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Donna has spent her career at James Madison University juggling everything from freshman chemistry classes and lab equipment to research on the synthesis of crown ether-containing transition metal complexes. Early on, Donna demonstrated her talents in teaching and organization when she became the coordinator of the chemistry department's part-time faculty. She eventually rose to a full-time faculty position and has served as head of the chemistry department for a decade. In 1997, JMU presented her with the Distinguished Teacher Award for the College of Science and Mathematics. As a major player in a growing university, Donna still finds time to conduct her own research focused on organometallic synthesis. Through the years this dedicated professor has managed multiple challenges -- the growth of the department and JMU, the evolution of technology and the increased demand for classes. Although she's been repeatedly cited for her outstanding leadership, she's most proud of her students. Her exemplary mentorship led the parents of one of her students to establish the Donna S. Amenta Award in chemistry in recognition of her efforts.
"I've seen hundreds of students come in as eager freshmen and leave as polished graduates. I'm proud that JMU provides our students with an unparalleled undergraduate experience that allows our alumni to use their degrees in a wide variety of ways to improve the world."