Congratulations Melissa Collini for receiving the 2021 UNT Special Recognition Award! This is one of UNT's most prestigious awards; it is granted by President Smatresk only to truly exceptional members of the UNT community.
According to the Presidential Awards website, the President's Special Recognition Award "honors an extraordinary student, faculty or staff member (or group) who has contributed momentous, unique talent or service to the university and cultivated UNT pride. This award is given where no usual award or recognition is available due to unique quality of the contributions."
Melissa is being recognized as someone who has contributed extraordinary talent and unique service to the UNT community and beyond, resulting in infectious (in a good way) UNT pride. In addition to being a model UNT graduate student with multiple scholarships and awards to her name, Melissa has achieved impacts on science education far beyond the North Texas area through her outstanding podcast, Chemistry for your Life. Since its launch in July 2019, the podcast has reached over 140,000 individuals in 151 countries, helping them to understand the excitement of chemistry and its relevance to everyday life through topics such as "How Do Bath Bombs Fizz?"
The "Chemistry at Home" episodes with at-home experiments have become essential teaching tools for K-12 teachers and home schoolers at a time when many children are not able to attend school in person. In recognition of Melissa's excellent work, her podcast was included in the Top Ten Chemistry Podcasts of 2020 and 2021!
This award would normally be presented during University Honors Day, but it is uncertain whether it will take place as a virtual event this year.
You can view all of the past Presidential award recipients here.