Weber State Names 2022 Brady Distinguished Professors

OGDEN, Utah – Two Weber State University professors, acclaimed for contributions to their disciplines of athletic training and earth and environmental sciences, have been named Weber State University’s 2022 Brady Presidential Distinguished Professors.

Chair of the Department of Athletic Training Valerie Herzog, and Earth and Environmental Sciences Professor Michael Hernandez will be honored at this year’s convocation, April 29 at 8 a.m. in the Dee Events Center. The event will be streamed live at

Michael Hernandez

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Professor Michael Hernandez strives to provide a positive learning environment, teach relevant topics and help students achieve their educational goals, so they leave the university prepared for success.

Hernandez began his Weber State career in 2003. He has taught geographic information systems and remote sensing courses to students from disciplines across campus, demonstrating the interdisciplinary nature of his work. Hernandez has also taught general education geology courses to non-majors, helping them understand how geologic processes affect their lives. Hernandez has also mentored students across multiple departments and colleges.

As a geospatial scientist, Hernandez’s research centers on the application of geospatial technologies in studying geologic processes and hazards, geospatial education, wetland hydrology and the transport of nutrient fluxes caused by wildfires. He has collaborated closely with colleagues, including advising student projects such as identifying ice deposits in Mars craters with physics professor John Armstrong, and island biogeography of fish fauna with zoology professor Chris Hoagstrom. 

Hernandez has authored and co-authored several publications, including scholarly articles, a book chapter and field guides. His research frequently includes students, with 20 undergraduates co-publishing and co-presenting their research. 

Hernandez’s vision of building an interdisciplinary geospatial education center serving northern Utah’s rapidly growing geospatial industry was achieved with the establishment of the Northern Utah Geospatial Technology Education Program (NUGeoTec). Through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technology Education grant, he and geography professor Eric Ewert developed the curriculum, certificate programs and minor supported by both the departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences; and Geography, Environment & Sustainability. 

The NUGeoTec program demonstrates how two departments in two different colleges can work together to develop a successful interdisciplinary program that benefits students at all levels from across campus. This seamless collaboration led directly to Weber State’s first joint faculty position, which bolstered geospatial education and research in the departments, doubling enrollment to more than 50 students.

Hernandez has provided significant service to the university and the scientific community. He has served on Faculty Senate and its executive committee, as a Hemingway Trustee, as well as numerous university, college and department committees, including chair of the College of Science Promotion and Tenure Committee. He has also served as a peer reviewer for NSF proposals, scientific journal manuscripts and scientific meeting papers.

Hernandez is currently director of NUGeoTec and past director of the Geospatial & Environmental Applied Research (GEAR) Lab.

Valerie Herzog

Chair of the Department of Athletic Training Valerie Herzog finds joy in building strong personal connections with students. 

Since she began working at Weber State in 2005, Herzog has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in therapeutic rehabilitation, therapeutic modalities, manual therapy, management and casting. Because of her dedication to her students, alumni regularly reach out for advice on personal dilemmas, careers or just to catch up. 

She cherishes relationships with current and former students and considers them part of her extended family. When former students, who now work in the NBA, NFL or MLS, meet up as opponents, they often send her group photos, knowing how much she values their continued connections with each other. Her students note that she creates a “very open and inclusive environment, especially when talking about difficult topics in regards to inclusion and diversity.”

Herzog is excited about research and has chaired thesis committees for 45 graduate students, many of whom have presented at national conferences or published in peer-reviewed research journals. 

Herzog has published 19 peer-reviewed manuscripts and three book chapters. Her research focuses on the effectiveness of various therapeutic modalities and rehabilitation techniques. Her most recent publication sought to determine how researchers categorize transgender or intersex individuals who volunteer in clinical research studies. 

As part of extensive service at the university, Herzog led the effort to make tenure and promotion policies more inclusive, reduce the risk of bias and require mentors for tenure-track faculty. She also helped revise the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions tenure document, adding clarity and ensuring the language and policies are inclusive. 

Herzog has sought to further the profession of athletic training internally through the development of a new undergraduate and graduate program, serving as program director for both. Herzog was also the director of the Office of Graduate Studies for six years, where she supported the development and approval of eight new graduate programs, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice, the first doctoral program in the history of Weber State. 

Externally, over the past 20-plus years, she has followed her passion for advocacy by working with state and federal legislators to introduce and pass bills to improve employment opportunities and legal protections for the future of students entering the profession. She is currently working with two national interprofessional organizations to develop advocacy training for their members. 

Herzog was selected recently as a Fellow with both the National Academies of Practice and the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions.

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Allison Barlow Hess, Public Relations director
801-626-7948 •


Allison Barlow Hess, Public Relations director
801-626-7948 •