Dr. Heather Bullen, 35, ended her brave and brief battle with cancer on July 11, 2012. Wife of Dr. Brad Sieve (married May 2004), mother of Vonn Sieve (20 months), sister of Bob Bullen, sister-in-law of Gerald Karpo and daughter of Cecelia and Dr. James Bullen, Heather was an inspiration to all who encountered her.
An Alpena, Mich. native, Heather was a 4.0 student at Alpena High School and went on to earn her B.A. in Chemistry from Albion College graduating magna cum laude, where she was an active and beloved member of the Kappa Delta sorority. After earning her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 2002 followed by a postdoctoral engagement at Iowa State University’s Ames Laboratory-Department of Energy, Heather became an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Northern Kentucky University in 2004. There, she quickly gained a reputation as a rising star and earned early tenure. Colleagues and students alike marveled at her relentlessly optimistic attitude, focus and determination – qualities that endured and powered her through recent life events.
Among her numerous academic and research accomplishments, Heather was named “Most Outstanding Female Graduate Student” at MSU, was selected to review research grants for NASA, National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health, and spearheaded program grants for under-represented science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students, bringing in more than $3 million in grant money.
However, she’s perhaps most proud of the efforts of her student research teams, where she helped create a new generation of well-rounded, interesting and passionate professionals who firmly understood that science could, in fact, be wicked cool, with all of them going on to establish successful careers in related fields.
A lover of nearly every conceivable sport, Heather was a steadfast MSU Spartan, where she enjoyed donning green and white for early-morning tailgating, followed by cheering on her favorite team with her trademark squeal and thousand-watt smile. She also enjoyed figure skating, snowboarding and science fiction — particularly the “Star Wars” trilogy. And now she’s rocking it out in a galaxy that’s actually not that far, far away from our hearts.
An informal celebration for Heather, “An Acknowledgement of Heather’s Awesomeness,” will be held on Northern Kentucky University’s Griffin Hall on Sunday, July 15 from 1-4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider sending any contributions to the NKU foundation, Dr. Heather Bullen Scholarship (send checks to: Northern Kentucky University; Advancement Services; Lucas Administrative Center 239; Nunn Drive; Highland Heights, KY 41099) or a tax-deductible donation in Heather’s honor to Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue Inc., 1117 Tulip St. Grand Ledge, MI 48837, or online here.