College names interim executive
A college in the region has selected an interim vice president for research who has an extensive background in international science research.
Western Michigan University’s Board of Trustees appointed Sherine Obare to the role effective Aug. 1.
Since December, Obare had been serving as associate vice president for research. She replaces Daniel Litynski, who has served as vice president for research since 2010 and is returning to the faculty in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Obare will serve in her temporary role, guiding the university’s research agenda for at least six months while WMU kicks off a national search for a permanent hire.
Her appointment was a joint decision between former WMU President John Dunn, who just retired, and Edward Montgomery, who became WMU’s ninth president Aug. 1.
“Obare brings to her new role a wealth of research experience and extraordinary success in the federal funding arena,” Dunn said. “She also has a strong administrative background and a deep commitment to mentoring the next generation of young researchers.
“Her leadership will allow our research initiatives to continue unabated while we fill this critical position for the long term.”
In 1998, Obare earned a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State University and in 2002 she completed a doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry at the University of South Carolina.
A tenured professor of chemistry who has been a WMU faculty member since 2004, Obare came to the university after completing a two-year Camille and Henry Dreyfus postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.
Before becoming associate vice president for research, Obare served for nearly two years as an interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She also held the positions of associate chair and graduate advisor for the chemistry department.
In her various positions at WMU, she has served as a mentor to postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students and high school and middle school students.
Obare has attracted more than $4.5 million in external funding for her work, which includes developing materials for the detection and remediation of biological and chemical pollutants and understanding the environmental and health hazards of emerging materials.
In 2013, she was named one of the top 25 women professors in the state by Online Schools Michigan.
She has received numerous national awards, including the American Competitiveness and Innovation Award from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Materials Research in 2010, the Lloyd Ferguson Young Investigator Award in 2010, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Young Observer Award in 2009 and the George Washington Carver Teaching Excellence Award in 2009.
She also received the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2006.
Western Michigan University, founded in 1903, serves more than 23,000 students from across the U.S. and 100 foreign countries.
The university offers more than 250 degree programs, including 32 at the doctoral level.
U.S. News & World Report has listed WMU as one of the nation's “best national universities” for 26 consecutive years.