WSU Honors Faculty for Research and Innovations

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University hosted its inaugural Research, Commercialization and Entrepreneurial Awards on Oct. 2 to celebrate faculty for their research and innovations.

The awards provide an opportunity to honor faculty who have made significant contributions to Weber State, the community and the world through research and innovation. Awardees received a $1,500 prize as well as recognition for their contributions and achievements.

“Research and innovation are crucial because they discover, explain and validate new knowledge, ideas and technologies essential in driving the future of society and humanity,” said James Taylor, WSU’s Sponsored Projects and Technology Commercialization director. “Our research activities and services have critical economic, societal and environmental impacts locally, nationally and internationally. Research also fosters professional excellence in faculty, which is important for delivering outstanding student education and training.”

Award recipients were selected in three categories:

Outstanding Research: Awarded for research that pushed the boundaries of knowledge in the discipline, had intellectual merit and/or made a lasting impact.

Innovation: Awarded for creating innovation that had a positive impact on the economy and/or solved a significant economic problem.

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Awarded for creating innovation in the economic ecosystem of northern Utah.

The awards will be an annual event held in October, with nominations submitted in late summer. The Office of Sponsored Projects and Technology Commercialization created the awards.

Award Recipients

Luke Fernandez, school of computing assistant professor, and Susan Matt, history professor, received the Outstanding Research Award for their book, “Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings about Technology, from the Telegraph to Twitter.” The book examines technology’s influence on Americans' emotional lives and puts contemporary worries about the digital age into historical perspective. Fernandez and Matt spent eight years writing the book, which had its genesis in a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Fernandez was the principal investigator on the grant; Matt and Scott Rogers, English professor, were co-investigators. For more information, visit

John Sohl, physics professor, received the Innovation Research Award for his work on WSU’s High Altitude Reconnaissance Balloon for Outreach and Research. He has also been involved in laser-development engineering projects with the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative and with the Utah Center for Aeronautical Innovation and Design. For more information, visit  

Bruce Davis, vice provost and dean of Online & Continuing Education, received the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award for his continued advocacy for innovation in northern Utah, as well as helping Weber State strengthen its economic development plans for northern Utah. Davis has also taught entrepreneurship courses for many years and is a Layton City council member.

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Shaylee Stevens, Office of Marketing & Communications
801-626-7948 •


James Taylor, WSU's Sponsored Projects and Technology Commercialization director 
801-626-6055 •