The University of Wisconsin-Madison System Board of Regents named epidemiologist Dr. Malia Jones as one of three recipients of the 2021 Academic Staff Excellence Awards.
The award, which recognizes staff members and academic programs based on superior performance and creative, personable approaches to education, presents winners with a $7,500 cash prize. It is the highest honor the UW System can bestow upon their academic staff.
“It’s really genuinely been incredibly rewarding to feel like I have a contribution to make,” Jones said in an interview Wednesday.
Jones has been an associate scientist with the Applied Population Laboratory for six years, studying the intersections of infectious disease epidemiology and geography. Jones is also a co-founder, contributing writer, and editor-in-chief of Dear Pandemic, a website featuring the voices of interdisciplinary women who provide clear-eyed, scientific information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jones has frequently been featured in news outlets across the nation, addressing concerns such as K-12 students returning to classrooms and how social greetings have changed as a result of the pandemic. Her latest column with Dr. Christine Whelan characterizes this current moment as the “Pandexit,” the messy and often-confusing transition period as we enter the final phase of a pandemic.
“I’m really proud of the work that’s been done under very challenging circumstances and I hope it continues,” Jones said. “I hope [Dear Pandemic] is able to keep promoting public health and making evidence practical and accessible to people who need it.”
Other 2021 recipients include Kimberly Langolf, Director of Risk and Sponsored Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and Project Success, a UW-Oshkosh program specializing in assisting students with language-based disabilities.
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