MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University’s Dr. Traci Byrd, a professor in the department of Occupational Safety & Health, has received the 2021 Neil Weber Award for Excellence in the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology.
The Weber Award was established as a special tribute to former college dean Neil Weber after his retirement from Murray State. The endowment for this award was provided through a generous gift by Dr. Jesse D. Jones, an alumnus who is a strong supporter of Murray State faculty and students and one who shares the University’s commitment to excellence in math and science education.
Recipients are chosen by a committee, with selection based on the nominee’s achievements in several areas, including outstanding service and contributions to the University through academic research grants and development, classroom activities, student recruitment, governmental relations, publications, program leadership and/or assistance with matters of accreditation. Recipients receive a $2,500 stipend for the next academic year to be used for research, conferences, travel or other projects.
“I am very grateful for the excellence that Dr. Byrd provides Murray State students and the community, through the classroom, research contributions and many service activities,” said Dr. Claire Fuller, dean of the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology. “She is one of our most beloved professors of Occupational Safety & Health, providing novel, hands-on experiences to students. Her research on workplace stressors enhances our understanding of what makes a healthy work-environment.”
In 1995, Byrd earned her Bachelor of Communication Disorders and in 1999, earned a Master of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and Leisure Services, both from Murray State. She completed her dissertation, “Factors Impacting Safety Climate in a Small, Rural Hospital Setting” from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee in 2014.
Byrd began as a lecturer at Murray State in 2001, becoming an assistant professor in 2014. During her career at Murray State, Byrd has served as an EMT at Marshall County Ambulance Service in Benton, Kentucky as well as a trainer for the Calloway County Community Emergency Response Team. In her twenty years at Murray State, Byrd has taught across the Occupational Safety & Health curriculum, twice receiving the Regents Teaching Award, mentoring numerous students in significant research experiences and serving her department and the University in many capacities.
“I am extremely honored to be receiving the Dr. Neil Weber Award. It is an even greater honor to be placed in such distinguished ranks as those of the past awardees. I am earnestly grateful for the recognition as I am certain all other nominees were as deserving, if not more, of receiving this award,” said Byrd.