Professional Achievement Award Winners
Professional Achievement Award recipients are alumni who have made important contributions to their careers or profession, to the social, political or economic well-being of the world around them and have shown continued community and civic involvement in addition to their association with and contributions to Idaho State University. Individuals selected for these prestigious awards have been out of school at least 10 years and have excelled in their chosen field, attaining significant success and accomplishments.
Robert Boston - Professional Achievement Award, College of Science & Engineering- Engineering
Robert Boston enlisted in the US (Nuclear) Navy following his graduation from high school. He served 12 years on active duty. After enrolling in the Engineering Program at ISU in 1990, he received his BS in Engineering in 1994. He spent 10 more years in the Naval Reserves, retiring after 22 years of service. While at ISU, he became licensed as a Senior Reactor Operator by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, serving in that post for three years until completing his Master’s degree. He then joined Lockheed Martin Advanced Environmental Systems. He joined the Idaho Operations Office of the DOE in 1999.
Boston is the Deputy Manager Operations Support. Chief Operating Officer of the Idaho Operations Office of the US Department of Energy. His office has oversight of the operations of the Idaho National Laboratory. Mr. Boston has had a career covering 18 years with the Department of Energy’s Idaho Operations Office, nine of which as the Team Leader for the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) Complex. He currently has oversight on work to restart the TREAT Reactor.
Mr. Boston is licensed as both a Professional Engineer (Nuclear) and Certified Heath Physicist and one of very few in the nation with this dual certification. He has maintained a close connection to ISU as a member of ISU’s Nuclear Engineering program and Reactor Safety Committee, performing annual audits, giving instructional lectures and seminars on many occasions. He served on the Engineering Advisory Board and the ISU Health Physics Advisory Board and was selected as the Outstanding Engineer for the ISU Engineering program in 2015.
Gary Long - Professional Achievement Award, College of Science & Engineering-Natural and Physical Sciences
Born in Twin Falls and graduating in 1968 from Hansen High School, Gary attended ISU but traveled home by bus each spring to plant crops on a farm he leased near his family farm, until he was hired by JR Simplot as an analytical lab technician in 1970. He worked nights at this job and attended ISU during the day. He obtained his BS in Chemistry in 1973 and was hired as a research chemist at the Simplot Pocatello phosphate manufacturing facility. During the next ten years, Gary was the co-inventor of four patents, one which remains the standard process for making phosphate animal feed. In 1981, he became production supervisor at the Pocatello plant and in 1985 became the production supervisor over Simplot’s ammonia and nitric acid production facilities in Brandon Manitoba Canada. He returned to Idaho, served as Director of Research and Development, Production Superintendent for the Don Plant, Vice-President of Wholesale Marketing, Vice-President of Manufacturing until taking early retirement in 2000.
Gary returned to ISU to obtain his teaching certificate in chemistry, physics, and math which resulted in a position teaching at Idaho Falls High School. He found these three years to be the most rewarding of his adult life, reflecting on his own high school teacher, Mrs. Rand and the impact she had on his career. In 2008, Gary started (again) on his Master’s degree in Chemistry and completed it in 2008. He was (again) hired by Simplot as a consultant and was also an adjunct professor at ISU teaching Chemistry. Teaching continues to be personally rewarding to Gary when he sees students succeed by putting the pieces of chemistry knowledge together into a more complete understanding of the science. Gary and his wife Kristi have three grown daughters and one in junior high school. They enjoy water and snow skiing, golf, boating, and traveling.
2017 Outstanding Student Awards
Andrew Kaler - Outstanding Student Award, College of Science & Engineering- Engineering
Andrew Kaler came to ISU from Camas, Washington, after being recruited for the ISU track and field and cross country programs. Kaler was the recipient of the Samuel H. Bennion Honors Scholarship, Bob Thompson Memorial Engineering Scholarship, Freshman Leadership Scholarship, and the Jay W. Glasmann Scholarship. During his collegiate career as an honors program student and a student athlete, Kaler has been named Big Sky All-Conference Scholar Athlete four times and has been on the Dean’s list every semester of his four years at ISU. He has a 4.0 GPA and will graduate in May with his degree in electrical engineering and mathematics. He will continue his education in the graduate program at ISU this coming fall.
Pamela Ropski - Outstanding Student Award, College of Science & Engineering - Natural and Physical Sciences
Pamela S. Ropski graduated from Centennial High School in Meridian and came to ISU in 2013. She has received the Freshman 4-Year Scholarship, the Samuel H. Bennion Honors Scholarship, Idaho Promise, Freshman Leadership Scholarship, Honors Housing, ASISU Scholarship, and the Douglas and Joy Heiner Pre-Medical Scholarship. During her collegiate career she has been a member of the Chemistry Club, Pre-Health Professions Association, University Honors Program Club, Research for Chemistry Department and a cross country athlete from 2013-2015. She was recognized as the Biochemistry Student of the Year in 2015-16 by the American Chemical Society and awarded the Idaho State Board of Education Research Funding and the University Honors Program Research Funding. Pamela will graduate in May with her Honors Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and has a GPA of 3.75. She will attend the University of Utah – School of Medicine next fall to begin her medical education.