs in biomedical sciences and is committed to moving out of the traditional classroom to instruct and guide students in basic science research.

The Distinguished Faculty Award in Research was awarded to Dr Aruna Kilaru, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the College of Arts and Sciences.



Kilaru is recognized nationally and internationally for her research on the biochemical regulation of petroleum biosynthesis and stress tolerance in plants. “She made many notable discoveries in this area, including the identification of new regulators of oil synthesis in plants and the identification of an endocannabinoid lipid and components of its biosynthetic pathway in bryophytes,” wrote a colleague in support of his appointment.

During her tenure at ETSU, she received over $ 1.1 million in grants for her work and has published in many leading journals in her field.

“I have always been passionate about research,” says Kilaru, “and the idea that I can contribute to the advancement of science by doing whatever type of research I do is certainly one of the most important factors. motivating. “

The influence she can have on her students is also important to Kilaru by helping them develop their critical thinking skills for the benefit of their careers. Several generations of undergraduate to doctoral students have benefited from his research, teaching and mentoring, both in the classroom and in the laboratory. Two of his former Ph.D. students are now postdoctoral fellows at Virginia Tech and Columbia University.

Kilaru was recently selected to serve as an Agricultural Science Advisor for the United States Department of Agriculture as a recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology Fellowship in Science and Technology.

Kilaru received his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry and his master’s degree in biotechnology from Indian universities and his doctorate. in environmental and evolutionary biology from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, in 2005.

The Distinguished Faculty Award in Service was awarded to Dr Sarah Melton, professor of pharmacy practice at Gatton College of Pharmacy.



Melton graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she received her BA in Pharmacy and Doctorate in Pharmacy. She also completed a clinical internship in psychiatric pharmacy.

Dr. Melton’s service to his patients and his community is driven by a relentless desire to see a decrease in the stigma associated with mental illness and the illness of addiction. Raise awareness, improve access to treatment and providing education about these diseases has been his career priority, ”wrote one of the proposers.

She joined the Gatton College of Pharmacy faculty in 2012 and has been a champion of naloxone education and distribution at the local, state and regional levels. Melton is an educational advisor for the award-winning National Academy of Student Pharmacists Committee of the American Pharmacists Association Generation Rx. She is also an educational advisor for the student chapter of the College of Neurologic and Psychiatric Pharmacy.

Melton’s efforts have been recognized nationally and locally. She was recently one of five state faculty and staff to receive the prestigious Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award 2021 from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

She has served on the Academic Community Engagement Working Group, the University Well-Being Committee, the ETSU Prescription Drug Abuse and Abuse Working Group, and the Health Working Group. mental health and substance abuse. She has been a dedicated mentor to pharmacy students and devotes a great deal of time to assisting students with academic difficulties or with psychosocial issues impacting their performance as student pharmacists.

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