Awards of Distinction

2021 Awards of Distinction

GRADUATE TEACHING AND MENTORING AWARDS

Desireé Vega, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, College of Education

Dr. Desireé Vega is an Associate Professor in the School Psychology program at the University of Arizona. She completed her BA in psychology at SUNY-Binghamton University and MA and Ph.D. in school psychology at The Ohio State University. Dr. Vega worked as a school psychologist for the Omaha Public Schools district for three years prior to beginning her faculty career at Texas State University. Her research, teaching, and service intersect to focus on advancing the academic outcomes of culturally and linguistically minoritized students and preparing future school psychologists and researchers to engage in advocacy and implement culturally responsive practices. Dr. Vega’s research focuses on three main areas: 1) identifying best practices in the training of bilingual school psychologists; 2) preparing culturally competent school psychologists; and 3) advancing the educational success of African American, Latinx, and emergent bilingual youth. She was most recently awarded the Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award from the Graduate College at the University of Arizona and the New Leader Award from The Ohio State University. Dr. Vega was also named an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education in 2017 and a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Fellow in 2019. 


Mary Carol Combs, Ph.D.
Professor, Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies, College Education

I began my career as an ESL teacher in Washington, DC. Because my teacher’s salary didn’t cover the bills, I went to work for a non-profit organization as a bilingual education policy analyst. That was my day job. I continued to teach at night and on the weekends (I was young and energetic!). At the non-profit, one of my responsibilities was to talk to federal legislators about the role of students’ first languages in their acquisition of English. This meant I had to explain theories of second language learning, a task I often struggled with, in part because I didn’t understand these theories well enough myself. This fact led me to the University of Arizona and a doctoral program in language, reading and culture. My plan was to return to DC, but I discovered that I loved teaching and working with students. Currently, I am a professor in the Department of Teaching, Language and Sociocultural Studies, in the College of Education. My research interests include language and education policy and law, language and migration, sociocultural theory, second language acquisition, and teacher preparation for immigrant, refugee, and citizen second language learners. My published work focuses on the intersection of issues and their implications for students, teachers, and schools. I am honored and humbled to have received one of the Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Awards, particularly because I was nominated by my students, who continue to inspire me. The award is especially meaningful, because of the challenging conditions brought about by the COVID pandemic. Last year, I often questioned my ability to teach and mentor effectively. This award reminds me again that working with students is incredibly fulfilling and brings me great joy. Thank you. 

THE MARGARET M. BRIEHL AND DENNIS T. RAY FIVE STAR FACULTY AWARD

Robert Stephan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Religious Studies and Classics, College of Humanities

Dr. Stephan is an archaeologist by training and has taught in the University of Arizona’s Department of Religious Studies and Classics since 2016. He hails from Cincinnati, OH but made the unpopular decision to attend the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies. While in the glorious land of maize and blue he studied Classical Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, and Near Eastern Studies. Upon completing his BA in 2005, he left the Midwest to take his talents to Stanford University's PhD program in Classics. His thesis took an archaeological perspective to look at how the Roman Empire affected economic growth in the Mediterranean world, and he earned his PhD in 2014. Rob's research interests focus on how the material remains of the past can inform us about the economic performance of pre-modern societies. His current project uses archaeological survey to look at southern Sicily from prehistory through the medieval period. Rob teaches courses on classical history and civilization, classical mythology, the reception of classics in the modern world, ancient sport and spectacle, and the Greco-Roman economy.

THE GERALD J. SWANSON PRIZE FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE

Paul Blowers, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering

Blowers is a University Distinguished Professor and Full Professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Arizona (UA). His research interests include pedagogically based instructional innovation, using quantum chemistry techniques to characterize the environmental footprint of chemicals before they are widely deployed for use, and life cycle assessments of technology and product choices. Blowers is on the leadership team of the American Association of Universities STEM efforts at UA, is chair of the College of Engineering Faculty Advisory Committee, is the UA Sustainability Office Faculty Engagement Fellow, faculty advisor for the Arizona Home Brew Club, Rube Goldberg Team, and Omega Chi Epsilon, the chemical engineering honor society. He has been the primary academic advisor for 280 students per year until 2015.


John Pollard, Ph.D.
Professor of Practice, The Honors College

Dr. John Pollard is the Associate Dean for Academics for the UA Honors College and a Professor of Practice in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona.  John is an award-winning educator who is the co-author of the nationally recognized Chemical Thinking curriculum and associated ebook.  In addition, John has authored a number of popular YouTube and TedEd videos centered around fundamental ideas in general chemistry.  He is an expert and advocate for evidence-based instructional practices and spearheaded the Collaborative Learning Space movement on campus where traditional spaces are transformed into classrooms that facilitate active learning.  John is a University of Arizona Faculty Fellow where he leads a program called Student Advocates for Improved Learning (SAIL) which is designed to educate students on the best practices of learning so that they can go out into campus community and share this knowledge with their peers.  Learning theories and practice are also at the center of John's research as he studies how metacognition, self-reported learning, and group interactions influence learning outcomes during active learning in Collaborative Learning Space environments. 


Ashley Jordan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice, Psychology, College of Science

Ashley C. Jordan is an Assistant Professor of Practice and Director of Online Programs for the Psychology department.  Her primary research interests revolve around the scholarship of teaching and learning in online contexts in Higher Education. Specifically, she is interested in how pedagogical practices and technologies can be used and incorporated in an online environment to enhance student engagement with the instructor, with peers, and with course material. Her ultimate goal is to increase student success: meaning better learning (evidenced through improved grades) and better retention (evidenced through graduation rates and time to degree). When she's not teaching undergraduate courses, she enjoys exploring new hiking trails and spending time with her nine-year-old twin daughters.


Robert Stephan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice, Department of Religious Studies and Classics, College of Humanities

Dr. Stephan is an archaeologist by training and has taught in the University of Arizona’s Department of Religious Studies and Classics since 2016. He hails from Cincinnati, OH but made the unpopular decision to attend the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies. While in the glorious land of maize and blue he studied Classical Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, and Near Eastern Studies. Upon completing his BA in 2005, he left the Midwest to take his talents to Stanford University's PhD program in Classics. His thesis took an archaeological perspective to look at how the Roman Empire affected economic growth in the Mediterranean world, and he earned his PhD in 2014. Rob's research interests focus on how the material remains of the past can inform us about the economic performance of pre-modern societies. His current project uses archaeological survey to look at southern Sicily from prehistory through the medieval period. Rob teaches courses on classical history and civilization, classical mythology, the reception of classics in the modern world, ancient sport and spectacle, and the Greco-Roman economy. 


Shawn Jackson
Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics, College of Science

After teaching in various universities and charter schools in Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, Shawn Jackson moved to Tucson in August of 2005. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Arizona. Shawn teaches 18 of the courses offered in the physics curriculum and teaches three different courses each semester. Shawn has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, Mexico and India. He is fluent in German. While a graduate student in physics at Washington University in St. Louis, he did research in astrophysics with Dr. Jonathan Katz. The impact of exceptional professors, especially Dr. Jack Cohn (University of Oklahoma) and Dr. Carl Bender (Washington University in St. Louis), inspired him to dedicate his career to teaching physics with an aim toward providing students with a solid foundation on which to pursue research in physics and to cultivate their own interests.

THE HENRY & PHYLLIS KOFFLER PRIZE

Vance T. Holliday, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Anthropology, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Vance Holliday is both an archaeologist and geologist who has spent much of his career reconstructing and interpreting the landscapes and environments in which past societies lived, and how these conditions evolved. Most of his geoarchaeological research has focused on Paleoindian archaeology on the Great Plains, in the Southwest, and in northwest Mexico, but also included Paleolithic sites in Russia and Ukraine. This research and interest culminated in his joining the UA faculty to direct the Argonaut Archaeological Research Fund (AARF), which is devoted to research on the geoarchaeology of the Paleoindian people of the Southwest. Since 2002 a professor in both the School of Anthropology and Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona, and Adjunct Professor in Geography & Regional Development. Honors include the "Rip" Rapp Archaeological Geology Award of the Geological Society of America, and the Kirk Bryan Award of the G.S.A., and the Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research from the Society for American Archaeology.

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA FOUNDATION LEICESTER & KATHRYN SHERRILL CREATIVE TEACHING AWARD

Tori Hidalgo, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science and College of Medicine-Tucson

Tori Hidalgo was born in Honolulu, Hawai’I and is now married with two beautiful daughters.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from The University of Washington. Upon earning her B.S., she moved to Tucson and completed her graduate studies at The University of Arizona. Despite having a deep interest in computational chemistry and synthesis, she developed a passion for teaching during her time working as a teaching assistant.  She eventually transitioned from graduate student to instructor, teaching general chemistry lectures starting in the fall of 2009 at The University of Arizona.  Initially teaching class sizes around 300 students she was asked to take on a large, 600-person lecture, in the fall of 2016.  

Tori’s focus has been on building a learning team to aide in, and out, of class with student support. This team has grown with pay-it-forward motivation and has created a student experience that fosters more than an understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts.  Through her team, she has been able take one of the most dreaded classes for many students and transformed it to an enjoyable and fun environment. Despite the large class size, students have described their experience as feeling like being in a small class due to the team dynamic.  Many have said they feel as though they are part of community, or a “family”, while enrolled in her class.

DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS AWARD

Lynn M. Carter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Planetary Sciences, College of Sciences

Dr. Carter’s research interests include volcanism and impact cratering on the terrestrial planets and Moon, surface properties of asteroids and outer Solar System moons, planetary analog field studies, climate change, and the development of radar remote sensing techniques. She is currently a a team member on five spacecraft instruments: SHARAD on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mini-RF on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, RIMFAX on Mars2020, REASON on the Europa flagship mission, and Shadowcam on Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter. She also uses Earth-based telescope radar observations to obtain polarimetric images of planets, the Moon and asteroids. Prior field studies using ground penetrating radar have included Kilauea lava flows and pyroclastics in Hawaii, Sunset crater and Meteor crater in Arizona, and permafrost sites near Bonanza Creek outside of Fairbanks Alaska. She is also part of a team at Goddard developing a polarimetric digital beamforming radar system for planetary or Earth orbiter missions.


Allison Gabriel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Management and Organizations, Eller College of Management

Dr. Gabriel’s research spans topics related to emotions, job demands and worker resources, motivation, and employee well-being. Dr. Gabriel is particularly interested in understanding these phenomena from a within-person perspective with an emphasis on event-level processes. Dr. Gabriel's research has been published in major outlets such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Journal of Vocational Behavior, among others, and has resulted in numerous presentations and chaired sessions at the Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology conferences. Her research has been featured by the Chicago Tribune, Economic Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Forbes. Her recent awards include the S. Rains Wallace Dissertation Award from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology for the best dissertation in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (2014), an Outstanding Reviewer Award from the Academy of Management Organizational Behavior division (2014, 2015), a Top Rated Poster Award from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2015), and the Paul E. Panek Endowed Scholarship in Psychology Research (2012).


Elisa Tomat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science and College of Medicine - Tucson

Elisa was born and raised in Italy, where she studied chemistry at the University of Trieste and graduated summa cum laude in 2001. In the fall of 2002, Elisa moved to the United States to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the research group of Professor Jonathan Sessler and worked on the coordination chemistry of pyrrole-based macrocyclic ligands known as expanded porphyrins. After graduating with a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in 2007, Elisa conducted postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the group of Professor Steve Lippard. Her work at MIT focused on the development of fluorescent sensors for the detection of biological zinc. Elisa joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona in 2010 and is now an Associate Professor. For her work as an academic scholar and educator, Elisa is the recipient of a 2015 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the 2016 University Award for Excellence in Campus Outreach for STEM Diversity, and the 2017 College of Science Innovation in Teaching Award. Elisa is currently the Donna B. Cosulich Faculty Fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

EARLY CAREER SCHOLARS AWARD

Jameson D. Lopez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Educational Policy Studies & Practice, College of Education

Jameson D. Lopez is an enrolled member of the Quechan tribe located in Fort Yuma, California. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. He studies Native American education using Indigenous statistics and has expertise in the limitations of collecting and applying quantitative results to Indigenous populations. From his early adolescence, he traveled to Native nations across the United States to encourage and recruit students to pursue higher educations. During this time, He observed many students succeed and fail to accomplish their postsecondary goals. Considering these experiences, and experiences in students affairs, he recognized contemporary mainstream postsecondary persistence theories diverged from his understandings of influences on Native American postsecondary persistence. As an Indigenous quantitative researcher with expertise in the limitations of collecting and applying quantitative results to Native American populations, he tends to examine research through tribal critical race theory which contends governmental policies toward Native American focus on the problematic goal of assimilation..


Antonio “Tom-Zé” Bacelar da Silva, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor, Center of Latin American Studies, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Antonio José Bacelar da Silva earned his Ph.D. in Linguistic and Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Arizona in December 2012. He also holds an M.A. in Second Language Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Before joining the Center for Latin America Studies at the University of Arizona, he was a CAPES (Brazil) Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow in the Graduate Studies in Language and Culture at the Universidade Federal da Bahia (Salvador, Brazil) from 2014-2016. During that period, he conducted ethnographic research on the impact of electoral campaigning with a race appeal on Afro-Brazilian voters in Salvador. Funded by CAPES and a Post-Ph.D. Wenner-Gren grant, this study focuses on Afro-Brazilians’ struggle to reconcile Brazil’s dominant ideology of race mixing, the obligations of liberal citizenship (to treat people as equal citizens), and government policies on affirmative action.

He is currently interested in the intersections of race, class, and citizenship on democratic participation in and beyond Brazil. His teaching and research interests also include social theory, qualitative research methods, language and culture, identity (race, gender, class), language ideology and inequality.


Lindsay Montgomery, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Anthropology, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Lindsay M. Montgomery is an anthropological archaeologist whose work seeks to create complex counter-histories focused on Indigenous persistence, resistance, and survivance in the North American West. Her work particularly focuses on the material and social histories of equestrian communities living in the Southwest and Great Plains from the 16th-20th centuries. Her research employs a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach, which brings together archaeological, archival, oral historical, and ethnographic sources to understand interethnic interactions among Indigenous Peoples and with European settlers. Her current research revolves around a collaborative research project with Picuris Pueblo in northern New Mexico. This work explores the evolving social and economic relationship between Picuris Pueblo, other Pueblo communities, the Jicarilla Apache, and Hispano settlers through an investigation of agricultural practices at the Pueblo between 1400-1750 CE.


Laura Condon, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Sciences

Laura Condon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. She received a BS in Environmental Engineering from Columbia University, and got her MS and PhD in Hydrologic Science and Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.  In addition to her academic experience, she worked as an engineering consultant (2008-2011) and as a hydrologist for the Bureua of Reclamation (2011-2015) working on water resources management issues in Colorado and across the Western US. Prior to joining the faculty at UA, Dr. Condon was an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University.  Dr. Condon is interested in large-scale water sustainability and the dynamic behavior of managed hydrologic systems in the context of past development and future climate change. Her work combines physically based numerical modeling with observations and statistical techniques to evaluate large systems using rigorous quantitative methods.


Stefano Bloch, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Geography and Development, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Stefano Bloch is a cultural geographer who conducts research on neighborhood change, gentrification, criminality/criminalization, policing, and identity with expertise in LA-based gangs, the history and theorization of graffiti as a socio-spatial practice, and the use of ethnographic and autoethnographic research methods. Dr. Bloch currently teaches Crime and the City, Cultural Geography, and Geographical Research Methods at the undergraduate level and History of Geographic Thought, Urban Geography, and Cultural Geography at the graduate level. Bloch is currently doing research on highly granular and nuanced contributions to displacement based on the effects of affective and aversive racism in the context of gentrification. Dr Bloch is faculty in the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory and affiliated with the Institute for LGBT Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies. Stefano Bloch is also a member of the Arizona Advisory Council for the National Geographic Society and serves on the college's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


Jessica Brown, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, College of Science

Jessica Brown, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, brings expertise in traumatic brain injury and AAC (Augmentative/Alternative Communication) when she joins our tenure-track faculty in August 2017. Dr. Brown received her MS and PhD from the University of Nebraska. Her research is focused on the development and validation of assessment and treatment protocols for individuals who have experienced traumatic brain injury. She also investigates augmentative and alternative communication strategies for individuals with significant communication impairments. As Assistant Professor, Dr. Brown teaches in her specialty areas of traumatic brain injury and augmentative and alternative communication.

 

OUTSTANDING POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLAR AWARD

Irene Shivaei, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory, College of Science

Irene Shivaei is a NASA Hubble fellow and a postdoctoral scholar in the Astronomy Department and at the Steward Observatory. She uses the largest telescopes on Earth and in space to study how distant galaxies were formed and have evolved throughout the history of the universe. She has more than 45 peer-reviewed articles and is a member of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) science team. JWST is the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope and is planned to launch in October 2021. Irene received her Ph.D. in Physics from University of California at Riverside, while she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. She completed her undergraduate in Physics at University of Tehran in Iran. Her passion in outreach and education has led her to initiate multiple public outreach programs throughout the years, such as Mentoring and Education in Science for Tucson (MESCIT). 

EXCELLENCE IN POSTDOCTORAL MENTORING AWARD

George Gehrels, Ph.D.
Professor, Geosciences, College of Science

George Gehrels grew up in Tucson and completed his BS in Geosciences here at the University of Arizona. He then completed a MS at the University of Southern California and PhD at Caltech, and was very fortunate to be able to return to the University of Arizona as an Assistant Professor in 1985. Research activities have focused on using geochronology to reconstruct the geologic evolution of many different regions of the world. This has been an exciting area of research given the nexus of technological advances that provide more precise and accurate information about the timing of events and processes in Earth history, breakthroughs in understanding how the Earth system works. Moreover, the research has affirmed the realization that predicting how our world will change in the future depends on understanding how it evolved in the past. Fundamental to making progress in these research endeavors have been the amazing students, post-docs, and faculty colleagues here in the Department of Geosciences. In terms of education, Dr. Gehrels especially enjoys teaching large sections of General Education courses, watching "the lights come on" as students begin to appreciate the beauty and complexity of our natural world.  


GRADUATE TEACHING AND MENTORING AWARDS

Ian L. Pepper, Ph.D.
Department of Environmental Science, WEST Center, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dr. Pepper is an environmental microbiologist whose research has focused on the fate and transport of pathogens in air, water, soils and municipal wastes. More recently, he has investigated the potential for real-time detection of contaminants in water distribution systems. Dr. Pepper is Professor in the Community, Environment, and Policy Department in the UA College of Public Health, as well as Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. In addition to his duties at the WEST Center, he is director of the National Science Foundation Water Quality Center at the UA. He also teaches a graduate
level laboratory class on Environmental Microbiology, and an undergraduate class on Pollution Science. He has co-authored numerous books and journal articles on Environmental Microbiology and Pollution Science, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Society of Agronomy, and the Soil Science Society of America. He received his Ph.D. in Soil Microbiology from The Ohio State University, M.S. in Soil Biochemistry from Ohio State, and B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Birmingham, Great Britain.


Melissa L. Tatum, J.D.
James E. Rogers College of Law

Professor Tatum specializes in tribal jurisdiction and tribal courts, as well as in issues relating to cultural property and sacred places. She was a contributing author to Felix Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law, and has written extensively about both civil and criminal procedural issues, as well as about the relationship between tribal, state, and federal courts. Professor Tatum consulted with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe as it became one of the first in the nation to implement VAWA 2013’s special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction. She has also served on task forces in Michigan and New Mexico charged with developing procedures to facilitate cross-jurisdictional enforcement of protection orders, and has taught seminars on domestic violence and protection orders throughout the United States for judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and victim advocates, including at the National Tribal Judicial Center. Between 1999 and 2006 she served as a judge on the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals. Professor Tatum joined the University of Arizona faculty in January 2009, after serving as a faculty member at the University of Tulsa for more than thirteen years.


THE MARGARET M. BRIEHL AND DENNIS T. RAY FIVE STAR FACULTY AWARD

Faten Ghosn, Ph.D.
School of Government and Public Policy, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Ghosn is an Associate Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy, as well as Director of Undergraduate Studies. She earned a BA and MA from American University in Beirut, followed by her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. Her research and teaching interests focus on the interaction of adversaries, be they conflictual or cooperative. In particular, she has been interested in how such actors handle their disagreements. A common theme running throughout her professional interests is the importance of the choice of strategy that is picked by the adversaries to manage their conflicts. Her work has been published in multiple journals.


THE GERALD G. SWANSON PRIZE FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE

Susan M. Knight
Journalism, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

After working for more than a decade as a journalist, Susan Knight began teaching her skills in research, reporting, writing, and critical thinking to students at the University of Arizona, where she became engaged in best practices in teaching. During her 25 years in the School of Journalism, Knight’s work has been crucial in the School’s curriculum design and assessment. She has created innovative partnerships in the community, including an apprenticeship at the Arizona Daily Star, where hundreds of students in the past 15 years have gained experience in a professional newsroom along with bylines. Knight has also mentored faculty on teaching and assessment, worked with students to form 10 clubs associated with professional journalism organizations and has taken students to Washington DC as part of her course “Inside the Beltway: Press, Politics, and Power in DC,” meeting with dozens of journalists and influencers, many of them Wildcat alumni. In her classes, Knight builds a learning community that encourages personal responsibility for learning as well as excitement for life-long learning.

Knight earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arizona in journalism, nearly 20 years apart. In 1986-87 she was a Kellogg Fellow in the University of Michigan’s Journalism Fellows Program, where she focused on the intersection of public policy-making and public affairs reporting. In 2019, Knight completed a Writer in Residence at Wellspring House, Ashland, Massachusetts, and a fellowship examining social media practices at C-SPAN in Washington D.C.


Lisa Rezende, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Science

Dr. Lisa Rezende is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona. Her work focuses primarily on implementing evidence-based learner-centered teaching practices in various settings, from large lecture courses to smaller workshops. She has worked in online education since 2008, developing and teaching 100% online asynchronous versions of several existing courses, helping other faculty adapt their courses to online modalities, and creating an online version of Introductory Biology Lab in 2017. This spring, she collaborated on a project looking at the effective use of learning assistants in online classes. She currently coordinates the online education program and Introductory Biology course in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. As a first-generation college graduate, Dr. Rezende seeks out opportunities to promote inclusive practices. She is a member of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Team for the Council for Undergraduate Research Transformation Project (CUR-TP), which focuses on identifying facilitators and barriers to undergraduate research and increasing scientific inquiry skills throughout the curriculum.

Throughout her career, she has worked on many aspects of public understanding of science, from formal biology education of UA students to informal STEM education in the community. She brings that experience to her 100% engagement course on STEM outreach, teaching undergraduate students how to communicate science to various audiences. Her students go into the community and practice their skills at local K-12 schools and events hosted by local organizations, including Southern Arizona Research, Science, and Engineering Foundation and the Children’s Museum Tucson. For the past decade, Dr. Rezende has also worked with national nonprofit cancer organizations to help create and assess patient-facing materials focusing on genetic testing and understanding media reports of cancer research. She currently serves on steering and advisory committees for several collaborative patient advocacy programs.


Robert A. Williams, Jr., J.D.
James E. Rogers College of Law

Robert A. Williams, Jr. is the Regents Professor, E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Chair of the University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program. Professor Williams received his B.A. from Loyola College (1977) and his J.D. from Harvard Law School (1980). He was named the first Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (2003-2004), having previously served there as Bennet Boskey Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of Law. He is the author of The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest (1990), which received the Gustavus Meyers Human Rights Center Award as one of the outstanding books published in 1990 on the subject of prejudice in the United States. He has also written Linking Arms Together: American Indian Treaty Visions of Law and Peace, 1600-1800 (1997) and Like a Loaded Weapon: The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights and the Legal History of Racism in America (2005). He is co-author of Federal Indian Law: Cases and Materials (6th ed., with David Getches, Charles Wilkinson, and Matthew Fletcher, 2011). His latest book is Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). The 2006 recipient of the University of Arizona Koffler Prize for Outstanding Accomplishments in Public Service, Professor Williams has received major grants and awards from the Soros Senior Justice Fellowship Program of the Open Society Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the National Institute of Justice. He has been interviewed by Bill Moyers and quoted on the front page of the New York Times.


THE HENRY & PHYLLIS KOFFLER PRIZE

G. Dirk Mateer, Ph.D.
Department of Economics, Eller College of Management

Dr. Mateer is a Senior Lecturer in Economics. He joined the Eller College of Management in 2014. In addition to teaching at Eller, he has also taught at the University of California-San Diego, the University of Kentucky, Penn State University, Grove City College and Florida State University. In 1991, he earned his PhD in Economics from Florida State University. His area of expertise is economic education.

His Principles of Economics course has helped more than 30,000 students understand and appreciate the core concepts in econ. Dirk’s use of pop culture is part of his signature teaching style. He’s collected many of the resources he uses in class to help you learn econ and have fun in the process.

 


UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA FOUNDATION LEICESTER & KATHRYN SHERRILL CREATIVE TEACHING AWARD

Joela M. Jacobs, Ph.D.
Department of German Studies, College of Humanities

Dr. Joela Jacobs is Assistant Professor of German Studies, and she is affiliated with the Institute of the Environment, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago, where she subsequently held a postdoctoral position as Humanities Teaching Scholar. Prior to coming to the US from Germany, she studied at the Universities of Bonn, St. Andrews, and the Freie Universität Berlin to receive her M.A. in German and English Philology.

Dr. Jacobs’ research focuses on 19th-21st century German literature and film, Animal Studies, Environmental Humanities, Jewish Studies, the History of Sexuality, and the History of Science. She has published articles on monstrosity, multilingualism, literary censorship, biopolitics, animal epistemology, zoopoetics, critical plant studies, cultural environmentalism, and contemporary German Jewish identity. She also founded the Literary and Cultural Plant Studies Network together with Isabel Kranz (Vienna) and the help of Dani Stuchel (Tucson).

Currently, she is working on a monograph that examines a preoccupation with non-human forms of life in the micro-genre of the literary grotesque (die Groteske) around 1900, which begins with Oskar Panizza’s neo-romantic work in the 1890s, becomes a central element of modernism with authors such as Hanns Heinz Ewers and Salomo Friedlaender, and culminates in Franz Kafka’s unique oeuvre. This genre creates a field of artistic experimentation that allows for the transgression of categories such as species, race, and gender by introducing a nonhuman perspective on sexual and linguistic normativity. The vegetal, animal, and marginalized human figures at the center of these grotesque texts challenge biopolitical measures of control through, for instance, their non-conformity with standard human language. This linguistic limitation is reinforced by the genre’s response to mechanisms of literary censorship, which resulted in new modes of expressing political dissent during modernity’s language crisis. One of these central strategies is the texts’ provocative use of grotesque humor vis-à-vis normative conceptions of what it means to be human, which also marks the genre’s distinct historical scope, as it perceptively critiques the rise of the New Human from 19th-century physiognomy to the wake of the Nazi rule.


DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS AWARD

Ali Behrangi, Ph.D.
Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Science

Dr. Behrangi is a University Distinguished Scholar and Associate Professor in the department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Science, a Joint Associate Professor in Civil Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and Geosciences. He joined the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona as an associate professor in January 2018. His doctoral work at the University of California, Irvine was on developing high-resolution precipitation products using satellite images and his postdoctoral work at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory ( JPL) was on analysis of cloud and precipitation products from multiple sensors. As a NASA JPL scientist (2012-2018) he was involved in several projects (as principal investigator or co-investigator) on various topics including precipitation retrieval, pathfinder for microwave sounding instrument, tropical cloud and precipitation, water and energy budget studies, GRACE based water storage anomaly, hydrologic modeling, extreme weather and climate studies, mission concept and proposal development, and using diverse data sets across multiple disciplines to quantify precipitation amount and distribution over cold regions. He co-led efforts for extending the application of the Atmospheric Infrared Sensor data to drought monitoring in support of the U.S. drought monitor. Current research within his group at the University of Arizona follows his previous interests and, given the recent project grants, will also include advancing the global precipitation climatology project in high latitudes using diverse data sets. He also contributes to the efforts in support of the Earth Dynamics Observatory goals at the University of Arizona, the international precipitation working group (IPWG), and WCRP/GEWEX weather and climate extreme grand challenges.


Kacey Ernst, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

Dr. Kacey C. Ernst joined the College of Public Health Department of Epidemiology in 2008 as an infectious disease epidemiologist. She holds faculty appointments in the Entomology and Insect Science GIDP, Arid Lands and Resources GIDP, and the Global Change GIDP, as well as in the Department of Geography and the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences. Her work broadly focuses on vector-borne diseases with a focus on defining emergence patterns as a result of climatic and other environmental changes and working with community partners to develop acceptable, sustainable solutions for preventing transmission.  Working with partners from the National Center for Atmospheric Research she has examined both the long-term projections for climatic change on disease patterns and how weather variability impacts seasonal transmission. She is involved in projects to develop early warning systems that can inform not only public health partners but also the general public. In 2013 she received the Woman of the Year award in Tucson for her work on malaria in Kenya. She has co-led efforts to examine how women can be better engaged in the response to vector-borne disease threats and to promote their leadership in prevention efforts. Her research has been recognized nationally and internationally. During the Zika pandemic she testified before Congress and has presented her work at the National Academy of Sciences. 

Dr. Ernst is also committed to bridging academic research with public engagement. She regularly engages in science communication and is a 2017 AAAS Public Engagement Fellow. She has an interest in using technology to provide information to the public and developed a mobile application to engage communities in dengue response. More recently she worked with partners at the University of Arizona to develop the AZCOVIDTXT project which provides updated COVID-19 prevention information to Arizonans.


Jonathan Sprinkle, Ph.D.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

Dr. Jonathan Sprinkle is the Litton Industries John M. Leonis Distinguished Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. In 2013 he received the NSF CAREER award, and in 2009, he received the UArizona’s Ed and Joan Biggers Faculty Support Grant for work in autonomous systems. His work has an emphasis for industry impact, and he was recognized with the UArizona “Catapult Award” by Tech Launch Arizona in 2014, and in 2012 his team won the NSF I-Corps Best Team award. His research interests and experience are in systems control and engineering, and he teaches courses ranging from systems modeling and control to mobile application development and software engineering.

Before coming to Arizona, Dr. Sprinkle was the co-Team Leader of the Sydney-Berkeley Driving Team, a collaborative entry into the DARPA Urban Challenge with partners Sydney University, University of Technology, Sydney, and National ICT Australia (NICTA). In 2004, he led a team from UC Berkeley which autonomously flew against an Air Force pilot in autonomous pursuit/evasion games in the Mojave Desert at Edwards Air Force Base (the UAV successfully targeted the human pilot). In his teaching career spanning Arizona, Berkeley, and Vanderbilt, he has taught or largely assisted in the graduate courses on hybrid systems, unmanned systems, and model-integrated computing. Dr. Sprinkle graduated with the Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, and with his MS in 2000. He graduated with his BSEE in cursu honorum, cum laude, from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, TN, in 1999, where he was the first graduate of the Computer Engineering program, and the first Electrical Engineering double major.

Dr. Ernst graduated from Lawrence University in 1997 with a BA in Chemistry and from the University of Michigan with an MPH (2001) and PhD (2006) in Epidemiology.


EARLY CAREER SCHOLARS AWARD

Ann Shivers-McNair, Ph.D.
Department of English, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Shivers-McNair is a faculty in the English Department and the Director of the Professional and Technical Writing Program. She studies writing, rhetoric, and design in professional and community contexts, like technology companies and makerspaces, as well as in academic classrooms and programs. Her book, Beyond the Makerspace: Making and Relational Rhetorics, is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press, and her work also appears in journals, edited collections, and conference proceedings. She has received national awards for her coauthored work, including the 2018 Society of Technical Communication Frank R. Smith Distinguished Article Award, and she is an associate editor of Technical Communication Quarterly. At the University of Arizona, she is the director of professional and technical writing in the English Department, affiliated faculty in the School of Information, and a co-organizer of UX@UA, a user experience professional community in Tucson, Arizona.


Vasiliki (Vicky) Karanikola, Ph.D.
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering

Dr. Karanikola is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. Prior to her assistant professor position at the ChEE UA, Dr. Vicky Karanikola was a postdoctoral fellow at the Chemical and Environmental Engineering department at Yale University. Dr. Karanikola has an interdisciplinary engineering background combining a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Technological Educational Institute of Central Macedonia, Greece an M.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering from San Diego State University (SDSU), and both M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering from the UA. Her Ph.D. research focused on off-grid water and wastewater treatment through hybrid thermal processes (Membrane Distillation) and Nanofiltration. During her postdoctoral appointment she focused on membrane material synthesis and modification for water and wastewater treatment.

Alongside with her academic career, she is very strongly involved with EWB (Engineers without Borders), an organization that works on engineering projects in developing communities. She served as the mentor of the UA chapter and is currently involved with the EWB-USA headquarters as the vice president of the EWB Mountain Region Steering Committee. Dr. Karanikola’s research work with marginalized communities at Tribal Nations was recently recognized with the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice Faculty fellowship.


Caleb Simmons, Ph.D.
Department of Religious Studies and Classics, College of Humanities

Dr. Caleb Simmons (Ph.D. in Religion, University of Florida) specializes in religion in South Asia, especially Hinduism. His research specialties span religion and state-formation in medieval and colonial India to contemporary transnational aspects of Hinduism. His book Devotional Sovereignty: Kingship and Religion in India (Oxford University Press, 2020), examines how the late early modern/early colonial court of Mysore reenvisioned notions of kingship, territory, and religion, especially its articulations through devotion. He is currently working on a second monograph, Singing the Goddess into Place: Folksongs, Myth, and Situated Knowledge in Mysore, India that examines popular local folksongs that tell the mythology of Mysore’s Chamundeshwari and her consort Nanjundeshwara. He also edited (with Moumita Sen and Hillary Rodrigues) and contributed to Nine Nights of the Goddess: The Navaratri Festival in South Asia (SUNY Press 2018) a collected volume that focuses on various aspects of the important festival of Navaratri. He also has publications and continuing research interests related to a broad range of contemporary topics, including ecological issues and sacred geography in India; South Asian diaspora communities; and material and popular cultures that arise as a result of globalization—especially South Asian religions as portrayed in comic books and graphic novels. He teaches courses on Hinduism, Indian religions, and method and theory of Religious Studies.


OUTSTANDING POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLAR AWARD

Rachel A. Neville, Ph.D.
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, College of Science

Rachel Neville is the Hanno Rund Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Mathematics. Her research is in topological data analysis, using the geometric structure of data to characterize complex patterns. She has been at the University of Arizona since 2017. She earned her Ph.D. from Colorado State University in mathematics. In addition to mathematics, Rachel is passionate about mentoring. This fall, with colleagues in the math department, she launched a Women in STEM Mentorship project that connects first-year STEM women with a small group of peers and an upper-class-women mentor. The project is designed to build a sense of belonging, self-efficacy, and resilience in the participants through close mentoring.


2020 Provost Awards of Distinction Program