Murray State professor named “Woman of the Year in technology” by GATRA magazine

“Always Serve and Seek New Breakthroughs” is the title of the news article in Indonesia’s GATRA magazine, which awarded “Woman of the Year in technology” to a Murray State professor.

Iin Handayani, associate professor in the department of Agronomy, received not only the GATRA award, but was the recipient of the 2012 Board of Regents teaching award for ‘Teaching Excellence” and the University’s “Mentor of the Year” award.

Handayani said she was nothing but thankful for the awards and she said she has nothing but thanks for everyone who has helped her achieve them.

“I feel honored, of course,” she said. “I feel very, very happy and many people have helped me through this – my students, my colleagues and my boss. They support me and help me do better every semester.”

Handayani said as a professor, her students are her first priority and are the main reason she strives to do her best. She said one of her main goals was to help students learn that although science is a little boring, it can also be fun. One of the ways Handayani said she liked to help students feel more exciting about her class, is to relate the material to the students’ own lives.

Handayani teaches soil science in the Hutson School of Agriculture and said although many students would not give the subject a second thought; it is of importance of her field.

“Soil is not something everyone knows, since it is underground, not many people give it much thought,” she said. “I like to make them realize how important soil is. If you want to grow something out of the ground, you need to have soil.”

She said that she loves all of her classes. Going on her sixth year of teaching for the University, Handayani strives to do all of her best in all of her classes.

Out of what feedback Handayani hopes to receive, she would like a lot more interest in not only her classes but international experience. She said she would like to have more students take her classes and to take advantage of the international experience she has.

“I want to have more students not just from agriculture but form other departments as well, so that I can broaden my techniques,” she said. “I like to enrich myself with other knowledge students want or need.”

Handayani said if there is one area she would like to work on, it would be teaching, research, publications, community service and a much more personal aspect.

“I want to make myself useful for others in a good way,” she said. “When I first came to Murray, I didn’t know anybody here and people here are so nice. It’s nice to know the place I call home has been called the friendliest town. “

Bonnie Higginson, vice-president of Academic Affairs, said Handayani was given the awards due to her constant efforts to keep the student at the center of the University’s priority.

“She is a phenomenal faculty member in the school of agriculture,” Higginson said. “She has published many articles and has presented all over the world.”

She said the awards were not only a way to thank Handayani for all of her work, but they also helped bring Murray State a more international audience.

Higginson said when a faculty member or program is featured on an international level; it brings more eyes to Murray State. The recognition in GATRA magazine could be the trigger that brings students to study or someone to apply for a teaching position here if they are at the doctoral level.

Story by Sam Villanueva, Staff writer.