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Bio prof Matthew Wund inducted into Phi Beta Kappa alongside 69 students

69 new members were inducted to Phi Beta Kappa in 2016. Photo by Kim Ilkowski.
The newest members of Phi Beta Kappa. Photo by Kim Ilkowski.

TCNJ’s Delta chapter of Phi Beta Kappa inducted 69 new members and its first-ever alumni member, Associate Professor of Biology Matthew Wund, at a formal ceremony in Mayo Concert Hall Thursday evening.

In its tenth year since being installed at the college, TCNJ’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa has only grown in prestige. Each year the chapter invites students majoring in the arts and sciences to join the nation’s oldest and most widely recognized honor society. These students demonstrate not only the value of a robust liberal arts education, but also a life-long drive for learning.

This year’s ceremony marked the inaugural induction of an alumni member to the chapter, as well. According to the Model Chapter Constitution of Phi Beta Kappa, alumni members must have graduated from an institution at least 10 years ago and have given “clear evidence of the possession of distinguished scholarly capacities.” Wund, who graduated in 1999 before the college housed a chapter, was a perfect fit. His nominators praised him for conducting innovative research projects and serving as a “caring, engaged, and rigorous mentor,” according to TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitentstein.

Wund accepted the award with warmth and humility.

“I love and respect my colleagues dearly, so the fact that they have chosen to recognize me as the first to receive this honor is extremely humbling,” Wund said.

Since graduating from TCNJ, Wund pursued graduate research in the acclaimed evolutionary ecology program at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. While there, Wund studied bat echolocation and published two papers in peer-reviewed journals. For his post-doctoral research, he then moved to Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts to study stickleback fish. He went on to receive the prestigious National Research Science Award from the National Institute of Health, and his subsequent publications have established him as a vanguard in his field.

Wund has taught biology at TCNJ since 2009. He leads a large independent research lab and teaches course to education students from non-science majors, preparing them to engage their future students with scientific inquiry. Most of all, Wund delights in any opportunity that allows him to flex and expand his knowledge.

“The best part of my day, any day, is when students come into my office and we can talk about anything: evolution, philosophy, music, art,” Wund said. “It’s what I always imagined being a college professor would be like—always surrounded by knowledge and sharing it with others. I hope to encourage that constant love of learning in everything I do, both in the classroom and in my relationships with students and faculty.”

—Tom Kozlowski ’16