Dr. WellsDr. Kristen Wells was one of six faculty members who have been named inaugural Presidential Research Faculty Fellows at San Diego State University in recognition of their outstanding research, scholarship and creative endeavors. Each fellow received $25,000 to support their research activities. Dr. Kristen Wells was promoted to full professor in 2021.

“Each of these faculty are leaders in their fields,” said Hala Madanat, interim vice president for research and innovation. “This new award is an excellent way to recognize and reward some of our most competitive scholars, and shows the ongoing investment the university is making in the success of our faculty.”
The new program, jointly sponsored by the Division of Research and Innovation and the Division of Academic Affairs, will award the fellowships annually in association with promotion and tenure. 
“We really have strong faculty on our campuses, so it makes it very difficult to just pick a few,” Madanat said. “They went above and beyond the criteria, doing much more than that in the area of research and scholarship.”
Deans from each academic college nominated faculty members based on contributions to their discipline and the impact of their work on the public interest. Madanat and Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa reviewed all of the nominations and made recommendations to President Adela de la Torre, who made the final decision. 
“Faculty at SDSU have been engaging in world-class research for decades, and many have received significant external recognition for their work,” de la Torre said. “The introduction of the Presidential Research Faculty Fellows program is part of a more comprehensive strategy to recognize, support and celebrate our highly successful research faculty.” 
Wells and her team conduct multidisciplinary research aimed at breaking down barriers that restrict access to health care. She plans to use the funds to support pilot projects and research conducted by students. “For students to be able to work on various projects, sometimes that takes funding like this,” she said.
The 2022 Presidential Research Faculty Fellows will be recognized at their promotion and tenure dinners in early April.