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2011-2012 Excellence Award Winners

 

 University Level Winnerindicates University-level winner

Mentoring

Constantine Tarawneh, Ph.D.
Constantine Tarawneh, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Awarded six Outstanding Faculty Awards by the vote of the mechanical engineering students
  • Co-authored 15 papers with undergrad/grad students
  • Supervised and mentored 36 graduate and 48 undergraduate students actively involved in research related to his grants and contracts.
  • Mentored and graduated 12 Master’s students (with thesis), mentored 16 undergraduates through LSAMP and 9 students through University Scholars Bridge Program
 
Scott Gunn, Ph.D.
Scott Gunn, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Biology
College of Science and Math
  • Advises 1000+ pre-professional students in CSM
  • Advises and mentors 6 guaranteed entry programs in medicine and dentistry
  • Served as Chair of the Texas Association of Advisors of the Health Professions
  • Mentors in SLP, BRIDGE, HHMI, LSAMP and Guerra Honors Program
 
Stephanie Alvarez, Ph.D.
Stephanie Alvarez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Mexican American Studies
College of Arts and Humanities
  • In last 2 years, assisted 9 students in gaining acceptance into PhD programs and 4 to Master’s programs outside of UTPA:
    • Arizona State, UTSA, Texas Tech, San Jose State, Michigan State, and the Universities of Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, and Michigan
  • In the last 4 years, presented with over a dozen undergraduate students at more than 10 conferences, universities, and cultural institutions across the U.S.
 
 Paul Sale, Ph.D.
Paul Sale, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Educational Psychology
College of Education
  • Interim Chair, Education Psychology
  • Undergraduate and graduate student advisor
  • Peer observer
  • External reviewer for faculty dossiers
  • Doctoral student mentor
 
Ramon Guerra, Ph.D.
Ramon Guerra, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Assists students with their degree plans and academic progress
  • Helps students with future career opportunities in the field of Sociology
  • Provides students with information for continuing on to graduate school
  • Mentors graduate students in teaching introductory  Sociology
 
Belinda Rivas, Ph.D.
Belinda Rivas, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Department of Rehabilitation
College of Health Sciences and Human Services
  • Inspires and motives students with a positive attitude and by acting as a role model
  • Provides undergraduates, graduate students and alumni with support, guidance and resources for industry employment
  • Provides guidance and constructive feedback to students of all majors
  • Focuses on a student-centered approach, team spirit, enthusiasm and maintaining a strong work ethic
 
Linda Matthews, Ph.D.
Linda Matthews, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Management
College of Business Administration
  • Maintains a “student first” philosophy; relentlessly and fearlessly advocates for students
  • Streamlined departmental advising procedures so students could receive more timely, quality and complete advising
  • Served as Chair or member on several doctoral student dissertation committees
 

Research

Dr. Mircea Chipara
Mircea Chipara, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Physics and Geology
College of Science and Mathematics
  • Published 30+ papers in peer-reviewed and ranked journals since hired at UTPA (2006); papers cited 70+ times
  • Co-edited Proceedings of Materials Research Society and organized 3 scientific international events
  • Co-edited an issue of the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and special topic issue of Journal of Materials Research
  • Contributor to NSF and DoD grant proposals, resulting in awards over $1.5 million
 
Adriel Trott
Adriel Trott, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of History and Philosophy
College of Arts and Humanities
  • 5 articles published or accepted in 4 years at UTPA,
    • 1 in Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought, the premier journal for ancient Greek political thought.
  • Invited to present lectures across the country.
  • Actively involved with Mexican American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and the Religious Studies interdisciplinary programs on campus
 
Maria Elena Reyes
Maria Elena Reyes, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction College of Education
College of Education
  • Single author of 6 articles; co-author of 4 articles
  • 4 books and book chapters written
  • 15 national/international/state conference presentations
  • Awarded grants in excess of $1.5 million for work with Alaskan schools
 
Jerwen Jou
Jerwen Jou, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Psychology
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Research on false memory filled holes in research literature and contradicted commonly held beliefs
  • Several invited addresses at international institutions
  • Collaboration in neuroscience has produced 6 papers in cognitive neuroscience journals
  • Awarded 2 multiple-year NIH grants
 
Robert Schweller
Robert Schweller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering & Computer Science
  • Awarded $400,000 NSF Grant for “Explorations of Theoretical Models of Self-Assembly”
  • Publications have received 430 citations; 367 citations within the last 5 years
  • Collaborated with 50 distinct co-authors from 20 different universities and companies
  • Ongoing collaboration with MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Erik Demaine (MIT)
 
Hale Kaynak
Hale Kaynak, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Management
College of Business Administration
  • Publications have appeared in top 25 most requested papers in elite journals
  • Recognition:
    • Academicians: e.g., Invited as a plenary speaker by French and Brazilian Universities
    • Practitioners: e.g., 2011 Eaton Corporation Supplier Summit
  • Grants:
    • e.g., CAPES-UT Research Program
 

Service

Sandra Tijerina, Ph. D.
Sandra Tijerina, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Department of Clinical Lab Sciences
College of Health Sciences and Human Services
  • Faculty Senator 2009-2010/Executive Committee member 2010-2012
  • Chair College Council 2008-2009
  • Chair College Tenure and Promotion Committee 2010-2012
  • Chair College Student Grade Appeal Committee 2011-2012
  • Student Association for Clinical Laboratory Science Advisor 1992-2012
 
Lokenath Debnath, Ph.D.
Lokenath Debnath, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Mathematics
College of Science and Math
  • Former Chair of Mathematics; many departmental, college and university committees; UTPA Faculty Senate
  • Organized 8 NSF-CBMS research conferences at UTPA, University of Central Florida and East Carolina University;
  • Several international conferences at UTPA and other countries Served as tenure and promotion external reviewer; referees and reviewer for research journals, review journals, and grants
 
Jeffrey McQuillen, Ph.D.
Jeffrey McQuillen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Communications
College of Arts and Humanities
  • Department service includes: Acting Chair; Chair for Promotion and Tenure Committee; Member of Faculty Search and Travel Committees
  • University service in Faculty Senate, College Council, Graduate Council, University Admission Committee, as Supreme Justice for SGA, and as Secretary for the Athletic Council
  • Assisted in creation, administration, and execution of 2 certificate programs for the Graduate Program in Communication.
 
Robert Guinn, Ph. D.
Robert Guinn, Ph. D.
Professor
Department of Health and Kinesiology
College of Education
  • Department: Health Program Coordinator; Chair and Member on 5 Standing Committees; Chair and Member on 6 Search and Screen Committees; Peer Mentor, and more
  • College: Chair Tenure and Promotion Committee; Chair and Member of 6 Task Forces; Dean’s Search Committee; Member on 2 Grant Review Committees, among others
  • University: Academic Integrity Council; Faculty Research Council; Faculty Development Council
  • Region/State: Professional Association Nominating Committee for President-Elect and Vice President-Elect; Editorial Referee, Texas Association HPERD Journal
  • National: Grant Proposal Reviewer, American Alliance for HPERD; Research Consortium Program Reviewer, American Alliance for HPERD National Convention, among others
 
Miguel Diaz-Barriga, Ph. D.
Miguel Diaz-Barriga, Ph. D.
Professor
Department of Psychology and Anthropology
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Interim Chair of Sociology; Program Chair, 6th CSBS Research Conference; Co-Chair of Focus on Latina/o Student Retention and Success (FLRS) Group; Chair of the Border Studies Working Group); Member of Promotion and Tenure Committee
  • Director, Visual Studies Collection of the Border Studies Archive-UTPA; Co-organized exhibit on RGV Veterans for Grand Opening of Border Studies Archive.
  • President, Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists-American Anthropological Association.
 
Javier A. Kypuros, Ph.D.
Javier A. Kypuros, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Served on Faculty Senate, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, SACS Accreditation Steering Committee, AALT, College Council Chair, Search Committee Chair for new college Dean, Chair of the College Split Task Force
  • Advisor and/or instructor for TexPREP and PREP+, ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Camp, Upward Bound Math and Science Summer Camp, Region One Engineering Camp, Region One Teacher Workshop
  • Advisor for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native American in Science (SACNAS) and the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES)
 
Sibin Wu, Ph.D.
Sibin Wu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Management
College of Business Administration
  • Entrepreneurship Camp for local high school students
  • Bizfest (United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event) trainer and judge
  • Associate editor of WREMSD Journal
  • Scientific and program committee for a conference sponsored by Tsinghua and Oxford
 

Teaching

Cheryl Fielding, Ph.D.
Cheryl Fielding, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Educational Psychology
College of Education
  • Coordinator for Educational Diagnostician Program, and Practicum supervisor
  • Joint appointment between COE and CSBS; supervised Psychology practicum graduate students at Autism Treatment Center in San Antonio
  • Co-developed training app, Behavior Breakthroughs, for parents and caregivers of children with autism and other challenging behavior
 
Teresa P. Feria, Ph.D.
Teresa P. Feria, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
College of Science and Math
  • Advisor and committee member for many Master’s students from Central and South America, UTPA, and 2 PhD students in Mexico
  • Supervises 10-14 undergraduates per semester
  • Student evaluations average 95% good and excellent
  • Undergraduate and Graduate students have presented their research findings at national and international meetings
 
Ila M. McCracken, Ph.D.
Ila M. McCracken, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of English
College of Arts and Humanities
  • Received 2 URI grants, resulting in co-authored publication and student presentation at a conference
  • Mentored student through publication of her research project for Young Scholars in Writing
  • Developed a Researchers in Action Network Forum (RANF) for first-year writing students
  • Launched SPARK: A Guide to Surviving Reading, Writing, and Research at UTPA (journal of first-year writing for students, by students)
 
Jessica Lavariega-Monforti, Ph.D.
Jessica Lavariega-Monforti, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Uses team-based learning strategies to teach introductory and advanced courses
  • Invests in undergraduate research in and outside of the traditional classroom setting
  • Focuses on content and skill-building, while empowering students
  • Developed and/or carried out study abroad research enrichment programs with students
 
Rene Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Rene Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Rehabilitation
College of Health Science and Human Services
  • Supervised and evaluated Dept. of Rehabilitation Doctoral students
  • Presented at local, regional and national conferences
  • Trained local employers and rehabilitation professionals
  • Creative, innovative teaching methods with a focus on experiential learning and student collaboration
 
Sanjeev Kumar, Ph.D.
Sanjeev Kumar, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Electrical Engineering
College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Elected for Outstanding Teacher Award by students in Electrical Engineering department
  • Students’ evaluations over last 5 years: 98% good or excellent
  • Supervised MS thesis of 9 UTPA graduates; 1MS student at NC State; 1 PhD Student at UT Dallas
  • Contributed to securing over $1.5 million from National Science Foundation for Training and Research
 
Michael A. Abebe, Ph.D.
Michael A. Abebe, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Management
College of Business Administration
  • Developed several service-learning opportunities for undergraduates to work with RGV small businesses
  • Received 98% good and excellent instructor ratings from UTPA students
  • Developed and taught new Masters and Doctoral level courses, and mentored several Doctoral students