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Outstanding Faculty Awards

April Hill

Professor of Biology
University of Richmond

April Hill is a Professor of Biology at the University of Richmond, where she joined the faculty in 2004. She is an evolutionary developmental biologist who teaches at the introductory, mid-level and upper-level of the undergraduate science curriculum, and mentors a large number of undergraduates in research as members of her active laboratory. She is dedicated to helping increase the number of underserved and minority students in the sciences, and to improving the college Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics experiences for all students. To this end, she directs the Howard Hughes Medical Institute- funded University of Richmond Integrated Science Experience that engages students in interdisciplinary and inquiry-based science and math curricula and research.

Dr. Hill’s research program has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and she has published more than 40 peer-reviewed research articles, most with her undergraduate research students. Dr. Hill uses marine and freshwater sponges as model systems to ask questions about the genetics and development of the evolution of animal body plans and symbioses. Research in her lab focuses on the role of conserved developmental control genes and gene networks that originated prior to the advent of animal adaptations such as tissues and nervous systems.

Dr. Hill has been the recipient of several University of Richmond teaching awards including the Distinguished Educator Award, the Advisor Excellence Award, and the Outstanding Mentor Award. In addition to developing, teaching and continually revising her own set of innovative courses, she is also part of a national dialogue on undergraduate curricular reform driven by evidence-based teaching pedagogies. She was named by National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and Howard Hughes Medical Institute as a national Vision and Change Leadership Fellow of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education. Her roles with PULSE include NSF- and HHMI-funded projects to help life science departments in the Southeast region to catalyze curricular reform. Her contributions that support a collaborative and engaged learning community in science were recently featured in the journal Nature.

View Nomination Packet

April Hill


"I am dedicated to helping increase the number of underserved and minority students in the sciences, and to improving the college STEM experiences for all students."