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Welsh named recipient of 2018-2019 James and Karen Caveney Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award

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Amy Welsh

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Amy Welsh, associate professor of wildlife and fisheries resources in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design at West Virginia University, has been named the recipient of the 2018-2019 James and Karen Caveney Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award.

Established in 2014 as a donation to the WVU State of Minds Campaign, the award is intended to recognize the contributions of a “highly-productive” faculty member who demonstrates excellence in teaching and research alongside a demonstrated “commitment to the people of West Virginia.” 

The alumni sponsors of the award, Dr. James and Karen Caveney, are proud to support the world-class research and teaching at WVU.

“WVU has changed the Caveneys forever. We have gratitude for everything. Our small family has 19 total and eight doctorate degrees from WVU—our University,” James Caveney said.  

Since joining WVU’s faculty in 2011, Welsh has developed an impressive research program in conservation genetics, focusing on the field’s potential to more effectively manage species of conservational concern. Her research projects have spanned a broad range of species, including those native to West Virginia such as bobcats and the endangered candy darter fish.  

Through her laboratory research program, Welsh has obtained more than $1 million in funding, published more than 30 scientific papers and delivered more than 30 presentations. She has also provided wildlife forensic services to regional law enforcement focused on natural resources. 

To ensure that her lab’s research is directly applicable to on-the-ground conservation, Welsh and her team work closely with agencies to identify critical research needs for native species and translate their results into actions. As new technologies become available to conservation geneticists, they apply genomic approaches to better understand biodiversity.

Welsh works to inspire future generations of conservation scientists by teaching courses in conservation ecology, conservation genetics and tropical biodiversity and conservation. She has also mentored numerous graduate students through her research program.

“Students go where invited but stay where appreciated. Dr. Welsh’s enthusiasm endears students to work hard for her,” James Caveney said. 

Welsh earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and psychology from the University of Maryland, master’s of forensic science from the George Washington University and her Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis. Prior to her appointment at WVU, Welsh was an assistant professor at the State University of New York, Oswego. 

“Dr. Welsh is a dedicated educator who shares her passion for conservation science with students through classroom innovation and experiential learning opportunities,” said Kenneth Blemings, interim dean of the Davis College. “She is a tremendous mentor to students, a wonderful colleague, and is committed to science and how it serves society.”  

As the recipient of the 2017-2018 Caveney Award, Welsh will receive $6,000 in professional development monies from the Caveney Fund and be recognized by WVU President Gordon Gee and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joyce McConnell at the annual faculty and staff awards dinner at Blaney House in April.



CONTACT: Ann Claycomb, Assistant Vice President for Academic and Strategic Communication

Office of the Provost

304-293-9919 ;

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