Dr. Heather Hunt, Class of 2015, is a recipient of MU’s Kemper Teaching Award. 

Heather, an associate professor of biological, biomedical and chemical engineering, also is a strategic initiatives fellow in the UM System’s office of e-learning.

“Winner of the outstanding instructor award from graduating seniors in 2015, 2018 and 2019, as well as the 2015 College of Engineering Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, Hunt has been repeatedly recognized for her excellence by students and colleagues alike,” her MU biography states.

Heather is a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Missouri whose research and teaching focus is primarily materials science and engineering.  Heather received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University (2004), and lived abroad in Newcastle, Australia, during her junior year of college as part of a study-abroad program.  She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology (2007, 2009). She was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her doctoral work.

After graduating, Heather joined the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Southern California, as a Postdoctoral Scholar. She was awarded the 2010-2011 Women in Science and Engineering Merit Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research. In 2011, she joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Missouri.  Since joining, she was chosen as a University of Missouri Faculty Scholar, which recognizes her leadership and commitment to academic excellence in both research and teaching, and has been awarded the 2014 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.  She is also the faculty advisor for the Mizzou Women Mentoring Women program, a program for female engineering students. 

The Hunt Research Laboratory explores the interfaces among surface chemistry, structure, composition, and bulk physical properties of advanced materials for optics, electronics, and environmental applications. The lab’s focus is the development of new techniques and materials systems that allow tailoring, at the molecular level, of optoelectronic material properties. Using principles of rational design, and self-assembly, the lab designs and characterizes novel, nanostructured materials, such as zeolites, sol-gels, and mesoporous materials to create on-chip optical and electronic devices for environmental monitoring.  Heather is also involved with research in educational and clinical psychology at the University of Missouri, exploring the retention of Hispanic and female engineering students at 10 universities across the nation, based on social cognitive career theory.  Heather’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Missouri. 

Heather is married to Nick Thurwanger, CFA (Mr. Dr. Hunt, as her students know him), the Chief Investment Officer of Wealth Management and head of portfolio management at Landmark Bank, and they reside in Columbia, MO. They have one child, three cats, and one small horse (aka, Addy, their Newfoundland).  Her hobbies include biking, running, and scrapbooking.