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2008 Faculty Award Winner Profiles

Profiles of 2008 Faculty Award Winners

Presented April 28, 2008 at the General Faculty Meeting

Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

Benjamin L. Hankin (Psychology)

Dr. Hankin earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, spent three years at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and joined USC in 2005. Dr. Hankin's research focuses on the development of depression among youth. His research is well-funded by the Canadian Institute of Health, NSF and the National Cancer Institute. He has written two books and has numerous publications. In the past five years, he has mentored approximately 50 students. More than 45 students have made presentations at national conferences, and 19 students have co-authored articles with Dr. Hankin.

Rekha C. Patel (Biological Sciences)

Dr. Patel received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Indian Institute of Science in 1987 and joined USC in 1998. Dr. Patel has an active research program that focuses on cell proliferation and programmed cell death. Dr. Patel's commitment to students has been strong throughout her time at USC. She was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award in 2003, the Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2004, and the Excellence in Teaching, USC Mortar Board Award in 2005-2006.


Ada B. Thomas Outstanding Faculty Advisor

Thomas L. Leatherman (Anthropology)

Tom Leatherman is a professor in the Department of Anthropology where he has taught for the past 20 years, and has served as department chair for the past 8 years. He currently sits on the executive boards of the Society for Medical Anthropology and of the American Anthropological Association. Professor Leatherman's research focuses on the relationships between social inequalities and health in Latin America. He has performed health and nutrition studies among rural producers in southern Peru and among Mayan communities in the Yucatan that have been affected by tourism-led development. His next project will examine the effects of the twenty-year Shining Path revolution on household livelihoods in the rural Andes.


Russell Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

Pradeep Talwani (Geological Sciences)

Dr. Talwani joined the Department of Geology in 1973. His outstanding contributions include two major areas of geology. The first is the distribution and origin of intraplate earthquakes in the eastern United States, including the 1886 earthquake in Charleston. The second is the character and mechanics of reservoir-induced seismicity. Pradeep Talwani has over 100 publications to his credit and was elected a fellow of the Geological Society of America. He was awarded the prestigious Jesuit Seismological Association Award for Observational Seismology from the Seismological Society of America.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Health Sciences

Marlene A. Wilson (Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience)

Dr. Wilson is professor and Interim Chair in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience in the School of Medicine. She joined the department in 1998. Her research involves the investigation of the neurochemical underpinnings of anxiety-related and seizure disorders. She focuses upon the role of neuropeptides and the amygdala in anxiety-related behaviors and the actions of anxiety-reducing treatments such as the alcohol, exercise, and anxiety-reducing drugs. She has a long and continuous record of NIH funding, numerous prestigious publications, and national recognition as a scholar.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Professional Schools

Kendall J. Roth (Moore School of Business)

Dr. Roth is professor and chair of the International Business Department and the director of the international business Ph.D. program. He has been on the USC faculty since 1986. Dr. Roth's research focuses on institutional and sociocultural approaches to understanding organization practices within multinational enterprises. His research also includes understanding cultural frameworks and behaviors within the multinational enterprise context. He has received the Alfred G. Smith Award for Excellence in Teaching and currently holds the J. Willis Cantey Chair of International Business and Economics.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

Edsel Pena (Statistics)

Dr. Pena joined the Department of Statistics in 2000. He is a world leader in statistical theory and methods in reliability, particularly nonparametric and semiparametric approaches. He is a master of the use of stochastic process theory in recurrent event analysis. He is active in interdisciplinary research and is leading the biometry core of USC's NIH COBRE grant for colon cancer. His research has been consistently funded by both National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Pena has approximately 60 published works in top quality journals. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and has been nominated for Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He has received numerous awards and honors including the Michael J. Mungo Graduate Teaching Award in 2007.


USC Educational Foundation Outstanding Service Award

Daniel L. Reger (Chemistry & Biochemistry)

Dr. Dan Reger has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for nearly thirty-six years and currently serves as department chair. He leads a well-funded research group that has produced 28 Ph.D graduates and 184 research papers in refereed journals. He has served on many departmental committees, college and university committees as well as serving in the Faculty Senate. He has successfully trained new faculty and graduate teaching assistants on how to be successful teachers in the classroom or laboratory setting and was a founding member of the university-wide program to prepare graduate teaching assistants to be effective teachers. He reviews internal and external research proposals and approximately 40 manuscripts a year for important journals in his field. He has organized a large symposium for the American Chemical Society and has been invited to participate in a National Science Foundation funded workshop "Women Equity in Chemistry".


Carolina Trustee Professorship in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Business Areas

Sandra Kelly (Psychology)

Dr. Kelly is a professor in the Department of Psychology and received a Ph.D. from McGill University in behavioral neuroscience. Dr. Kelly's research focuses on the effect of alcohol exposure during development on the central nervous system. Her research utilizes an animal model of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which exposes rats to alcohol during a period equivalent to all three trimesters in humans. Her research is funded by the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. Dr. Kelly has been the recipient of the 2006 Distinguished Undergraduate Mentor Award, the 2004 Russell Research Award for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the 2000 Michael J. Mungo Teaching Award, the 1999 Golden Key Faculty Award for Creative Integration of Research and Undergraduate Teaching, and the 1996 Mortar Board Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Carolina Trustee Professorship in the Health, Engineering, Medical and Science and Mathematics Areas)

Roger Sawyer (Biological Sciences)

Dr. Sawyer is a professor in Biological Sciences and Senior Associate Dean for Natural Science in the College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Sawyer is a developmental biologist who has established himself as a premier investigator in studying the mechanisms of interactions between epidermal and dermal tissues that regulate pattern formation and terminal differentiation. Dedicated to promoting science education at all levels in South Carolina, Professor Sawyer stands out as extraordinary and uniquely talented educator, who has brought both national recognition and significant federal resources to our university and our state to improve the quality of science education. Professor Sawyer has given extraordinary service to the university, serving on virtually every kind of university committee that significantly impacts academic progress and growth including faculty search committees, graduate education, tenure and promotion. He has chaired the Department of Biological Sciences and served as associate dean and interim dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. Now as the senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he is directing the largest and most successful faculty hiring initiative in the past thirty years.


Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Awards

Ken Shimizu (Chemistry & Biochemistry)

Ken Shimizu began at USC in 1997 and became an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2003. He teaches some of the large sections of organic chemistry, which he says is one of the most challenging courses that he teaches. His approach is to teach it using methods more commonly associated with teaching a foreign language. He says that molecules, like words, are abstractions, and he teaches students the rules for predicting their properties. In the advanced organic chemistry course he often gets perfect student evaluations. He has involved 23 undergraduate assistants and 8 high school students in his research laboratory. He has 13 publications with undergraduates as co-authors, and he offers a day-long experience for high school students six times a year.

Grigory Simin (Electrical Engineering)

Grigory Simin has been a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering since 1998. He has published four books on semiconductors for high-school and college students. The fact that modern electronics is complex and requires knowledge from multiple fields including physics, thermodynamics, chemistry, materials, and circuits, has informed his teaching. His teaching philosophy involves engaging students, gaining their confidence, getting them involved, using multiple means of delivery, gradually increasing the complexity of the material, and adding hands-on experience and practice. He introduced the "lab in class" approach for his classes and has modernized and redesigned crucial introductory electrical engineering courses.

Daniel Smith (English)

Daniel Smith has been a professor in the Department of English since 2004. His areas of specialization include rhetorical theory, pedagogy, rhetorical ethics and continental philosophy and theory. Both his teaching and research involves undergraduates in a community of learning. He tries to help students learn how to learn continuously without formal instruction and to help students understand how they are connected to culture and history. He has published numerous scholarly articles that deal with pedagogy. His current book project entitled Reinventing Rhetorical Culture: Teaching and the Ethics of Possibility focuses on pedagogy.

Stephen Stacncyk (Biological Sciences)

Stephen Stacncyk has been a professor in the Marine Science Program and the Department of Biology since 1975. He believes that teaching is an interactive process between instructor and student and is constantly searching for innovative ways to teach and to encourage independent thinking. Despite being a demanding teacher, he consistently receives some of the highest evaluations in both Marine Science and Biological Sciences. In 1976, he instituted the undergraduate research apprentice program in Marine Science and has produced a number of joint publications with his students.


Michael J. Mungo Graduate Teaching Award

Ralf Gothe (Physics and Astronomy)

Professor Gothe has been teaching since 1984, beginning his career at the University of Mainz in Germany and has taught and conducted research at MIT and the University of Bonn in Germany before coming to USC in 2002. Dr. Gothe is an internationally respected nuclear physicist. His National Science Foundation funded research explores the structure of nucleons trying to understand the origin of their masses. Dr. Gothe has truly excelled in all aspects of graduate education: teaching of core courses, creating and implementing new courses, designing a new graduate nuclear physics lab. He has distinguished himself in the USC Physics department by mentoring graduate and undergraduate students through their research projects and into the next stages of their careers. Dr. Gothe's student-centered teaching style has earned him a special reputation among students as "the" professor to have.


Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award

Recipient: Dr. Sanjib R. Mishra, (Physics)

Considered the highest honor for teaching at USC - Columbia, the Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award is given annually to a truly exceptional educator. A graduate of Columbia University with a PhD in Physics, Dr. Sanjib Mishra also holds degrees in both Mathematics and Philosophy. After eight years at Harvard University, he was enticed to join the faculty at the University of South Carolina in 2000 as a professor in High Energy Particle Physics. While his reputation in his area of research is substantial and he travels extensively to use national and international research facilities, it is evident that when he is on campus and teaching, whether it be a class of two hundred pre-medical students, or an upper-division class of five physics majors, he is totally invested in his teaching and devotes his full time and energy to the task at hand.


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