Don Fox was hired by Kearney State Teachers College in 1936. At that time, the department had a very large number of majors as interest in the sciences began growing dramatically. He was a prominent and influential figure in the department; serving as its chair and expressing his interest in science, and in the success of students that were fortunate to call him their instructor. His dedication to the education of students and his development of a solid and vibrant chemistry department continues to live on in the current faculty.

For the 41st annual Don Fox Lecture, we honored Dr. April Montoya Vaverka, BS Chemistry, 2002.

Dr. April Montoya VaverkaDr. April Montoya Vaverka earned her B.S. in Chemistry in 2002 from UNK. She then went on to attend University of California at Davis to study the electronic structure of semiconductor materials both nucleated in glass and in ultra-high vacuum. She was awarded an NSF NEAT-IGERT fellowship and worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory during her Ph.D. work. She earned her Ph.D. in Materials Science Engineering from University of California at Davis in 2008 with a thesis in the Characterization of the electronic structure of silicon nanoparticles using X-ray absorption and emission. After receiving her Ph.D., she joined Intel Corporation as a process engineer for 2.5 years working in the lithography department developing processes for next generation photoresist lithography for microchips. In 2011, she took a position as a Lead Scientist at Kimberly-Clark Corporation where she has worked for the last 10 years in their nonwovens department developing materials for personal care and Kimberly-Clark Professional products. She has held various positions from support of commercial materials to front end process development for emerging nonwovens technology. She has worked on various nonwovens materials with technologies varying from wettability surfactants to true process engineering and starting of new machines for commercial production. She is currently a Senior Materials Scientist developing next generation materials for N95 respirators, filtration, scientific apparel, and wipes. She is active in  Women’s Inclusion Network, a mentor in the Georgia Tech Materials science department, treasurer of her son’s soccer club and a community advocate for The Drake House, a local crisis housing charity for homeless single mothers. She lives in Roswell, GA with her husband (whom she met at UNK!) and their two children, Max (9) and Mateo (7).

She gave her Don Fox Lecture entitled "Materials Development:  Why defining the problem is the most important part" on October 8th, 2021