The Italian Society of Mineralogy and Petrology (Società Italiana di Mineralogia e Petrologia) recently awarded honorary fellowships to two Virginia Tech faculty members in the College of Science.

Nancy Ross, professor and head of the Department of Geosciences, and Robert ‘Bob’ Bodnar, University Distinguished Professor and C.C. Garvin Professor of Geochemistry, were the two to receive the honor. 

The society, established in 1940, includes 440 members. The 10-member board of the society approved the pair unanimously in recognition of internationally relevant scientific and professional contributions to the advancement of the mineralogical sciences.

“To have two members of the same department chosen for this honor is really quite extraordinary,” said Lay Nam Chang, Dean of the College of Science. “It speaks volumes about Virginia Tech’s international outreach partnerships and the ability of our research teams to work successfully across both disciplinary and international boundaries.”

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1985, Bodnar regularly teaches a one-week short course in Naples, Italy, and in 2010 was awarded a Laurea Honoris Causa (honorary degree) from the University di Napoli Federico II in Naples.

He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s degree from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2000, Ross is recognized as a leader in research into the structure and properties of materials using X-rays, neutrons, among other means, and relating the results to provide an understanding of the stability of materials ranging from metal-organic frameworks to ultra-dense silicates under different and sometimes extreme conditions. 

She collaborates with many mineral scientists in Italy, many of whom who have worked in the Virginia Tech Crystallography Laboratory. She has also taught in the International School on Mineral Physics in Bressanone-Brixen, Italy and presented a series of lectures at the University of Milan and University of Torino as part of the Mineralogical Society of America Distinguished Lectureship series.

She received her bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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