Setliff and Wong Named Recipients of 2023 Chambliss Faculty Research Awards

Setliff presented awards on stage

(L to R): Dr. Carlson R. Chambliss, professor emeriti, physical sciences; Dr. Gregory Setliff, biology; Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, university president.

Wong presented awards on stage

(L to R): Dr. Carlson R. Chambliss, professor emeriti, physical sciences; Dr. Wing Hong Tony Wong, mathematics; Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, university president.

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Dr. Gregory Setliff, biology, and Dr. Wing Hong Tony Wong, mathematics, have been awarded Kutztown University's 2023 Chambliss Faculty Research Awards for their extraordinary research and scholarship endeavors. The awards were presented during the university's Faculty and Staff Convocation and Celebration Friday, Aug. 25.

Setliff began his career at KU in 2008 and currently serves as a professor in the Department of Biology. His primary entomological research focus is on the taxonomy, biodiversity and conservation of weevils, particularly from the Indo-Australian region of the world. He is an internationally recognized expert in the taxonomy of weevils and has discovered, described and named three new genera and 28 new species while at KU.

In addition to his expertise on weevils, Setliff temporarily shifted his focus to the spotted lanternfly when the invasive species was first detected in Berks County in 2014. Along with state and federal officials, Setliff played a key role in designing the state and national response to the spotted lanternfly. He then went on to organize the first international symposium of international, national and regional experts on the species and developed an 18-minute-long Penn State cooperative extension video on the spotted lanternfly host studies that he and students conducted at KU.

Starting in 2020, Setliff developed a collaborative initiative at KU through the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission to train 24 KU students to assess the extinction risk of threatened insects. Student assessors have since published seven species assessments on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (a.k.a., the endangered species list) in collaboration with field researchers in the Philippines, United States, Australia and Fiji.

Setliff actively involves students in important research experiences, leading to co-authorship on peer-reviewed publications, and has integrated research initiatives into his courses. Of his 25 total publications, KU students have co-authored on ten of them. Setliff’s ability to provide excellence, knowledge and professionalism in his endeavors has inspired students to pursue research and graduate work in the field of entomology.

Wong is a professor of mathematics and began his career at KU in 2013. His extraordinary research work has brought him, the Department of Mathematics and Kutztown University recognitions within the discrete mathematics community.

Since his career at KU began, Wong has received many accolades, including the John P. Schellenberg Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (Kutztown University), 40 Under Forty Award (Reading Eagle), Excellence in Teaching Award (National Society of Leadership and Success), Early Career Teaching Award (Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Section of the Mathematical Association of America) in addition to serving as Principal Investigator and Senior Personnel for multiple grants totaling more than $1 million.

Wong’s research career proves to be extensively impressive. Over the past five years, he published 21 publications in peer-reviewed research journals in five different fields including combinatorics, blockchain economy, game theory, graph theory and number theory. His most notable research piece is Covering systems with odd moduli as it received Editors’ Choice Award 2023 for being selected as one of the most outstanding papers published in Discrete Mathematics in 2022. Discrete Mathematics is a tier-one journal in combinatorics. Only 16 papers are selected each year out of 400+.

In addition to his outstanding research, Wong is actively involved in the mathematics community. He served as a co-chief organizer for a special session on Graph Theory at the 2018 Fall Eastern Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and co-organized 2015 PASSHE-Mathematics Association Conference. In addition, Wong has given numerous presentations at the local, national and international level.

The Chambliss Faculty Research Award, inaugurated in 2004 through a gift from Dr. Carlson R. Chambliss, professor emeriti of physical science, is meant to recognize the very highest achievement in research and scholarship and can be awarded only once within a person's career.