An afternoon gathering at Fisher Field celebrated standout faculty and staff as well as all employees’ efforts in a challenging school year.
Photos by Adam Atkinson
Lafayette’s annual year-end awards event took on a very different look today as faculty and staff gathered at Fisher Stadium to celebrate some of the outstanding work accomplished during an extraordinary school year.
President Alison Byerly gave opening remarks punctuated by a video expressing thanks for the valuable work of employees in every area of the College. Members of the president’s cabinet paid special tribute to Annette Diorio, vice president for campus life, for her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provost John Meier also gave brief remarks and noted that twice as many people would be honored since there was no awards event last year. The information below includes comments from the Provost’s Office on faculty and from the President’s Office on staff.
Joseph Johnson Hardy Award
This honors the five, or in the case of a tie, six members of the faculty who have achieved the longest continuous service, without regard to rank:
Carl R. and Ingeborg Beidleman Research Award
This recognizes a faculty member for outstanding applied research or scholarship. The recipients are Han Luo, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures, for her work in linguistics and language acquisition, and Lauren Myers, associate professor of psychology, for her work on electronic media and children.
“Han’s research focuses on applied linguistics, foreign language anxiety, and language pedagogy. Her monograph Particle Verbs in English: A Cognitive Linguistic Perspective appeared in 2019, and she has authored or co-authored over 20 articles in journals such as Journal of Technology and Chinese Language Teaching and Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics.”
“Specializing in the area of early human development, Lauren’s recent work focused on interactive electronic media and children and has been published in many excellent journals. This is an increasingly relevant topic, especially considering the last year (plus) of social distancing and the day-to-day remote life we’ve all endured. As her nominator says, ‘Working with young children is not easy. [Lauren] is an amazing scholar who deserves recognition.’”
Daniel H. Weiss Award for Leadership and Vision
This is presented to an individual or group of individuals who have demonstrated leadership and vision. One recipient is the 50th Anniversary of Coeducation Committee: Erwin Annulysse, Mary Armstrong, Dana Kellogg, Phil LaBella, Kaity McKittrick, Rachel Moeller (chair), Jennifer Rock, Jill Spotz, Melissa Starace, Elaine Stomber, and Stephen Wilson.
“This dedicated committee rose to the challenge and offered a variety of programs and initiatives to mark this historic moment for the College. The 50th Anniversary of Coeducation Committee exemplified the 2020 word of the year, ‘pivot,’ through its efforts to reimagine how we as a community acknowledged and celebrated this important Lafayette College milestone.”
The second recipient is Pards Against Sexual Assault, which demonstrated leadership through activities such as peer education and fundraising for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. “Members have shown vision and leadership by working with students and the administration to make the campus stronger in the support of survivors and increased advocacy for this critical issue.” A contribution to the organization will be made through the Weiss Award Fund.
Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lecture Awards
These are presented annually to faculty in recognition of their teaching and scholarship. Each recipient presents a lecture on their research during the upcoming academic year. The recipients are Zoe Boekelheide, associate professor of physics, and Trent Gaugler, associate professor of mathematics.
“Trent is a dynamic leader who has energized Lafayette’s statistics and data science programs. His passion and enthusiasm for statistics is contagious. He captivates any audience he has with his varied applications of statistics. With a focus on applied statistics, Trent’s interests span a wide range of fields: health, psychology, biology, and acoustics, to name a few. Trent can be counted on for consultations for statistical studies across campus and his ‘think like a statistician’ mindset is catching on across disciplines.”
“Zoe has been studying the magnetic properties of nanoparticles, particularly how they can be heated up by the application of oscillating magnetic fields. This research may have applications in biomedical research related to treatment of cancerous tumors while still maintaining the viability of surrounding healthy tissue.”
Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Award
This is presented to a member of the faculty judged by colleagues to be a superior teacher/scholar. The recipients are Karina Skvirsky, associate professor of art, and Derek Smith, associate professor of mathematics.
“The past two years have been breakthrough years for Karina. Her nominator says her work ‘uses personal narratives as a gateway to explore broader questions of place, identity, and nationhood,’ and she has recently had important solo exhibitions at galleries in New York, Lima, Madrid, and several other locations across the globe. She received the Anonymous Was A Woman award in recognition of her artistic accomplishments, originality, and potential, and was awarded a fellowship at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Brown University.
“Derek has published in multiple subfields in mathematics, all generally falling into the categories of algebra or geometry. He was co-PI for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant from the National Science Foundation and has over a dozen undergraduate co-authors on journal articles. He was also editor of the problem-solving column in Math Horizons. His is a lively and creative mind that, as his nominator notes, pursues ‘problems that he finds interesting, regardless of the field.’”
Gary A. Evans Administrative Prize
This is presented to an administrator or staff member who has provided a high level of service to the College, our alumni, or students over a substantial period of time. This year’s recipients are Amy Blythe and Scott Morse.
“For the past several years, Amy has been a fixture in our community, helping to move our career services office forward and more recentlykara supporting our parent constituency. This year, her work with our parents virtually provided them a level of comfort and responsiveness that kept our families engaged and supportive of all our efforts on campus.”
“Scott has been dedicated to advancing the mission of Lafayette College for decades. This year he played a critical role in supporting the College through the pandemic, working on all of our communications while simultaneously supporting the athletics strategic plan and spending his free moments as a Zoom host or editing a mountain of FAQs.”
B. Vincent Viscomi Engineering Prize for Excellence in Mentoring and Engineering
This is given to a member of the engineering faculty who has most exemplified outstanding mentoring and teaching. This year’s recipient is Julia Nicodemus, associate professor of engineering studies.
“The nomination team submitted a glowing account of Julia’s excellent student mentorship and her remarkable engagement in her fields of study. She truly embodies the integration of liberal arts and engineering on our campus. Here’s what some of her students have to say: ‘The unwavering support, mentoring, and guidance from Prof. Nicodemus was a key driver to my … success.’ ‘Prof. Nicodemus was an integral part of my ability to envision myself as a successful academic despite and in conjunction with my identities that are underrepresented in STEM.’ ‘Prof. Nicodemus has great expectations for the students she works with, but her support and guidance for them is even greater.’ It is clear that the impact of your mentorship of students will endure for years to come.”
Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award
This honor for excellence in teaching is selected from nominations received by a committee of previous recipients. The recipients are Alessandro Giovannelli, associate professor of philosophy, and Julie Smith, professor of economics.
“Alessandro studies aesthetics and the philosophy of art and has published a second edition of an edited volume, Aesthetics: The Key Thinkers. This book is a comprehensive discussion of key persons and periods from Plato to the present. His Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Film, and Philosophy of Literature courses are highly rated among students. Alessandro has served as adviser on numerous honors thesis projects and has a passion for teaching that goes well beyond the classroom.”
“Julie has created innovative assignments to engage student discussion on topics such as how to combat sexism and racism in the economics profession. Her essay assignments utilize podcast episodes from Macro Musings hosted by David Beckworth and movies that address various diverse economic themes. For instance, differential access to capital and resources, costs/benefits of acting white, and skin tone and economic opportunities, to name a few.”
Distinguished Service Award
This is presented to one or more employees from among the administration, support staff, or plant operations who have either maintained a record of sustained outstanding service or performed a specific service during the year that contributed to the College’s success. The recipients are Charles Bachman, Rochelle Crozier, Dawn Sisson, and Diane Mast.
Chuck’s nominator wrote, “Chuck instinctively knows what needs to get done. Reading each situation and all people involved with his sharp eye, quick wit, and massive reservoir of intelligence, Chuck is a force of old-school professionalism and new-school productivity.”
Rochelle’s nominator wrote, “Rochelle is so competent and capable that she gladly plunges in to fix whatever needs fixing. She is a fountain of knowledge and is generous with her time and expertise. She truly embodies the spirit of Cur Non.”
Diane’s nominator wrote, “As Lafayette’s #1 champion, and oftentimes the very person the College’s visitors meet, Diane is the ideal hostess for Lafayette. With her signature blend of grace, charm, intelligence, and empathy, Diane is beautifully earnest in her delivery of Lafayette’s first impression.”
Dawn’s nominator wrote, “Dawn’s work ethic and quality of work is outstanding, her accuracy and efficiency are frankly untouchable, but why I really feel she deserves the Distinguished Service Award is Dawn’s attitude, her willingness to help students, faculty, staff, outside customers, and everyone she comes in contact with.”
Delta Upsilon Distinguished Mentoring and Teaching Award
This recognizes faculty members for distinctive and extraordinary teaching through mentoring. The recipients are Khadijah Mitchell, assistant professor of biology, and Andrea Smith, professor of anthropology and sociology.
“Khadijah’s work as a mentor is as exceptional as her work as a scientist and serves as a great example for students of color hoping to work in STEM fields. Many of her students have gone on to prestigious programs and professional positions and continue to seek her guidance. With a Ph.D. in human genetics and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she was a valuable resource during the pandemic to state health office task forces as well as the Lafayette campus.”
“As an outstanding mentor and teacher, Andrea challenges her students and cultivates their potential. She has an extensive list of publications, committee service, and has been involved in various mentoring programs. She is also co-director of the Mellon Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium grant that focuses on large public events such as performances, writing workshops, and lectures. Andrea is truly devoted to the student experience at Lafayette and beyond.”
James P. Crawford Award
This honors a professor demonstrating a high standard of classroom instruction. The first award is shared by Allison Lewis and Ying “Joy” Zhou, assistant professors of mathematics.
“In 2019 they were inspired to apply for a grant to implement a mentoring program that matches female undergraduate students with female math alumnae. This program provides an avenue for students interested in the mathematics-economics major to test the waters before committing. This has been very successful, and students are grateful for this opportunity.”
The second Crawford Award recipient is the College’s librarians. “When the pandemic arose, they quickly transitioned library services to fully remote access. They added a live reference desk chat option to their website, books were available by mail or curbside pick-up, they acquired or scanned electronic versions of books and articles, and assisted with streaming options for films. The list goes on and on.”
Maroon Club Athletic Staff Achievement Award
This is awarded to a full-time Athletics Department staff member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the College and its athletics program. The recipient is Matt Bayly, director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer.
“In his 30th season as part of the Lafayette sports medicine team, he is responsible for overseeing the operation of the sports medicine offices and monitors all clearance concerns for student-athletes. He also coordinates care and coverage scheduling of athletic practices and competitions while serving as the primary athletic trainer for football. In 2020-21, Matt was instrumental in shaping Lafayette athletics’ health and safety protocols for COVID-19, helping to mitigate risks posed by the virus while also working to ensure a safe return to competition for Leopard student-athletes and coaches.”
James E. Lennertz Prize for Exceptional Teaching and Mentoring
The recipient is John Shaw, associate professor of psychology, for his decades mentoring students in research and his guidance offered to student groups as they navigated complex situations with fairness and equity.
“John is widely known by students and colleagues as an exceptional classroom instructor. He regularly supervises honors theses and independent students, often several in an academic year. His legal training is often put to use by the community in his role as faculty parliamentarian and as a formal or informal adviser to faculty committees and student groups working through complicated processes in a fair manner.”
Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award
The recipients are Mike Chejlava, Brittany Clouser, John Drummond, Xiaodong Fan, Jen Kohlmeier, Chris Nadovich, Jennie Pinho, Jessica Redding, Gail Salter, Scott Shelley, and John Wilson.
“In the spring of 2020 Lafayette had to pivot to remote instruction. In the fall of 2020 we were fully remote. And in spring of 2021 we had a mix of on-campus and remote instruction. In this context, the design, delivery, and support of meaningful laboratory sections that made it possible for students to meet the learning objectives of their classes was an exceptional example of distinguished and distinctive teaching. All of these individuals helped reimagine laboratory work over the past three semesters. They designed virtual methods, shipped out lamb brains, and found new ways to engage with our students no matter what COVID-19 guidelines were thrown their way. They define the innovative and bold spirit of our College’s namesake.”
Cyrus S. Fleck Jr. ’52 Administrator of the Year Prize
This recognizes outstanding contributions to the campus community. The recipients are registrar Kara Howe and Dr. Jeffery Goldstein, chief medical officer.
“Kara, you took up the role of registrar on March 1, 2020, right before the College had to begin responding to a global pandemic. As a result, you had to engage in work that a registrar would never want to do at a pace that would have been unimaginable.”
“One of Jeff’s many nominators wrote, ‘In a time of high anxiety for all of us, it brings me comfort to know that we have such a skilled and dedicated campus physician and health care team working so hard to keep us all safe. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without him.”
Mary Louise VanArtsdalen Prize
This recognizes scholarly achievement. The recipients are Megan Rothenberger ’02, associate professor of biology, and Neha Vora, associate professor of anthropology and sociology.
“Megan exemplifies the teacher-scholar model. She recently took up the immense task of completely overhauling an introductory biology course, developing, as her nominator says, ‘mountains of materials’ and then selflessly sharing all of her work with her colleagues in order to promote student learning. She regularly demonstrates her dedication to inclusive teaching in her courses, continuously updating materials and assignments and meeting with colleagues in preparation for fall 2020 to brainstorm and discuss various approaches to teaching remotely in order to teach in the most inclusive and equitable manner possible. Megan’s research laboratory has supported dozens of Lafayette students, many of whom presented their work at professional conferences or are co-authors on published articles in journals such as Restoration Ecology and Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.”
“Neha has published a very well-reviewed book, Teach for Arabia: American Universities, Liberalism, and Transnational Qatar, as well as co-authored a book, Beyond Exception: New Approaches to the Arabian Peninsula, and is working on a new book project in a new area of research. She is a prolific scholar with an ongoing record of published articles, book reviews, and public commentary. Neha also dedicates an extensive amount of her time as a Posse mentor and serves as chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee.”