Charles Hawkins Awarded USU's Most Prestigious Research Accolade

Utah State University’s Office of Research announced Charles “Chuck” Hawkins as the 2019 recipient of the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award. Hawkins is a professor in the Department of Watershed Sciences in the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources where he has taught for more than 35 years. He will receive this honor at the Faculty Research Awards Ceremony Monday, April 8. 

“Chuck is a hugely successful and stellar scientist in watershed research,” said Larry Smith, interim vice president for the Office of Research. “He has dedicated his career to making major advances and achieving excellence in his field.”

Hawkins is the first Watershed Sciences faculty to receive the award. 

Hawkins received both his bachelors and masters in biology from California State University – Sacramento. He then went on to complete his doctorate at Oregon State, studying entomology. He came to Utah State in 1983, where he has taught in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife as well as the Department of Watershed Sciences. He also served as the interim department head from 2012 to 2014, and as the director of Watershed Science unit from 1990 to 1995. 

Hawkins’ accomplishments have been instrumental in the forwarding of research in the field of watershed sciences. His research deals with understanding the factors that influence the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems and is instrumental in the understanding of ecological health. 

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“Dr. Charles Hawkins is the epitome of the type of researcher expected at a land-grant university,” said Chris Luecke, dean of the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources. “[He] combines the drive to understand the world through exploration of basic science with the ability to use that basic knowledge to help us better manage our water resources.” 

Hawkins is a prolific researcher, with more than 100 articles published. The influence of these papers had spread beyond publication, with more than 30 of his papers cited over 100 times and more than 11,000 citations on Google Scholar alone. 

Hawkins’ accomplishments are not limited to research. He is the two-time awardee of Graduate Student Mentor of the Year for his work mentoring students and he and his colleagues received the USU Department Teaching Excellence award in 2009. Over the years, Hawkins has mentored nearly 30 students, many who have gone on to hold prominent positions in ecological research. In addition, he has served on doctorate committees for students all over the world and hosted researchers from six other countries in his lab. 

In addition to teaching, Hawkins is a member of multiple ecological societies, including the Society for Freshwater Science where he also serves as the editor in chief for the society’s journal Freshwater Science. The last two decades of his career have been filled with leadership and service opportunities, serving as chair on multiple committees and members o f advisory groups across the nation. His influence can be found in the Environmental Protection Agency reports and he has also been invited to present at conferences around the globe, from Nanking, China to Oulu, Finland. 

“Dr. Hawkins’ impact is felt not only at here at USU but across the country and the world,” said Smith. “It is such an honor to award him this recognition.”

The D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award, named after USU’s first vice president for research, is awarded yearly to a professor demonstrating excellence in research. The awardee is recommended by their peers and receives the opportunity to present their research in a lecture during the following year’s Research Week. Last year’s awardee, Joyce Kinkead, will present the D. Wynne Thorne Lecture Monday, April 8 at 2:30 pm., in the Merrill-Cazier Library south atrium.

For more information about Research Week, visit

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