Dr. Audra Merfeld-Langston, associate professor of French and chair of arts, languages and philosophy at Missouri University of Science and Technology, has been named the 2017 Woman of the Year at Missouri S&T. She was honored during a campus ceremony on Wednesday, April 19.
The Woman of the Year award is given annually to a female full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty member in recognition of efforts to improve the campus environment for women and minorities. As part of the award, Merfeld-Langston received a $2,000 stipend funded by Missouri S&T graduate Cynthia Tang, founder and former chair of Insight Industries Inc.
“Dr. Merfeld-Langston has … excelled in her work as a mentor for both students and faculty, and her commitment to student learning is truly admirable,” wrote one nominator. “Just since 2014, she has supervised five female students who won awards at the S&T Undergraduate Research Conference for their work. She also works side-by-side with nearly a dozen women from her French courses on translation projects that have or will result in actual publications for them.”
A member of the faculty since 2007, Merfeld-Langston earned a Ph.D. in French and francophone studies from Pennsylvania State University that same year. Before joining the Missouri S&T faculty, she served as coordinator of the French Summer Intensive Language Institute at Penn State.
Merfeld-Langston also serves on the executive board for the Greater St. Louis Chapter for the American Association of Teachers of French, and in November she hosted a workshop at S&T for K-12 and higher education French teachers from across Missouri. Merfeld-Langston remains an active researcher and grant writer, and is leading a team that is developing a minor in Latin American studies at S&T.
She is the faculty advisor for Phi Sigma Rho, a sorority for women in engineering and engineering technology, and she chairs the Global Studies Minor Committee and is faculty advisor for the French Club. This past year she was a founding member of the Renaissance Student Award committee, which was established to recognize a student who embodies the “renaissance” principles of holistic balance and multidisciplinary talents.
Dr. Merfeld-Langston “has impressive expertise when it comes to identifying key learning moments for students,” wrote another nominator. “She aims to create experiences that develop the whole person. Audra is profoundly deserving of this recognition. She is a faculty member who balances the need to publish and teach and mentor and connect with not only students but professionals at this institution. So often faculty and staff forget that the students are why we are here.”
One of Merfeld-Langston’s students wrote about that dedication and the importance of connecting with students in her nomination letter.
“Without a doubt, I believe that Dr. Merfeld-Langston is the right choice for Missouri S&T’s 2017 Woman of the Year Award. I cannot explain enough how much she has impacted my life since I arrived at Missouri S&T four years ago, and I know many students who can say the same. She is truly a wonderful asset to this campus and inspiration for all students who are privileged enough to meet her.”