OWU's Ichida Receives AWIS' Highest Honor
March 3, 2005
DELAWARE, OHIO --
Ohio Wesleyan's Jann Ichida received the highest honor the Association
of Women in Science can bestow upon an individual when she was named
an AWIS Fellow during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 21.
"It was a great way to start the semester," Ichida said of learning of
the award. "We'd just returned from break and I received a phone call,
e-mail, and letter saying that I had been chosen. It was such a pleasant
surprise to be selected for this honor."
Showing the character that has made her a favorite of hundreds of Ohio
Wesleyan alumni through the years, Ichida quickly deflected the praise
to her nominator, Dr. Laura Tuhela-Reuning, and the alumni who nominated
her for this award.
"I know how much work it is to nominate for awards, and the effort they
put in was great," says Ichida.
However, Tuhela-Reuning is quick to deflect the praise back to Ichida.
"Jann definitely deserves to be honored. It was kind of fun nominating
her. I contacted 15 former students through e-mail asking for their help.
All of them got back to me within a day. I think that says something
about the effect that Jann had on them."
It has always been about the students for Ichida. She was instrumental
in the NSF grant that led to the purchase of the George Burns Scanning
Electron Microscope, and is co-principle writer, along with Professor
Edward "Jed" Burtt, on two NSF grants over the past eight years that
have received more than $1.6 million for the study of feather degradation.
Ichida, and Tuhela-Reuning, were instrumental in assisting current senior
Heather Costello in receiving Ohio Wesleyan's first American Society
of Microbiology undergraduate research fellowship (Read
more about this story).
Ichida and the rest of the department have made an effort to include
students. "Over the last ten years, I've taken students to meetings in
Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Miami, Atlanta,
Italy and Austria," says Ichida. "We want to help students experience
the 'graduate experience' and begin getting that exposure and networking
Ichida's network at Ohio Wesleyan dates back to 1963, when she joined
husband, Allan, on the faculty at Ohio Wesleyan. Over her 42 years with
the University she has served as microbiology research associate (1963-1972),
instructor of microbiology (1972-1984) and as an adjunct research professor
(1984-present). In addition to her other roles she has been the microbiology
laboratory coordinator since 1969 and the biosafety and chemical hygiene
officer since 1991. Sabbaticals to University of California, Berkeley,
and the University of Georgia also figure in the mix.
"I don't think anyone expected us to come back from the first sabbatical
in Berkeley," said a spirited Ichida. "But we came back, built a house,
raised a family, and are still here today."
It was that spirit, which got Ichida in some "hot-water" with faculty
"I made quite a stir here when I came back to teach after my girls were
born," recalls Ichida. "I was the only faculty member's wife in Bigelow-Rice
that was working with small children. You didn't do that, but I worked
part-time until the girls were old enough to take care of themselves
and came back full-time."
Come back she did, going back to school at The Ohio State University
for a master's degree in preventive medicine and epidemiology. "Audrey
[her daughter] noticed that I was studying for a biostatistics final
exam during her high school graduation ceremony," says Ichida.
Allan and Jann's daughters obviously caught the bug as both have earned
Ph.D.s, Audrey in Plant Molecular Biology from UC-San Diego and Jennifer
in Neuroscience from Vanderbilt.
Ichida is originally from southwest Wisconsin and earned her bachelor's
degree from the University of Wisconsin. She credits her late father,
Joe Machotka, with developing her love of science and persuading her
to attend university to study science. Her 89-year-old mother, June,
still giggles in delight at the 14 graduate students from eight countries
that Jann would invite to the family farm for Thanksgiving.
AWIS Fellows program recognizes and honors women and men who have demonstrated
exemplary commitment to the achievement of equity for women in science,
technology, engineering, and mathematics. The 2005 class is the 19th
to receive Fellow status. The honor is bestowed in conjunction with the
annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting "The
Nexus: Where Science Meets Society."