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2013-2014 Excellence Award Winners

 University Level Winnerindicates University-level winner

Research

Karen Yagdjian, Ph.D.
Karen Yagdjian, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Mathematics
College of Science and Mathematics
  • Research monograph (Berlin, Germany); 3-textbooks, 60+ research articles in prestigious international journals; 50+ invited research presentations at national and international conferences
  • Awardee of international grants from the German Research Foundation; the Max-Planck-Gesselschaft, Germany; and Scuola Normale Superiore, CNR Italy
  • Visiting Professorships at Universities in Italy, Germany, Japan
  • Advisor for 2 PhD students
 
Yanrong Yvonne Chang, Ph.D.
Yanrong Yvonne Chang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Communications
College of Arts and Humanities
  • Has published 1 book, 21 peer-reviewed articles, 3 book chapters, and 38 conference papers
  • Research has been cited over 100 times by other scholars according to Communication and Mass Complete, which catalogs leading academic journals in Communication
  • Has won 1 Dissertation Award and 3 Top Paper Awards at national/international communication associations
 
Fuat Firat, Ph. D.
Fuat Firat, Ph. D.
Professor
Department of Marketing
College of Business Administration
  • Founder of the journal, Consumption, Markets & Culture
  • Founder of the Heretical Consumer Research Conference series
  • 2 books of mention:
    • Philosophical and Radical Thought in Marketing
    • Consuming People: From Political Economy to Theaters of Consumption
 
Michael Guerrero, Ph.D.
Michael Guerrero, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
College of Education
  • Principal Investigator, Curricular Assessment for Successful Student Outcomes (CASSO) funded by USDOE Office of English Language Acquisition (2007-2013)
  • Five CASSO-related national and international peer-reviewed articles and chapters
  • Development of CASSO online Spanish practice exam for EC-6 bilingual program
 
Dumitru Caruntun, Ph.D.
Dumitru Caruntu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • $1,500K grants as PI or Co-PI; PI & Director of the first Biomechanics Laboratory in South Texas
  • 300 citations on Google Scholar; 6 times in Science Direct Top 25 articles
  • 8 books; 130 peer reviewed articles (70 with students)
  • NSF reviewer; Associate Editor of 2 international journals and 2 international conferences
  • 2 ASME Keynote Lectures; 20+ invited seminars in USA and Europe
 
Yasar Tasnif, Ph.D.
Yasar Tasnif, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Pharmacy Program
College of Health Sciences and Human Services
  • Presenter, co-author and faculty mentor for presentations at international, national, state and local professional meetings involving both faculty, graduate and undergraduate students
  • Research areas include organ donation, transplantation, and the genetic basis of diabetes in Hispanics
  • “Dr. Tasnif has inspired a spirit of scholarship, inquisitiveness and accomplishment for both UTPA’s Cooperative Pharmacy Program, undergraduate and professional level students” -- Dr. Lydia Aguilera, Director
 

Service

Marie T. Mora, Ph.D.
Marie T. Mora, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Economics and Finance
College of Business Administration
  • Director, AEA Economics Mentoring Program
  • Member, Data Users Advisory Committee, US Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • President & Board Member, American Society of Hispanic Economists
  • Member, AEA Committee on Status of Minority Groups
  • Mentor, DITE Program
  • Meetings: White House, Federal Board of Governors, US Dept. of Labor, and others
 
Caroline Miles, Ph. D.
Caroline Miles, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Department of English
College of Arts and Humanities
  • Revitalized and now serves as Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program
  • Organizes and hosts campus events, such as The Clothesline Project, the Student Creative Works Competition and Exhibit, and other gender-related events, including the Men’s Leadership Conference
  • Works with broader community and schools on events, such as the Girl’s Self-Esteem Conference
  • Advisor for several student organizations, including the Feminist Club
 
Julie Pecina, Ph.D.
Julie Pecina
Lecturer
Department of Educational Psychology
College of Education
  • Advisor, Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC)
  • Volunteered and coordinated UG and SCEC volunteers for:
    • Special Olympics
    • My Options
    • Escuela Primaria Ford and Centro de Atencion Multiple (CAM), Mexico
    • Autism Awareness Month activities with McAllen ISD
    • Adopt-a-Class (Special Ed)
    • Can Achieve Maximum Potential (CAMP)
    • Friendship Dance (formerly VI Dance)
 
Norma Beardwood
Norma Beardwood
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics
College of Health Sciences and Human Services
  • Member, Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CPD) Advisory Board (2010-2014)
  • Chair, CPD Admissions Committee (2011-2014)
  • Program Director (2013-14) and Program Reviewer for the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) Programs
  • Member of 7 regional and national professional associations
  • Supervised/organized:
    • “Cooking 101” at WRSC (2012-14)
    • 17 health and wellness presentations at Region One (2013-14)
    • 1-day presentation at Region One’s CNP-STC Expo, South Padre Island (2011 & 2013)
 
Kristine Lowe, Ph. D.
Kristine Lowe, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
College of Science and Mathematics
  • Committee work includes Biology Search Committee Chair, Faculty Development Council Chair, UTeach Co-Director, NSF-ADVANCE program, and University Hearing Officer
  • Professional service as grant/manuscript reviewer, journal associate editor, and mentor
  • Designed and directed the South Texas Internships for the Development of Educators in Science (STRIDES) program, to allow local teachers to conduct research in summer
  • Member of the Texas Academy of Science, American Society for Microbiology, Society for the Advancement of Native American and Chicanos in Science (SACNAS), Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER), and the International Society for Microbial Ecology
 
Margaret Dorsey, Ph. D.
Margaret Dorsey, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Social and Behavioral Services
  • Curator, UTPA Border Studies Archive
    • Developed Rio Grande Valley Folklore Archive into the Border Studies Archive, which now holds six collections
  • Acquired over 100 oral histories for the BSA since 2010
  • National Endowment of the Humanities Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions grantee
  • Texas State Library and Archives Commission TexTreasures Grant grantee
 

Teaching

Victor Alvarado, Ph.D.
Victor Alvarado, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Educational Psychology
College of Education
  • SVMMUM BONVM Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, 1996
  • Dr. Arnulfo Martínez Award of Excellence, Outstanding Achievement in the Americas, 2001
 
Aje-ore Agbese, Ph.D.
Aje-ore Agbese, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Communication
College of Arts and Humanities
  • Director of the Graduate Certificate program and MAIS in Mexican American Studies; founding faculty of BA and minor in MAS
  • Develops innovative courses: “Topics in Border Studies,” a hybrid online course taught in collaboration with Kalamazoo College, Michigan which resulted in peer-reviewed journal article
  • Has mentored numerous undergraduate students, many of whom are admitted to prestigious MA and PhD programs
  • 97% excellent/good ratings in undergrad courses from 2008-2012, with many semesters averaging 98-100%
 
Jennifer Welbourne, Ph.D.
Jennifer Welbourne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Management
College of Business Administration
  • Strongly emphasizes active and collaborative learning to increase student engagement
  • Mentored undergraduate and graduate students on research projects resulting in journal submissions and presentations at top national conferences
  • Helped lead the development of an annual series of teaching workshops for faculty and doctoral students in COBA
 
Horacio Vasquez, Ph. D.
Horacio Vasquez, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • 2012 Outstanding Teaching Award, elected by students in the MECE Department
  • Directed several (13 in the past 5 years) UG senior design projects
  • Student Section Advisor (SSA) for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) student organization since 2005
  • Supervised 12 students in UG research projects as part of the Non-Confidential Texas Ignition Fund (TIF) grant (2009), NSF PREM grant (2010-present), CONTACT grant (2010-2011), and CCLI grants (2009-2013)
 
Frank Ambriz
Frank Ambriz
Clinical Associate Professor
Department of Physician Assistant
College of Health Sciences and Human Services
  • Transformed PA curriculum to reflect the paradigm shift in medical education, emphasizing  active learning with a team-based approach, integrated modules, and use of iPad technology
  • Founder of the Academy for Success, a summer enrichment program that prepares incoming students academically and teaches the critical thinking skills needed for success in the PA program
  • Students enjoy Ambriz's teaching style, which incorporates a clinical approach, concise and relevant key points, and clinical pearls that help students retain key concepts
 
Virgil Pierce, Ph. D.
Virgil Pierce, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics
College of Science and Mathematics
  • Extensive use of innovative, non-traditional teaching strategies
  • Use of technology as a demonstrative tool, and to deliver content and formative assessments to students
  • Externally funded activities aimed at improving curriculum and instruction, and at providing research experiences to undergraduate students
  • As Coordinator of Developmental Mathematics at UTPA, oversees transition of courses to emporium models and development of differentiated pathways for developmental mathematics
  • Construction of a wave tank, and other presentations, for discussing with students the applications of mathematics to other sciences
 
Servando Hinojosa, Ph.D.
Servando Hinojosa, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Makes classroom materials locally relevant for students, such as inviting students to integrate their family backgrounds into discussions of folk medicine in the Mexican American Folk Medicine course
  • Brings guest speakers, such as midwives, folk healers, conjunto musicians and other artists, to meet students and discuss their vocations
  • Numerous presentations at the International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS) in McAllen on various topics, including local "Day of the Dead" traditions and Maya culture
  • Facilitated presentations by several other anthropology faculty
 

Mentoring

Frederic Zaidan III, Ph.D.
Frederic Zaidan III, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
College of Science and Mathematics
    •Back-up advisor for the Biology department (20+ hours/week)
  • “At risk” Advising Program for majors with low GPAs (~300/1900 majors)
  • Holds monthly open meetings with majors
  • Mentors research students and new faculty
 
Shoney Flores
Shoney Flores
Lecturer
Department of English
College of Arts and Humanities
  • Recruited English majors and minors at the Major's Fair, UTPA Expo, Fall in Love With UTPA, and by visiting sophomore literature courses
  • Helped increase enrollment in 15 out of 18 upper-level English courses in danger of being closed
  • Maintains advising hours all semester, working with English majors and minors on course plans, career plans, potential for graduate school, and course challenges
  • Led workshops on teaching English majors how to navigate DegreeWorks
 
Arturo Vasquez, Ph.D.
Arturo Vasquez, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Marketing
College of Business Administration
  • Mentored undergraduate, master and doctoral students at UTPA
  • Guided undergraduate students into research and publications in journals
  • Coached doctoral students at UTPA and other institutions
  • Coached junior faculty at UTPA and other universities affiliated with the PhD Project, as well as universities abroad
 
 Ralph Carlson, Ph.D.
Ralph Carlson, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Educational Psychology
College of Education
One measure of a mentor’s impact on mentees is their success:
  • Ten graduate students are now professors of statistics and psychometric theory in the United States and Brazil
  • Five faculty members have externally funded grants
  • Twenty graduate students are in educational leadership positions in South Texas
  • Fifteen faculty members have peer-reviewed publications
 
 Fidencio Mercado
Fidencio Mercado
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Rehabilitative Services
College of Health Sciences and Human Services
  • Faculty Advisor for “new” student organization: Aspiring Substance Abuse Professionals (ASAP)
  • Advisor for over 150 Undergraduate Rehabilitation students
  • Advises and mentors students who strive to become Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors (LCDCs) after graduation
 
 Margaret Graham, Ph.D.
Margaret Graham, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Successful mentoring, developmental advising, and professionalization of students
  • Supervised undergraduate and graduate student research on health issues in the RGV
  • Developed Anthropology Community Internship course
  • Faculty-student research collaboration supported by URI Award
  • Mentor in UTPA Peer/Faculty Mentor Program