College of Arts & Sciences Awards 2019

Illustration of an awards ceremony

We are excited to announce this year's honorees. The Celebration of Excellence is the College's opportunity to recognize the expertise, talent, and commitment of some of our most outstanding individuals in A&S.

Awards will be given at the Celebration of A&S Excellence on April 23 at 2pm in the Red Barn. There will be food, drink, and a drawing for some amazing prizes including free days off from Dean Leonard, UofL v. Virginia football tickets, Abbey Road on the River passes, a VIP booth at Play Louisville, FitBit prize pack from Get Healthy Now, passes from Louisville Bats, Actors Theatre, Uptown Art, and many more. In addition, the first 150 people through the door will receive a free drink coupon to Heine Brothers Coffee. (You must be present to win.)

So, please join us on the 23rd at 2 pm to congratulate these exceptional faculty and staff members. See you at the Red Barn!

 

Rhonda Buchanan
Classical and Modern Languages
Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity in the Humanities

Gerald B. Hammond
Chemistry
Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity in Basic and Applied Sciences

Laura Moyer
Political Science
Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity in Social Sciences

Xiang Zhang
Chemistry
Career Achievement in Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Frederick Luzzio
Chemistry
Service to the Profession

Lenore Hoyt
Chemistry
Distinguished Teaching Professor – Full Time

Karen Freberg
Communication
Teaching Innovation Award

Amanda Cunningham
Program Coordinator, Sr.
Psychological and Brain Sciences
Outstanding Performance Award

Chris Peveler
Tech Specialist, Sr.
Urban and Public Affairs/A&S Dean's Office
Outstanding Performance Award

Dwain Pruitt
Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Governance
Outstanding Performance Award

Hung Nguyen
Technology Consultant 1/Tier 1 Technical Support
English
Outstanding Performance Award

Janna Tajibaeva
Program Coordinator
Liberal Studies and the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society
Outstanding Performance Award

Taleia Willis
Unit Business Manager
Classical and Modern Languages, English, History, Humanities, and Philosophy
Outstanding Performance Award

Jason Gainous
Political Science
Outstanding Graduate Mentor

George Higgins
Criminal Justice
Outstanding Graduate Director

Farshid Ramezanipour
Chemistry
Outstanding Supervisor – Faculty

Kaila Story
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Pan-African Studies
Community Engagement Award – Faculty

Kelly Kinahan
Urban and Public Affairs
Community Engagement Award – Faculty

Karen Thompson
Criminal Justice
Community Engagement Award – Staff

Keith Lyle
Psychological and Brain Sciences
Diversity Award

Swagato Banerjee
Physics and Astronomy
Victor A. Olorunsola Award

Rhonda Buchanan

Rhonda Buchanan

Classical and Modern Languages

Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity in the Humanities

In her 35 years at the University of Louisville, Professor Rhonda Buchanan has been remarkably consistent and impressive as a scholar, publishing 50 critical articles, giving 72 conference presentations, and delivering 48 invited talk or keynote addresses. In just the past five years, Professor Buchanan has translated three books (with another in press and one under construction), two journal articles, three translations in journals, and six translations within book chapters and excerpts.
 
Professor Buchanan is not only prolific, but her work has gained an international reputation for its impact within the field. Professor Gustavo Perez Firmat of Columbia University states “her articles, book chapters and edited volumes make up a formidable body of scholarship that has had a substantial impact on the way we read contemporary Latin American literature.”

Berkeley professor Carolyn Tipton refers to Buchanan’s scholarly and linguistic abilities as “creative gifts to recreate the original beauty and power of [a text] and the performative abilities to voice the text to audiences in a manner that truly brings it to life.”

In the words of department chair Alan Leidner, Professor Buchanan has “significantly improved the English-speaking world’s understanding of life in Latin America, particularly in regard to the challenges faced by Latin American women.”

Gerald B. Hammond

Gerald B. Hammond

Chemistry

Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity in Basic and Applied Sciences

“Unprecedented.” That’s how department chair Craig Grapperhaus describes Professor Hammond’s productivity. In the past five years, Professor Hammond has had 47 peer reviewed-publications (most with student co-authors), two book chapters, four U.S.  patents and four more pending, 21 invited seminars, 15 invited or plenary presentations, and 19 national or international oral and poster presentations. In addition, he has served as primary or senior investigator on more than $1.4 million in extramural grants and contracts since 2014. He was inducted into Peru’s National Academy of Science (2015), named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2017), awarded the ACS Distinguished Service Award in Fluorine Chemistry (2019), named a finalist for the U.S. State Department and National Academies Jefferson Science Fellow Program (2015), and appointed an expert for the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation Division (2014).

Professor Hammond’s research interests include the search for new synthetic methodologies in organofluorine chemistry, new approaches to catalysis, green chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and the study of biologically active natural products from Peruvian medicinal plants. One colleague describes him as having a “rare combination of talents and expertise in research” and an “impact on science and technology [that] extends over a  broad spectrum of disciplines.”

In addition to his prolific research endeavors, Professor Hammond is a staunch advocate for diversity. In 2013, he implemented the “Targeting Excellence: Hispanic Latino Student Initiative,” aimed at advancing opportunities for Hispanic-American students in Kentucky.

Laura Moyer

Laura Moyer

Political Science

Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity in Social Sciences

Professor Moyer’s reputation for scholarship among the political science community is truly stellar. When preparing materials for Professor Moyer’s nomination, department chair Jasmine Farrier states that upon reaching out to “exceptionally well-known and productive scholars in the field” for letters of support, “seven replied within a few hours… with an enthusiastic ‘yes.’” Her 2015 book Diversity Matters: Judicial Policymaking in the U.S. Courts of Appeals was repeatedly touted by fellow scholars as “required reading.” Professor Elliott Slotnick of Ohio State University calls it “the most thorough and convincing examination of the fundamental question” of whether diversity matters. Likewise, Professor John Szmer of UNC-Charlotte describes Diversity Matters as “the single best work on diversity and judging” and one of the “best works on the U.S. Court of  Appeals.”

In addition to her highly-regarded book, over the past five years Professor Moyer has published six peer-reviewed journal articles and four book chapters or invited submissions, delivered 17 academic presentations, and received a $122,709 National Science Foundation grant for the project “Collaborative Research: Judicial Diversity and Appellate Decision Making.” Fellow scholars also note Moyer’s professionalism and collegiality, with Professor Erin Kaheny of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee stating she is “incredibly encouraging and supportive of other researchers... academia is truly made better by scholars like Professor Moyer.”

Xiang Zhang

Xiang Zhang

Chemistry

Career Achievement in Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

With a dual appointment in Chemistry and the School of Medicine as a Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and serving as Director of the Center for Regulatory and Environmental Analytical Metabolomics, Prof. Zhang’s superior career achievements are best summarized by his colleague Prof. Richard Baldwin: “In my 40+ years on the faculty here at the University of Louisville, I have not had a colleague whose research resume compares to that of Professor Zhang.”

The nominating committee describes Prof. Zhang’s research output as “nothing short of extraordinary.” He has served as lead or co-author on 156 peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings, or book chapters; presented at more than 100 academic conferences; and delivered 80 invited talks; all while spearheading an “aggressive and successful pursuit of funding,” in the words of Department Chair Craig Grapperhaus. In total, Prof. Zhang has served as PI or Co-Investigator on external grants or contracts totaling more than $23.1 million, while serving in various other roles on additional grants of $22.5 million. Prof. Fred Regnier of Purdue University notes Zhang is able “to recognize where science is going, learn what it takes to work in these new areas, attract collaborators, and transition his laboratory into those fields.” Prof. Zhanxiang Zhou of UNC-Greensboro calls him “a remarkable and innovative scientist” who “possesses a great vision for multidisciplinary research.” In fact, Prof. Zhang’s research impact only appears to be rivaled by his stellar reputation for being “highly interactive and collaborative.” As noted by Prof. Craig McClain, Associate VP for Health Affairs/Research and Associate VP for Translational Research, Prof. Zhang is “a true University asset.”

Frederick Luzzio

Frederick Luzzio

Chemistry

Service to the Profession

The A&S Committee for the Distinguished Faculty Award for Service summarized Prof. Luzzio’s exemplary professional service as follows:

  • 8 years of leadership service to the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry (ISHC)
  • Lengthy and broad service to his Department, College and University, including service as a member of the Advisory Committee for UofL’s Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation Internal Grants Program
  • Extensive and continuing service to the profession as an editor and reviewer for prestigious journal and book publications in his professional area
  • Membership on Review Panels and Study Sections for national granting agencies
  • Leader and Chair of National meetings in his area of research

Prof. David Williams of Indiana University, who serves on the Executive Committee of the ISHC, states although Prof. Luzzio “is not paid for his service to our organization… his value to our organization and its members cannot be overstated.”  His service to the ISHC society “has made a significant impact on both his personal reputation in the world of international chemistry and to the visibility it brings to the University of Louisville,” writes Emory University Professor Albert Padwa, Senior Fellow and Former President of the ISHC. In addition, Department Chair Craig Grapperhaus describes Prof. Luzzio’s efforts towards procuring external and internal funding for academic research as “remarkable,” stating “the broader impacts of the travel support he has garnered for graduate students and post-docs as they build their professional careers is beyond measurement.”

Lenore Hoyt

Lenore Hoyt

Chemistry

Distinguished Teaching Professor – Full Time

Named a Faculty Favorite in 2008 and nominated in nine of 10 years since, Prof. Hoyt’s passion for teaching is undeniable, whether through her dedication to redesigning the curriculum of 100- and 200-level courses, the tireless pursuit of professional development training, or the demonstrable impact she has on her students. After completing over 150 hours of training at the Delphi Center in the past five years, Prof. Hoyt incorporated “active learning” methodology in her classroom – a particular challenge for courses that often enroll up to 200 students  – and developed an online version of CHEM 105 for Distance Ed students that included active learning homework components. Not one to keep her methods secret, Prof. Hoyt willingly shares her expertise in teaching techniques. In the words of Prof. Raymond Chastain of the Department of Physics and Astronomy: “In addition to how well she serves her students, Dr. Hoyt is also a wonderful resource for other faculty as they work to develop their own teaching.”

Students regard Prof. Hoyt as an engaging teacher and mentor, noting “she always goes out of her way to be a resource for her students and to help the in any way that she can. Her love for teaching (and chemistry) is shown through every lecture. She asks for feedback often, in an attempt to adjust her teaching for her students to make them as successful and comfortable as possible… Her passion is contagious, and she makes me want to do the absolute best I can. She is truly an inspiration.”

Hoyt’s success in engaging students can likely be linked directly to the following sentence from her statement of teaching philosophy: “Looking back over the list of criteria, I see love winding throughout as an implicit theme; it helps us think about the future, keeps us humble, keeps us motivated, gives us inspiration, helps us mentor our student as people and as learners.”

Karen Freberg

Karen Freberg

Communication

Teaching Innovation Award

Although Prof. Karen Freberg teaches multiple courses in the strategic communications concentration, she considers social media her area of expertise both in research and teaching.  The popular “Social Media and Mobile Technologies in Strategic Communications” course, which Prof. Freberg has taught for the past five years, is a testament to her knowledge of the topic and her dedication to “providing students with unprecedented access to innovative tools, experiences, and real-world experiences.”  

Real-world experience is exactly what COMM 510 students gained in Fall 2018 when they were charged with launching, managing, and creating public relations and social media content for the Breeders’ Cup. Divided in two teams, the students developed strategic approaches to covering the Breeders’ Cup Festival and World Championship and outlined recommendations for future Breeders’ Cup events. Beyond the knowledge of PR and social media practices, the course provided students with the ability to “show employers they have done this at a global scale already before graduating from the University of Louisville,” Freberg says. Adobe took notice of Freberg’s innovative approach, as well. The industry giant is currently creating a case study of this experience to share with other universities at the national and global level.

Amanda Cunningham

Amanda Cunningham

Program Coordinator, Sr.
Psychological and Brain Sciences

Outstanding Performance Award

Supervisor and Nominator Suzanne Meeks states:

Amanda's job duties changed substantially during the last two years while I was her primary supervisor as Chair of the Department.  She served as my executive assistant, supported several faculty governance committees, managed the course schedule with the Vice chair, and learned a host of new tasks related to HR, finance, travel, and more.  Her attitude to the major changes in her work flow, near constant confusion regarding who was doing what in the business office/Dean's office with respect to these financial tasks, and other frustrations related to the University's changing structures, was to greet each day and each person with a smile, develop excellent working relationships with everyone she worked with, and try her very best to accomplish whatever tasks were required.  She was the main barrier between 28 Department faculty and chaos (e.g., inappropriate expenditures, unpaid travel, botched employee on-boarding, etc.), and she held it all together. In a year of challenge and opportunities, Amanda has demonstrated how the proverbial "can do" attitude and positive outlook can motivate a whole team, get work done, and make everyone's lives easier. She thrived on the challenges, and made me smile every day. I admire and appreciate her.

Chris Peveler

Chris Peveler

Tech Specialist, Sr.
Urban and Public Affairs/A&S Dean’s Office

Outstanding Performance Award

Nominator Lindsey Ronay states:

Chris is absolutely committed to being a good steward of University resources. He will always try to do what he can do to save money, even if that means he has to go far outside of his job description to do so. He feels strongly that the University money should be used, whenever possible, on the educational mission of the University. He is committed to that mission. I witnessed Chris taking initiative again and again in the short time I worked with him. For example, I ordered a stage, stairs, and cart and 225 chairs for the [Rowan building grand opening]. Before I could even ask or even know that he was the person I might ask, Chris has accepted the shipment, assembled the stage, stairs and cart, and unwrapped at least 1/2 of the chairs which were individually (and absurdly tightly) wrapped. On the day of the event, I arrived to set up the chairs only to find them all already set up in a beautiful configuration. Chris anticipates what is needed and jumps in and does it. [He] leads quietly and by example [and] inspires others to do the same.

Dwain Pruitt

Dwain Pruitt

Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Governance

Outstanding Performance Award

Nominator Ann Hall states:
Dr. Pruitt is a U of L gem. He represents all the is best about U of L and Arts and Sciences -- a commitment to the liberal arts, dedication, discipline, integrity, leadership, student-centered focus, collegiality, and good humor. I don't think I have ever waited longer than a 24 hour period to receive a response from Dr. Pruitt. I know that when I send him an email or a phone call, he will get back to me. If he does not have an answer, he provides alternatives, so I am never left without a possible solution to a problem or concern. Dr. Pruitt is always available to answer questions and serve as a sounding board when it comes to curriculum and governance. As a new Chair, I relied on his expertise tremendously. He was generous with his time and talents, and he should be rewarded for that generosity of spirit with this award.

Nominator Doris Meadows states:
Dwain makes sure that the schedule is correct for 21 departments which have 57 undergraduate degree programs and 35 graduate degree programs. A&S is such a large college and he makes you feel like you are the only department when you are doing business with him. He is quick to answer me when inquiring about any adjustment to the schedule of classes online, as well as approval for new courses. He is outstanding at his job [and it] is such a joy to work with him. He is an asset to the College of Arts & Sciences and the University of Louisville. I can think of no better candidate for the Outstanding Performance award.

Hung Nguyen

Hung Nguyen

Technology Consultant 1/Tier 1 Technical Support
English

Outstanding Performance Award

Supervisor and Nominator Andrew Rabin states:
Hung is tasked with providing technical support for the Department of English. This includes not only solving the computer problems of hapless faculty and staff, but also providing support related to classroom technology and the technical need for special events and conferences. He carries off these duties with enthusiasm, patience, friendliness, and most importantly, competence. The English Department is very lucky to have him on staff. Hung has repeatedly been asked to stay late, come in on weekends, or otherwise extend himself beyond the parameters of his position. He does so with a degree of generosity that is simply remarkable. His commitment to making sure that the department not only runs well but also projects an image of competence to the rest of the university and the public is simply remarkable. The times he has saved the day in a class, for his colleagues, or at an event are more than I can count.

Nominator Glynis Ridley states:
When- as Chair - I was told one of our computing labs was full of machines too old to take needed software upgrades, I couldn't see how the department could afford 20+ new machines. Hung listened to the problem - then emailed me within hours to say he had a solution worked out by sourcing machines being dispensed with by the Library. This saved the department an expenditure of approximately 26k.

Janna Tajibaeva

Janna Tajibaeva

Program Coordinator
Liberal Studies and the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society

Outstanding Performance Award

Supervisor and Nominator John Gibson states:
Dr. Tajibaeva, who is only 50% CCHS, singlehandedly staffed all the CCHS events and the Louisville Conference, while also providing sole staff support for Liberal Studies and the ‘Meet the Professors’ event series for Professor John Hale. In addition to this, she managed CCHS’s internship program, staffed our various Faculty Research Group meetings, arranged events in service of our Arts and Culture Partnership, and took care of our finances and budget. During this time, she also brought one of her own initiatives to life, a Leadership Lunch Series, which brings community leaders to campus to share their work with professors and students (a brilliant inversion of the idea behind Meet the Professors, which she devised and brought to me entirely on her own). This is an example of staff stepping up when times are tough and making sure that the College keeps moving forward. Her performance was, in a word, remarkable.

Nominator Brandon Harwood states:
I know the difficulty of Janna’s job because I have a complementary set of tasks, and when I was having trouble wrapping my mind and stoking my heart fires to the task, Janna acted as a big sister and helped me to organize my thoughts, steel my nerves, and let my own personality be displayed. Janna knows perfectly how to meet a team member where they are, pull out their talents and gifts, and direct them to what is the most important task of the day/hour/moment.

Taleia Willis

Taleia Willis

Unit Business Manager
Classical and Modern Languages, English, History, Humanities, and Philosophy

Outstanding Performance Award

Supervisor and Nominator David Owen states:
Taleia provides me any and all information I need for fiscal planning and management, and she manages all of the procedures necessary for fiscal management of the department. In addition, she manages the staff in all of these departments, and she consistently provides me with exceptional advice for improving staff performance. She takes on tasks that are beyond her primary responsibilities when others are unable to do them, and she has taken on a considerably higher workload in recent years. When discussing some procedural or logistic problem, she will frequently indicate that she will create a new procedure, or form, or make an inquiry, to solve it. She is always willing to do whatever needs to be done to provide excellent support to me as a chair. Her attitude is always positive and cheerful, even when she is under extreme pressure. She is a joy to work with; a colleague I value very highly. Taleia is one of the College of Arts and Sciences' most valuable resources.

Jason Gainous

Jason Gainous

Political Science

Outstanding Graduate Mentor

Since he joined the University in 2006, Professor Jason Gainous has been the Department of Political Science’s most prolific researcher; served as President of the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, Director of the Frankfort Internship, and President of the Kentucky Political Science Association; and taught a full 3-2 load each year. In addition to all of that, Professor Gainous has served as a an exemplary mentor and tireless advocate for political science graduate students.

Department chair Jasmine Farrier and director of graduate studies Melissa Merry call him a
“star MA recruiter” who led the effort to “evolve the MA program” to include a new Digital Politics track, supervised over two dozen independent study projects,  chaired or joined a dozen M.A. thesis committees, and joined seven Ph.D. dissertation committees. Farrier and Merry say that Professor Gainous demonstrates “extraordinary impact as a teacher, mentor, researcher, collaborator, and colleague.” His five graduate student nominators say Prof. Gainous makes himself available to them at any time, day or night, offering rigorous individualized guidance as they navigate through the program both as undergraduate and graduate students, “helping us find internships, jobs, and even Ph.D. programs… tailored to our interests.” M.A. student Alyson Hendricks states that because of Gainous’ mentorship, students are “beyond ready to tackle the challenges that lay ahead.” This award, say Farrier and Merry, recognizes “Jason’s extraordinary impact as a teacher, mentor, researcher, collaborator, and colleague.”

Keith Lyle

Keith Lyle

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Diversity Champion Award

Throughout his 12-year tenure at UofL, Prof. Keith Lyle has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to expanding diversity on campus. An active participant in A&S Inclusive Teaching Circles since 2009, Prof. Lyle built upon this experience by co-leading the diversity and inclusion workshops "Rolling in the Deep: Ways to Think Critically about Diversity in the Classroom" and "We The People: Building Bridges, Not Walls, In Post-Election American Classrooms" for graduate students. After attending the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in San Francisco and the White Privilege Conference in Louisville in 2016, Lyle developed the wildly popular course PSYC 310 - Psychology of Diversity, which colleague Prof. Suzanne Meeks describes as "scholarly and rigorous while also providing a supportive forum for students to engage in difficult conversations about diversity."

A regular attendee of A&S Diversity Council Meetings, Prof. Lyle also serves as the Chair of the Campus Climate Subcommittee on the Commission on the Status of Women (COSW), working to ensure the University provides a workplace safe from sexual harassment and violence. "He is the colleague I most trust to give me thoughtful advice based on his reading of scientific literature and experience with many national seminars," Prof. Meeks writes. According to Department Chair Benjamin Mast, "Keith is a model and an inspiration for faculty and graduate students in our department and the broader University of Louisville community."

Farshid Ramezanipour

Farshid Ramezanipour

Chemistry

Outstanding Supervisor – Faculty

A relatively new addition to the University of Louisville and Chemistry faculty, in just three years Professor Farshid Ramezanipour has cemented his reputation as a prolific researcher with a focus on solid-state inorganic materials for energy applications. While maintaining a rigorous teaching schedule of both undergraduate and graduate courses, Professor Ramezanipour also serves as a research advisor and supervisor to multiple graduate students, four of whom nominated him for this award.

Easily approachable, patient, and motivating – these traits were the common theme woven throughout Professor Ramezanipour’s nomination materials. Ph.D. candidate Selorm Fanah says, “to Dr. Ramezanipour, all students have the potential of becoming the next great scientist the world needs to see or hear about.” He “treats all staff and students with the same respect” while modeling “a cordial work environment and immense support for student life” both in and out of the lab and classroom. In the words of graduate student Surendra Karki, he is “a true leader, motivator, and inspiration.”
Kaila Story

Kaila Story

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Pan-African Studies

Community Engagement Award – Faculty

You would be hard-pressed to find a faculty member more available to the community than Prof. Kaila Story, Audre Lorde Chair in Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. As co-host, along with community activist Jaison Gardner, of the weekly WFPL radio show “Strange Fruit: Musings on Politics, Pop Culture, and Black Gay Life,” Story tackles complex issues of race and sexuality in a format that is accessible and digestible to non-academics, then makes each episode available online at strangefruitpod.org. Strange Fruit has received national recognition from Salon, The Guardian,and Pride.com, and Story herself was included in the inaugural #Pride30 list from NBC of “innovators, change makers and rising stars” in the LGBTQ community.

While incredibly active on social media, Story also regularly engages the community in person, partnering with the Speed Museum on the “Dialogues on Gender” series and as a discussion leader during the sold-out run of the film “I am Not Your Negro”; and serving on seemingly countless public panels discussing the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. Perhaps most importantly, she tirelessly serves the UofL community of students, garnering Faculty Favorite nominations every year.

Kelly Kinahan

Kelly Kinahan

Urban and Public Affairs

Community Engagement Award – Faculty

Prof. Kinahan’s research focuses on urban revitalization, historic preservation, and community and economic development, and in just three years at UofL, she has reached across disciplines and into the community to address housing-related issues.  With two separate funded projects from the Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research (CCTSJR), “Reading Kanafani in Kentucky” engages the community in housing discussions through the medium of theatre, and “Housing Justice in Louisville and Beyond” brings together faculty, staff, students, and community to create the annual State of Metropolitan Housing Report. Multiple community organizations, including Kentucky Refugee Ministries and the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, partner on these projects, as well as departments as diverse as Theatre Arts, Sociology, Philosophy, and Fine Arts.

In addition, Prof. Kinahan is currently working on an additional transdisciplinary research project with CCTSJR and the UofL Commonwealth Institute for Kentucky to create a comprehensive report for Metro government outlining policy and funding recommendations to address homelessness in Louisville. Funded by a grant from the Coalition for the Homeless, the final report will be released in June 2019.

Karen Thompson

Karen Thompson

Criminal Justice

Community Engagement Award – Staff

Over the past year, Karen Thompson has volunteered at the monthly Yearlings Club Forum Series, a Signature Partnership Initiative event that has played a vital role in connecting the College of Arts and Sciences with the West Louisville community since 2004. Assisting with set up and registration of guests, nominator Clest Lanier notes that Karen “goes the extra mile by arriving early… and is always one of the last to leave.” Criminal Justice Department chair Cherie Dawson-Edwards says “Mrs. Karen,” as students know her, is the department’s “biggest champion” who regularly supports faculty at off-campus speaking engagements or community events.  

Thompson assists the UofL Libraries Louisville Leader African American history transcription project, serves as a support group member and volunteer for the Kentucky African Americans Against Cancer, and lends a hand as an Ambassador for UofL's George J. Howe Red Barn. Her involvement with the Professional Woman Network led her to obtain “Women’s Issues & Diversity” and “Save Our Youth” certifications and to contribute to the book The Christian Woman’s Guide to Personal Success. An active member of St. Stephen Church, Thompson has served as a deacon and decision counselor for the past 38 years. “I believe in collective work and responsibility,” says Karen. “Engaging in community service provides me with the opportunity as a whole to help organizations work toward a common goal that has a lasting positive impact on our society; as well as share my life experiences that will give hope, encouragement, and support to individuals who may need it.”

George Higgins

George Higgins

Criminal Justice

Outstanding Director of Graduate Studies

Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Criminal Justice since 2015, Prof. Higgins has been a "consistent voice" and "tireless advocate" for the department's graduate programs, in the words of Department Chair Cherie Dawson-Edwards. He is known not only for his wealth of institutional knowledge and ability to navigate – and assist students with navigating -- the University system, but also for his collaborative nature with faculty and staff, particularly as head of the Graduate Program Committee, the decision-making body for admissions, curriculum, and policies.

Frederick Williams, Jr. says Higgins, who served as his dissertation chair, "exhibited extraordinary commitment and effectiveness as a mentor to students matriculating through the graduate program" and "understands how and when to nudge students who are in need of direction... and to uplift students who are struggling and need support." Williams, now Director of Criminal Justice Studies at Spalding University, sums up Prof. Higgins's impact: "I truly believe that if it had not been for his guidance, I may not have been successful."

 

Swagato Banerjee

Swagato Banerjee

Physics and Astronomy

Victor A. Olorunsola Award

The term "prolific" hardly seems adequate to define the output of Prof. Banerjee, who, since joining the UofL faculty in 2015, has co-authored 400 scientific publications. Department Chair Chakram Jayanthi describes Prof. Banerjee as "a well-known expert of tau physics" who worked on the BaBar (Stanford Linear Accelerator) and ATLAS (CERN in Geneva) experiments, and who, along with one of his doctoral students, was recently invited to join research collaboration on the Belle II experiment at KEK in Japan. It is this project, "Monitoring of the KLM detector at the Belle II Experiment," for which Banerjee received this year's Olorunsola award.

The $2000 award will allow Prof. Banerjee to travel to Tokyo to commission the online KLM background monitoring system during the data-taking phase of the Belle II experiment. Prof. Banerjee expects this phase "will play a significant role in moving the HEP [High Energy Physics] field forward over the coming decade." Results from this project will be presented at international conferences, published in peer-reviewed journals, and form the basis for continuing grant proposals to the Department of Energy. Recording 100 times the data of the BaBar experiment, Prof. Banerjee says this project will "address questions left unanswered for over a decade" and "bring international recognition to UofL's research group."