MORTON — A forensic scientist at the Illinois State Police's Morton Forensic Science Laboratory was named the scientist of the year on Tuesday.

Leo Schmitz, the ISP director, announced that Kevin L. Zeeb had garnered the top honors at a ceremony in Springfield.

"The courageous dedication to service displayed each and every day demonstrates the commitment the men and women of the ISP have in protecting the citizens of Illinois," Schmitz said. "I am proud to serve alongside every one of them."

Also named was the officer and the telecommunicator of the year.

Zeeb, who works in the DNA division of the Morton lab, was described as a person who "had distinguished himself within the forensic sciences command of the division of forensic services."

According to a news release, Zeeb taught classes last year for local sexual assault nurse examiners to increase their evidence collection skills and understand how that evidence is analyzed in the laboratory. He also delivered forensic science presentations to high schools and a senior community center. Within the ISP laboratory system, his calm manner, kindness and sense of humor helped co-workers maintain a positive attitude despite various challenges, and his drive to continually expand his knowledge in order to provide exceptional service to agencies inspired co-workers to do the same, the release said.