Tino Nyawelo sites in front of the classroom of students from the Refugees Exploring the Foundations of Undergraduate Education in Science program.

Tino Nyawelo Receives Community Engaged Teaching Award


The University Teaching Committee has selected Tino Nyawelo, associate professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, to receive the Community Engaged Teaching and Scholarship Award (CES) for 2020. Last year, Nyawelo received the College of Science Award for Fostering Undergraduate Research Excellence.

“I want to give my sincere thanks for the award,” said Nyawelo. “Receiving this is a great honor, and I appreciate everything the U has done to help me in my professional growth. I’m also fortunate because the U supports a work environment that allows me to be creative and productive.”

The CES Award recognizes and rewards a University of Utah faculty member of any rank for high quality work that integrates teaching, research, and community engagement. Faculty teaching and research are carried out through long-tem, collaborative community engaged partnerships that address a community-identified need or priority.

Originally, from South Sudan, Nyawelo obtained a Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics and did postdoctoral work in Europe. He had been traveling back and forth to Utah to visit his wife (whose family had resettled in the state after fleeing the violence in South Sudan) when the U hired him to join the faculty in the physics department.

More than a decade ago, Nyawelo and others in the South Sudanese community became aware of refugee kids dropping out of school. With others, Nyawelo started an after-school program to help refugee kids with homework, expose them to math and science, and help them attend college. Today, in addition to his teaching duties, Nyawelo is the director of the Refugees Exploring the Foundations of Undergraduate Education in Science (REFUGES) program and director of diversity & recruitment at the Center for Science and Mathematics Education.

Nyawelo will be recognized at the U’s General Commencement ceremonies on April 30.