2012 Graduate Excellence Award winners
March 22, 2012Tweet
Danielle Gunraj – Cognitive Psychology
Taking advantage of every opportunity to improve her teaching skills, Danielle Gunraj has taught cognition, perception and research methods, and been a teaching assistant for cognition, industrial/organizational psychology, lab in general psychology, research methods and statistics. Her experience spans traditional, fully online and hybrid classes, and she has excelled in all, tailoring herself to fit the class needs. Using a variety of presentation methods and assignments, she presents material in a manner that is accessible to students, whether or not they are struggling with the material. Her nominators call her an accomplished lecturer who is adept in the classroom, knowledgeable of the material and has an impressive ability to communicate it.
Jun Guo – Management
Jun Guo has an ability to present difficult concepts to students with ease and clarity. She believes the most important thing a good teacher can do is create a positive learning environment, and she works hard to attain that. She teaches financial accounting and has also been a Chinese teaching assistant in the Languages Across the Curriculum Program. She uses many examples in her lectures that help students practice the formulas they are learning, and varies her teaching style. Students say that her slides are clear and well-structured and she is always helpful during office hours. One student writes that “Jun presents the material in an effective way so we can understand the basic concepts.” Her nominators add that she even excels at teaching non-accounting majors through her energetic, engaging style and her effective, but not easy, assignments and exams.
Angela Haas – History
Angela Haas teaches students how to teach themselves – helping them leave her classes more competent and confident in their own abilities to analyze and critique the world around them. She has been a teaching assistant and instructor of record for numerous courses on topics ranging from the Renaissance to religious wars, pre-modern Europe to foundations of America, sometimes teaching outside of her expertise. Her nominators write that she mastered the material through hard work, led exuberant discussions in interesting ways and guided her students through readings and primary source materials. Her students also praise her organization and preparation. One writes that “her syllabi are clear and chronological roadmaps of what a student can expect to learn during a course with her” and another notes that she “was always able to command the class while still making herself relatable to the students.”
Kristine Jennings – Comparative Literature
Kristine Jennings believes that “a simple but vital drive to question” lies at the heart of any learning experience. To foster that drive in her students, she invests care and intelligence, leading them to the all-important, if simple moment when they ask a vital question. She provides tips on how to read well, models of successful writing and clear and accessible, but demanding, guidelines for revision. Her nominators write that she “has a talent to teach students how to read literature creatively and in a thought-provoking way and to engage them at their very best.” Her assignments are always relevant to the readings and discussions, and students praise her for bringing the reading to life in class and sparking their interest. One writes that “she is able to see things in the readings that I would never be able to pull out on my own” and that she has given them the ability and confidence to analyze and actually enjoy the readings.
Marissa Schwalm – English, General Literature and Rhetoric
An exceptionally fine mentor who takes the initiative to help students in many ways, Marissa Schwalm sets high standards. Her students value those standards and her dedication, encouraging them in both literary analysis and creative writing, and working closely with them to help them succeed. She sums up her teaching style as staying current, utilizing technology and acting as a mentor. She focuses primarily on creating a flexible, student-centered writing classroom that addresses and adapts to students’ varying skill levels, abilities and learning styles. Her nominators write that she “brings immediate, intelligent focus to problematic issues both intellectual and managerial…her insights were breathtakingly sharp … and she acts with sprezzatura, the ability to make difficult tasks look graceful and effortless.”
Joseph Stanley – History
As someone who can and has taught a wide range of courses, Joseph Stanley works hard, thinks deeply and is well spoken in the classroom. His students praise him for making history come alive for them by actively employing visual materials and historical documents, and because he inspires them to think broadly and critically. They write that he is “always extremely prepared and enthusiastic about the material … has an easygoing quality that neither intimidates nor disarms” and is always willing to talk or meet outside of class to help. One student writes that he “has a way of inhabiting and animating a classroom through his physical presence and the clearness of his speech.” Colleagues add that his qualities as a teacher are manifest and manifold: “clarity, fairness – and, crucially, consistency in the application of these principles. He never leaves students in any doubt as to what a course requires of them.”
Paul Tanui – Chemistry
Paul Tanui has a talent for teaching and mentoring undergraduates in laboratory settings, providing opportunities for them to employ critical-thinking and problem-solving strategies that allow them to acquire lifelong-learning skills. He expertly handles the logistics of running lab courses, pays attention to students and their problems and uses his knowledge of experimental techniques, organic chemistry reactions and mechanisms in a way that guides students to success in the lab. His nominators write that he has also played a central role in development of an experimental, advanced organic laboratory course. His students write that he visits each student during lab to check on progress. He explains the labs “in a clear, understandable manner,” and when students encounter problems, he asks questions to guide them in the proper direction without giving away answers, challenging them to think for themselves.
Chad Clay – Political Science
Called a proven scholar with good ideas, excellent writing skills and state-of-the-art methodological skills by his nominators, Chad Clay focuses on human rights, civil unrest and economic development. He has presented at 20 conferences and is the co-author of several papers, including one forthcoming in the Journal of Politics. He is co-principal investigator for the Worker Rights in Law and Practice Data Project, finding determinants of, and gaps between, the protection of worker rights in law and practice. He also serves as senior research associate for the CIRI Human Rights Data Project, which relies heavily on his ideas, input and work to provide standards-based quantitative information on government respect for 15 internationally recognized human rights for 195 countries. It is used by scholars, students, policy makers and analysts around the world. His nominators call him a pioneer in “the use of spatial averaging methods to measure similarity, connectivity, and various other concepts in the study of human rights and political violence.”
Michael Delgado - Economics
Full of original ideas and general curiosity, Michael Delgado has an ultimate goal as an economist – to provide accurate and relevant policy assessments and suggestions that can contribute to efficient and effective pollution-reduction strategies and policies that help improve the standard of living in developing countries. He has a remarkable research and publication record, having authored or co-authored six papers, one already published, one forthcoming and the others under review. He has also made seven conference presentations and is a referee for the Bulletin of Economic Research, Empirical Economics. His nominators cite his writing skills, his appreciation for the importance of publishable research, and his ability to create new ideas, estimate the models and write papers with little assistance. They write that “he has set the bar for all our graduate students not only in terms of his overall performance in our program, but also in terms of his motivation and dedication to research and teaching.”
Mikhail Gofman – Computer Science
As co-author of 10 published papers in top venues on security and verification that have garnered more than 60 citations, Mikhail Gofman has clearly demonstrated his strengths in security and experimental systems research. His focus is on access control policy analysis, information flow security, virtualization security and wireless sensor network activity. Together with three colleagues, he has one patent pending. He is also the main developer of two tools – one for analyzing Administrative Role Based Access Control policies and another for achieving privacy-aware Virtual Machine checkpointing – and he has invested tremendous effort to improve their performance. His nominators say that his implementation efforts for both tools “are non-trivial, requiring considerable thought and perseverance.” They add that he is a “highly self-motivated, ambitious, and responsible person capable of grasping new concepts and ideas quickly and in depth.” He has worked tirelessly on challenging projects, never missing a project milestone and with his tremendous focus, “he simply flies.”
Mohammad Hamasha – Industrial and Systems Engineering
Mohammad Hamasha conducts research on electromechanical behavior of thin films on flexible substrates in solar photovoltaic applications, accelerated life tests and failure mechanism analysis. Currently working on a research project supported by the Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP), he has also worked on projects for Kodak and Orthogonal, Inc. The quality of his scholarly work is clearly reflected in his publications. To date, he has published five authored or co-authored articles, has four more accepted and several more submitted. He also has three invited papers, 10 conference papers presented at national and international conferences and an additional nine working journal papers in progress. His nominators write that his research plays an important role in solar photovoltaic applications at Binghamton University and will continue to help increase Binghamton’s visibility. Calling him a team leader who shows independence, responsibility and a sincere, cooperative spirit, they add that he embodies “exceptional study motivation, idea creativity, diligence and intelligence.”
Chanyu Hao – Leadership and Organizational Behavior
With an impressive research record including a publication in the highest-rated academic leadership journal – The Leadership Quarterly – and another under review by the highest-rated academic research methods journal in organizational behavior – Organizational Research Methods – Chanyu Hao has established herself as a model graduate student who is equally effective as a team leader or a team player. She has several additional papers under review and has made five conference presentations. She has incorporated concepts and methods from outside the fields of leadership and organizational behavior and also taken advantage of unique interdisciplinary opportunities to study complex systems and collective dynamics. “She is extremely bright, a gifted critical thinker and she works incredibly hard every single day,” according to her nominators, who add that she “is poised to make significant contributions” to her field. It is not simply the quantity of her work, but the quality of her work that impresses.
Steven Loscalzo – Computer Science
Steven Loscalzo’s research contributes to one of the holy grails in artificial intelligence: software agents that can learn to make decisions in complex, real-world environments. He works to turn raw information into usable knowledge in diverse fields such as computational biology and intelligent software agents. His nominators write that he is tackling one key challenge – the large number of input features that must be analyzed by domain experts or software agents. He has developed methods that reliably select relevant features for various domains and he has also built software that allows for paperless grading of assignments within the Department of Computer Science. Advancing to the pinnacle in his research field at an extraordinary pace, he has one refereed journal article under revision, six refereed conference papers and one technical report, serving as the lead author in most cases. He has also been a reviewer for five conferences and is called “one of the most creative, persistent and productive students” in the department.
Eileen Moore – Behavioral Neuroscience
Eileen Moore focuses on binge-like alcohol intake in an effort to better understand and affect the alarming effects of binge alcohol drinking, particularly during the critical neurodevelopmental period of adolescence. Her work will also shed light on the effects of adolescent alcohol use in adulthood. She has already turned four of her research projects into first-authored manuscripts, is co-author on another five and is author or co-author of 20 conference presentations. She received a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism predoctoral fellowship which is helping her complete a time-consuming and ambitious project that will be critical in determining whether genotype is an important risk factor contributing to adolescent alcohol drinking patterns. Described as “a critical thinker, extremely motivated and an excellent writer,” she has also excelled at training and mentoring undergraduates who see her as an excellent role model.
Naumih Noah - Chemistry
With an emphasis on motivation, maturity and diligence, Naumih Noah is already making substantial contributions in the areas of analytical and environmental chemistry. She has authored four peer-reviewed publications and co-authored another four, and she has made seven conference presentations. Her current research, based on the development of biosensors for monitoring pain and cancer biomarkers, is “pioneering” say her nominators, and has revealed new physical insights into the concepts of managing pain in the human body. She received a National Science Foundation award to travel to the University of Western Cape, South Africa for research. She is currently extending the application of her pain biosensors beyond detection to therapy and has discovered a better and faster method of synthesizing derivatives that has led to quantitative yields. The suite of biosensors she developed is being used by computer scientists and pain management clinicians “as a template to create a 3D dynamic multimodal spontaneous emotion database for the research community.”
Chunghoon Shin – Art History
A model of graduate productivity, Chunghoon Shin “possesses matchless critical acuity, distinctive strengths as a researcher, and also a well-developed sense of professionalism.” His work explores dialogues between art and politics, with a specific focus on the history of modern and contemporary art in East Asia. His dissertation is to write a history of the intersection between Korean visual art and the city of Seoul from the late 1960s to the present. Through a Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies Korea Grant, he conducted archival research in Seoul, examining documents, looking at work and interviewing artists and critics. He has three publications in Korean, one in English and two translations into Korean, as well as five lectures and conference papers presented Tokyo, Seoul and the United States. Called an ambitious thinker and a fastidious researcher with outstanding research skills by his nominators, he is doing cutting-edge research, using sophisticated methodology and making original contributions to knowledge.
Lindsey Stone – Clinical Psychology
With five published articles to her credit – three as first author – and four more submitted for publication, Lindsey Stone is working to understand why adolescence is such a turbulent developmental period that renders many teens, especially girls, vulnerable to depression. She serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for Cognitive Therapy and Research and the Journal of Adolescence, and has been lead author on eight of 14 presentations she has made in the United States and Canada. Awarded a National Service Research Award from the National Institute of Mental Health among other grants, she is seeking to build upon her earlier research and also provide a more fine-grained analysis of the effects of increased friendship intimacy and depression on adolescence. Her research is unique in its focus on adolescents’ broader peer networks. Her nominators say each of her studies builds upon the strengths of prior ones and she “has had to learn and even to develop new methods to gather and to analyze the data.”
Yuxuan Wang – Materials Science and Engineering
Yuxuan Wang has worked on the cutting-edge area of functional nanomaterials with unique properties and potential applications in bioimaging, transparent conductors and catalysts. He is currently focused on developing new wet-chemical synthesis methods and applied related techniques to obtain and characterize shape-controlled nanomaterials with various compositions and sizes. He has published seven articles and is first author on four of them. He has also made two conference presentations. A responsible and meticulous scholar, he has made significant contributions to several projects funded by the National Science Foundation, has developed a unique quantum dots synthesis strategy and successfully implemented the phase conversion. He is creative in designing and setting up experiments, and he systematically and safely studies the results. Called by his nominators “as hard working, dedicated and creative as a materials scientist can be,” he has successfully synthesized nanoparticles with different emission wavelengths and high quantum efficiency and his nominators praise his originality, productivity and independence.
Service and Outreach
Laura Collins – Translation Studies
Laura Collins spends countless hours in service to the University, the surrounding community and her discipline. Her list of on-campus service is extensive. She is currently graduate student representative to the Graduate Student Senate, the Graduate Council and the Employee Assistance Program Committee, and past president of the Translation Research and Instruction Program’s Graduate Student Organization. Beyond campus, she is an active board member and officer for the Art Mission Theater, successfully organizing a recent fundraiser that exceeded expectations. She also edits the newsletter for the influential Northeastern Modern Language Association. Volunteering is a lifetime habit for this self-labeled realist, who states her service reflects the knowledge, skills and abilities that have resulted from her graduate education. Her nominators write that “she personifies responsibility and outreach … is predictably generous with her time for tasks which need to be done … and is a spirited and insightful [Binghamton University] ambassador for the Southern Tier.”
Robert Congdon – Chemistry
Robert Congdon describes service as generosity, compassion and action, and he believes it is important to leave things better than when you found them. He has served the American Chemical Society as symposium chair, been a representative to the Graduate Program Committee, mentored undergraduate students conducting research in chemistry and served as president of the Graduate Chemistry Club, where he worked to make the club more inclusive. On campus he has advised large numbers of students, and in the community he has coordinated technical events for the regional Science and Chemistry Olympiads, been a National Lab Day volunteer in local elementary schools and coached swim teams for youngsters. His nominators write that he is “a people’s person and he is always reaching out to the undergraduates, his fellow graduate students and the community.” He also volunteered for weeks to help people deal with the aftermath of last September’s floods and “he inspires everyone around him with his dedication and caring.”
Donna Crossman – Clinical Psychology
Through her volunteer work, Donna Crossman has witnessed the effect that social support and feelings of self-efficacy can have to improve the quality of life for many. She ultimately wants to provide service and outreach to the mental health community and is working toward that goal through her many activities. On campus, she has been a member of the Psychology Graduate Student Organization, and a representative to the psychology clinical faculty and the Student Action Task Force. In the community, she has mentored high school students, participated in elementary school science fairs and serves as vice president of the Junior League of Binghamton. In fact, her nominators call her “one of the most active, dedicated and influential members of the Junior League” where she has chaired the Kids in the Kitchen program, as well as fundraising and nominating activities. They add that “she works hard, puts forth her best effort and does so every day without exception.”
Jared McShall – Clinical Psychology
For Jared McShall, service is not something that he does, but is a part of who he is. He believes that, to make a lasting impact, you must plant the seed of change through education at every stage of your development. He chooses to work toward improving the condition of the underserved and to empower individuals and communities to help themselves. As a consultant with the Harlem Children’s Zone college prep program, he helped children stay on track for success and also successfully nominated its president, Geoffrey Canada, to receive an honorary degree from Binghamton in December 2009. A frequent tutor and mentor to adolescents, as well as undergraduate students in the Educational Opportunity Program, he supervised honors theses and taught primary care physicians cultural competency skills. His nominators add that he also served on the search committee to select Binghamton University’s new president, “working through weekends, interviewing candidates and providing a voice for doctoral students in the selection process.”