Peru, Nebraska - During Peru State College's May commencement, alumni Joseph "Seph" Fauver received the 2021 Distinguished Service Award.

The Distinguished Service Award was established by the Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees. It authorizes each college to nominate a graduate or someone who has made significant contribution to the College or to an alumnus who has achieved distinction and recognition in his or her field. Recipients are nominated by the college president and approved by the NSCS Board of Trustees. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, Dr. Joseph Fauver applied his expertise in genomics and genomic epidemiology to protect communities by studying the transmission of the COVID-19. This expertise put him at the front lines of the efforts to fight the pandemic.

Fauver led testing efforts with players in the NBA Bubble to identify asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. He also worked with the National Football League to do real-time genomic epidemiology to track sources of spread within NFL teams. During the fall he advised journalists at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal regarding COVID-19. Through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control he is using genomic sequencing to investigate the evolution, emergence and spread of infections in communities. He is working with the state of Connecticut to test for the more transmissible new variants of COVID-19 emerging in the world.

Last summer, Fauver reached out to provide guidance as the College prepared for fall classes on campus. He continues to provide weekly guidance by phone and has helped direct resources to the most impactful practices to provide a safe environment for the campus community. His expertise was also critical in developing and implementing the College’s ongoing COVID-19 testing strategies.

Fauver earned his bachelor’s degree in Natural Science-Biochemistry from Peru State College and a Ph.D. in Medical Entomology and Arbovirology at Colorado State University.

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