Meet the Vaughn Professorship Recipients: Argelia Lorence - The Herald: News

Meet the Vaughn Professorship Recipients: Argelia Lorence

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Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 5:17 pm

Argelia Lorence, professor of metabolic engineering, received the first Vaughn Endowed Professorship in the College of Sciences and Mathematics.e h $250,000 gift was made through the estate givings of the late James and Wanda Vaughn of Jonesboro.

“It’s one of the greatest honors you can get,” Lorence said. Like her fellow recipients, Lorence was proud and honored to receive the award.

Lorence, who has been at A-State for 12 years, researches agriculture, and stresses the importance of rice to the region. The Vaughns were rice farmers as well as teachers, and Lorence pointed out these ties between her research and their way of life.

She also said the Vaughns were very passionate teachers, who were all about helping students achieve their potential. “I fully share those values,” Lorence said. “I’m a fully committed mentor, and I love my students.”

In her lab, Lorence works with undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral researchers. She said she works with researchers ranging from high schoolers to students on the road to professorships. 

The student body at A-State is around 26 percent minorities. Lorence is proud that her lab is 50 percent minorities. She said the minority students on campus who work with her usually seek her out, and she’s happy to provide a space for underrepresented minorities in the sciences.

“I’m very involved in helping people achieve their potential,” Lorence said. She sites her values and her research as the reason she was chosen to receive the Vaughn Professorship.

Lorence said she has attracted a great deal of funding to the university, over $18M in grants in the 12 years that she’s been at the university.

She plans to use the financial gift from the Vaughns to support her student researchers and students in her classroom. Whether this means repairing  or replacing lab equipment, or taking students to conferences, Lorence hopes to improve the experience in her classroom and her laboratory.

Because funding is getting more competitive, Lorence said she travels often, and the money will help her travel and possibly bring some of her student researchers. She goes to 12 conferences a year.

“It’s very rewarding,” Lorence said. “But it’s a high stress job.”

The other professorship recipients are Cherisse Jones-Branch, professor of history, and John D. Hall, professor of psychology and counseling.

They were each featured in previous issues of the Herald.

Congratulations to each of the recipients. 

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