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Distinguished Professor 2010-2011
Thomas M. Pekarek

Thomas M. Pekarek

Tom Pekarek arrived at UNF in 1997 after earning his Ph.D. in Physics from Purdue University. Pekarek has taught all of the lower level physics lectures and a collection of upper level courses, in addition to creating the Advanced Physics Laboratory course. Over a 7 year period, he overhauled and refined the physics I laboratory experiments.

In addition to the typical list of service activities, Pekarek has served on 21 Physics, Biology, or Chemistry search committees. He has served on 4 major NSF Review Panels as well as refereeing individual research proposals, including one proposal from the U.S. Department of State that was an international grant proposal that had as one goal to employ foreign weapons-of-mass-destruction scientists in non-military collaborative scientific research with western scientists. He serves as a referee for several peer-reviewed journals.

Pekarek has brought in nearly one million dollars in sole-P.I. external grants that were used to finance his research efforts and to purchase two major pieces of state-of-the-art research instruments. His group’s research efforts have resulted in a publication productivity and grant success rate in approximately the top 4% of physics professors in undergraduate departments, according to a major study conducted by Research Corporation. Research on the new class of Layered III-VI Diluted Magnetic Semiconductors and related materials has yielded a collection of undergraduate research awards for his undergraduate research students and a UNF Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award in 2005. The Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award was presented in 2007.

In 2010, Pekarek was the Distinguished Professor Runner Up, and was also named the second Terry Presidential Professor.