Skip Navigation

Nuria Protopopescu Memorial Fund

The Nuria Protopopescu Memorial Fund was created in 2012 to honor Nuria Protopopescu, a PhD student at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. The fund supports the Protopopescu Memorial Teaching Award, given annually to a SoMAS Graduate Student based on demonstrated excellence in teaching, innovation and creativity in instructional plans and materials, and engagement with and dedication to their students.

Winners of the Protopopescu Memorial Teaching Award are listed on a plaque in the Endeavour Hall lobby.


Nuria Protopopescu obtained her B.Sc. in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences with distinction from McGill University in Montreal Canada in 2004. She came to Stony Brook University in 2005 as a PhD student in Marine Geochemistry. Her research involved development of a planar calcium sensor for use in marine environments. Her previous research experience included work as a Research Assistant at the Weed Science Laboratory, Department of Plant Sciences, McGill University, at the Southwest Fisheries Research Center in La Jolla CA, and at Stony Brook Hospital Department of Neuroscience.

Nuria Protopopescu 9/21/1982 - 5/13/2012

Nuria was a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher. She served as a volunteer instructor for Stony Brook’s WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) college and precollege programs and for seven years as an instructor and Teaching Assistant at the Stony Brook Department of Chemistry. Her creative instructional methods included a lab exercise where students made molecular models from gummy bears and toothpicks and an essay assignment to discuss the possibility of extraterrestrial life based on silicon instead of carbon.

Nuria’s numerous awards included the Brookhaven National Laboratory Brookhaven Science Associates Scholarship, the McGill University Gold Key Award for outstanding contributions to extracurricular activities, the Jeff Mills Memorial Scholarship and Sandra Letendre Memorial Prize, the Stony Brook University President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student, three National Science Foundation student scholarships to attend ACS Green Chemistry Conferences, and the W. Burghart Turner Dissertation Fellowship.

Nuria was a certified scuba diver, a talented jazz vocalist who performed with several area groups, and held a US Coast Guard Near-coastal OUPV Captain’s license. She was often involved in organizing SoMAS social events where her dance moves and party attire were both renowned. Her talent, energy, and enthusiasm eventually resulted in an office door nameplate reading “The Fabulous Nuria Protopopescu “.

Ways to Give

To donate online using MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover please click here.

Donations may also be made by check or money order payable to “Stony Brook Foundation”, with the notation “For Nuria Protopopescu fund” in the memo field, mailed to:

Nuria Protopopescu Fund
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences 
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook NY 11794-5000
Tel: 631-632-8009


The fund is supported by donations from friends and colleagues of Nuria, and by the “Fabulous Jazz Revue” Fundraising Concerts.

For more information, e-mail Thomas Wilson at

Winners of the Nuria Protopopescu Memorial Teaching Award

  • 2013 Marianne McNamara
  • 2014 Konstantine Rountos
  • 2015 Irvin Huang
  • 2016 Rebecca Kulp
  • 2017 Sabrina Geraci-Yee
  • 2018 Ryan Wallace
  • 2019 Sara Cernadas-Martin
  • 2020 Samantha Nyer
  • 2021 Madison Muehl