University of Utah Honors Kevin Perry Among 2024-25 Presidential Societal Impact Scholars

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Posted: June 18, 2024

University of Utah Honors Kevin Perry Among 2024-25 Presidential Societal Impact Scholars

"Professor Kevin Perry's work, notably on the dangers posed by mineral dust from the Great Salt Lake, stands out for its direct impact on environmental policy and public health."

The University of Utah proudly announces its 2024-25 Presidential Societal Impact Scholars, recognizing five distinguished faculty members for their significant contributions to public engagement and societal impact.

Among the esteemed awardees is Professor Kevin Perry from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, whose groundbreaking research on the environmental and health impacts of the shrinking Great Salt Lake has garnered widespread attention and acclaim.

President Taylor Randall emphasized the importance of the award, stating, "Our recipients are exemplars of how the University of Utah extends its expertise beyond academia, fostering positive changes in various communities and fields." The award highlights the university's commitment to applying academic research to address critical societal issues.

Professor Kevin Perry's work, notably on the dangers posed by mineral dust from the Great Salt Lake, stands out for its direct impact on environmental policy and public health. Riding across the 800-mile exposed lakebed on a fat-tire bicycle, Perry's studies revealed alarming concentrations of toxic metals in the dust. His findings, featured in three documentary films and over 115 media interviews with outlets like CNN and The Guardian, have significantly influenced public and policy discussions.

Moreover, Perry's engagement extends to numerous health care groups and policy-making organizations, including the Utah Air Quality Board and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. His role in the Great Salt Lake Strike Team and the Dust Alliance for North America exemplifies his commitment to environmental issues at both local and national levels.

Each Presidential Societal Impact Scholar receives a $10,000 award and promotional support from University Marketing & Communications. The selection, from a pool of 43 nominees, underscores the university's dedication to recognizing faculty members who address vital societal challenges such as health, environmental issues, and social justice.

The Presidential Societal Impact Scholar Award, initiated by Law Professor Randy Dryer through a generous gift, celebrates faculty who extend their impact beyond the campus. "These scholars demonstrate the profound influence public engagement has on our communities and beyond," Dryer remarked.

The University of Utah congratulates Professor Kevin Perry and his fellow awardees: V. Kim Martinez, Emily Salisbury, Baodong Liu, and Amberly Johnson, for their exceptional contributions and looks forward to their continued societal impact.

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