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Professor killed in Oklahoma was former KU doctoral student


Here's a piece of KU-related news that we'll present on its own, because it's quite sad.

A Northeastern State University professor found dead in Tahlequah, Okla., at the end of May was just four years removed from earning her doctorate from KU.

Tiffany Maher, 38, was an assistant professor of chemistry at NSU, and authorities say she was the victim of a homicide. She and four cats were found dead in her home after a fire that police say was arson. No arrests had been made in the case as of Friday.

Maher studied at KU for five years before earning her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2009, and the Tulsa World extensively quoted her dissertation supervisor, associate professor Mikhail Barybin, in a story on the aftermath:

"She was an extremely gifted teacher," he said. "I'd say she was probably a rare example of a graduate student who had equally impressive contributions in research, teaching and service to the community here in Lawrence.

"She was very well-liked by the departmental faculty, her peers, graduate and undergraduate students - and she taught many of them. She has been a great mentor to the undergraduate students."

The KU chemistry department will have a memorial service for Maher this weekend in Wescoe Hall, according to this note on its website.

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  • Comments

    friendlyjhawk 5 years ago

    For goodness sake, why is this important? Friends of this poor lady have been notified, whole group of people who read the LJW don't need to know.

    hedshrinker 5 years ago

    I'm so sorry you feel that way; people other than the immediate circle around Professor Maher are interested in learning of her passing and the apparently tragic circumstances. It sounds like she had a tremendous impact in her short life and was an inspiration to many. Does anyone know if there is a memorial fund in her honor, perhaps at KU or at Northeastern State where she was a professor? I would be interested in making a contribution.

    TalkSense 5 years ago

    Dr. Tiffany Maher received Northeastern State's "Circle of Excellence" award for teaching in April, the university's highest faculty honor. She said at the time: "I define learning as the process by which students integrate new information into their everyday lives and use new knowledge to adjust their understanding of past experiences and events. I teach to encourage life-long learning and appreciation of science. My primary goal as an instructor is to provide the base knowledge so that future experiences can be fundamentally understood. I also want to improve the communication of science among the general public and get more people interested in pursuing careers in sciences, particularly, chemistry." An inspiring statement from a young professor with KU ties whose life has ended tragically and too soon.

    verity 5 years ago

    Wonderful statement. Thanks for posting.

    Erin Graham 5 years ago

    hedshrinker- From my understanding, KU and NSU both are setting up scholarship funds in her name. I'm not certain where NSU is in their process of setting up a fund, but was informed that, for the moment, you can make a donation through KU Endowment to the Chemistry Department at KU and make a note of "In memoriam of Tiffany Maher". A formal fund is in process of being set up. If anyone else can provide additional insight, please add to this.

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