Michael Finkler, professor of physiology, received the honor for service to the Academy and to the advancement of science and science education in Indiana.
“It’s a fantastic honor, and I consider myself to be very lucky,” Finkler said. “The mission of the academy is to disseminate and promote scientific knowledge. I see it as part of enhancing scientific literacy in general. I would like for people to be more knowledgeable about science.”
The Indiana Academy of Science, founded in 1885, has named approximately 240 Fellows. Finkler is the third from IU Kokomo. Marcia Gillette, adjunct lecturer in chemistry, earned the honor in 2015, while Gary Dolph, professor emeritus of botany, was recognized in 1986.
Dean Christian Chauret called it a “prestigious recognition,” and said it increases IU Kokomo’s reputation in the state scientific community.
“Dr. Finkler has been very active with the Academy these past few years, and his great work and positive contributions enhance the profile of IU Kokomo as a great undergraduate institution in Indiana,” he said.
Finkler noted that several IU Kokomo faculty are also member of the Academy, utilizing its resources to enrich the educational experience for students in the School of Sciences.
As part of IU Kokomo’s Sophomore Sojourn, he invited students to attend the annual Indiana Academy of Science meeting.
“It helps them make the connection that what they do in our classrooms and labs contributes to the growth of scientific knowledge,” he said. “They learn that they can make a contribution. It exposes them to what kind of research is happening on other college campuses, and to people who share their interests.”
The son of a zoologist mother and an outdoorsman father, Finkler doesn’t recall a time he wasn’t interested in science.
“I remember being a first grader, thinking I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up,” he said. “They helped foster a love of the natural world.
He earned his undergraduate degree in biology and religion from Kalamazoo College, and his master’s and Ph.D. in zoology, with emphasis on physiology, from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
He joined the IU Kokomo faculty in 1998, and has taught classes including human physiology, comparative animal physiology, vertebrate biology, and natural history of dinosaurs. He also researches in animal physiology, particularly studying reptiles and amphibians.
He joined the Academy in 2004, and served as its president from 2012 to 2013. He currently is treasurer, and was zoology section chairperson.
The Indiana Academy of Science, founded in 1885, has a mission of promoting scientific research, encouraging communication and conversation among scientists, and improving education in science. It publishes a journal and books, and supports scientific research through grants.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.