Xavier University of Louisiana professor receives award for excellence

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Contact Info: rreyes@xula.edu

By Regi Reyes

Although Anderson Sunda-Meya, Ph.D., Xavier University of Louisiana professor and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences is not a mentor for the BUILD program at Xavier, he works very closely with many of the students in the program and provides a positive influence on their education. Recently, Sunda-Meya was awarded the American Physical Society’s 2021 Excellence in Physics Education honor on behalf of the American Physical Society. The award generally recognizes a team or group of individuals or, in exceptional cases, a single individual who has exhibited a sustained commitment to excellence in physics education - this year, Sunda-Meya received this honor.

In addition to consistently engaging students and faculty in the physics and other STEM departments at Xavier, Sunda-Meya has also been an influence to many at other regional universities, working with colleagues at Tulane, Dillard, Southern University of New Orleans and others. His research interests include thin film devices, growth and characterization; cell penetrating peptides for drug delivery; robotics/mechatronics and autonomous systems; K-12 STEM and curriculum innovation; and makerspace and engineering education.

According to the American Physical Society guidelines, candidate requirements for this award includes the development of a model program for educational outreach that has demonstrated success and has been emulated beyond a single institution. Sunda-Meya oversaw the department recruitment strategies and worked to recruit physics students, developing an aggressive outreach program at Xavier. He also introduced a service-learning dimension to the introductory general physics courses requiring Xavier students to tutor others and run experiments. He’s spearheaded a number of efforts aimed at hands-on and project-based learning. Sunda-Meya’s efforts throughout his career in physics education at Xavier represents his contribution to the world of education and his commitment to the study of physics. His research efforts extend far beyond Xavier’s campus. 

His efforts have helped Xavier be recognized as one of the top producers of African Americans receiving undergraduate degrees in physics in the nation. Sunda-Meya provides guidance, knowledge and inspiration for XULA students to challenge themselves through scientific research.

"I am deeply honored to receive this award. Through it, I feel that my efforts, along with my colleagues in the department, to recruit, train, and retain students in STEM have been wonderfully rewarded,” said Dr. Sunda-Meya. “My endeavors have been greatly enabled by the support of my colleagues and of Xavier University administration.”

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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