Texas Tech University

Alumna Toni Sauncy Named Minnie Stevens Piper Professor

TTU alumna Dr. Toni Sauncy

Alumna Toni Sauncy (Ph.D., Applied Physics, Texas Tech University) has been named a 2021 Minnie Stevens Piper Professor.

Sauncy is professor and chair of the Physics Department at Texas Lutheran University (TLU) and one of only 10 college professors in Texas recognized this year for her superior teaching—22 years and counting—and for having a profound influence on students at the university level.

A first-generation college student, Sauncy was also the first in her family to graduate high school. She is a Red Raider through and through, having earned all her degrees—a Ph.D. in Applied Physics, an M.S. in Physics, and a B.S. (magna cum laude) in Mathematics—from Texas Tech.

During her time as a master's student, Sauncy remembers the influence of chemist Dominick Casadonte, himself a Minnie Stevens Piper Professor.

In 2017, Sauncy was named a Fellow of the American Association of Physics (AAPT) Teachers. In 2018, she received the TLU Harold T. Bier award for outstanding teaching, as well as the Texas Section of AAPT Mary Beth Monroe Award for distinguished service to students. Mary Beth Monroe was one of Sauncy's mentors as a young faculty member, and the award is in Monroe's memory. Sauncy says she was very fortunate to be taught by some amazing teachers along the way, all who collectively helped shape her own approach to the classroom and lab.

In addition to chairing TLU's Physics Department, Sauncy is President-Elect of the American Association of Physics Teachers; chair of the Council on Undergraduate Research, Physics and Astronomy Division; a board member of the Advanced Lab Physics Association (ALPhA); and regional director of ALPhA for Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

About the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation

Founded in 1950 by Randall Gordon Piper and his wife, Minnie Stevens Piper, the foundation serves their dream of encouraging young minds and intellectual achievement. The Piper Professor Awards began in 1958 with eight recipients and the roster includes outstanding professors from two and four-year colleges and universities, public and private. The prestigious recognition includes a $5,000 award.

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