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Graduate Excellence Awards

Teaching
Christine Battista, English
Battista While a master’s student at SUNY Fredonia and doctoral student at Binghamton, Christine Battista has designed and taught numerous courses, including American literature, literary theory and Literature and the Environment. Students and faculty alike have praised her creativity and dedication to teaching, her contributions to research and her willingness to help.
English majors often dread literary theory, but many of Battista’s students were surprised at how much they enjoyed her class. “Anyone who can unravel Derrida is pretty amazing,” one wrote. “I finished the class not only with a good grasp on the theory, but also, to my surprise, … I wanted to read more of these theorists’ works.”
When one of Battista’s professors fell ill in 2006, she was asked to take over his 400-level theory course. Despite short notice and the difficulty of the material, she accepted and received excellent reviews from the students and the chair of the department.
 
Gene Birz, Economics
Birz Gene Birz has taught for five consecutive semesters in the past three years, and he uses strategies to help his students appreciate the material — and learning — instantly. A course such as Economics of Developing Countries teaches his students that standards of living in the United States are unlike those of most other countries. Birz, one said, presented “shocking statistics on living conditions of many developing countries … truly [delivering] the message of how important development economics is.”
In order to encourage his students to participate in class, Birz set up a system in which learning their names “[signaled] to them that they would get full credit for class participation,” which drove students to participate competitively and passionately.
“During a group study session for our [final] exam, we had many questions, and by sheer luck ran into Gene at the library,” one student wrote. “He sat with us for over two hours to explain all material, and resolved all of our questions.”
 
Sarah Crossett, Psychology
Crossett Sarah Crossett believes that participation and creating an environment in which each student is respected are key elements in teaching her courses in Psychological Disorders in Childhood and Developmental Psychology. One of her supervisors writes that he was stunned at her ability to master the material for the course so quickly and translate that into her Socratic presentation style.
“Sarah came across as knowledgeable and confident in the subject matter of childhood disorders,” one student wrote. She also prepared group projects in which students applied course material, such as designing toys that would foster cognitive, motor and language development at different ages.
Many of Crossett’s students were enthusiastic about her classes. “I definitely worked for my grade, but I enjoyed it at the same time,” one wrote. “She deserves this [teaching] award.”
 
Alison Heney, Comparative Literature
Heney Alison Heney is “a great colleague to her peers, a terrific student and a most generous and kind individual,” one person wrote in nominating her for the award. She implements creativity in teaching and gets her students motivated — even at 8:30 a.m.
“Alison’s enthusiasm and energy [permeate] the whole class, frequently involving the entire room in eager discussion,” a student wrote. One of her advisers also cites this “ability to elicit meaningful discussion from her class … something that even veteran teachers may find difficult.”
Budding teachers also see Heney as a role model: “Alison’s personality paired with her astute teaching style has been a model for who I aim to be like at the head of a classroom one day,” one wrote.
Heney has taught courses in The Fairy Tale, Literature and Psychology, and Cinema and Violence. She values humor, and might stand on a chair and yodel to Britney Spears with her chalk microphone in hand if the image makes students recall the finer points of Freudian analysis.
 
Barsun Kirkman, Biology
Kirkman Whether it’s study time in the library with his students or lending a helping hand to family or friends in need, Barsun Kirkman does not say “no.” The only one in his immediate family to pursue higher education, Kirkman’s path to becoming a high-achieving graduate student in biology was far from direct.
Kirkman transferred to Binghamton from Westchester Community College through the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program in 2000. He completed his undergraduate degree in biology in 2005. He tutored other undergraduates in general and organic chemistry, and before entering the graduate program, worked as an autopsy technician at Columbia University Medical Center. Beginning in the summer of 2007, he worked as a teaching assistant for organic chemistry I and II. His students found him to be respectful of their opinions, and giving of his time.
One nomination letter says Kirkman “has clearly illustrated to sometime struggling students what they can accomplish with very hard work. Barsun is an inspiration to these undergraduates.”
 
Rahul Khanderkar, Electrical Engineering
Khanderkar Having come from a culture “where a teacher is revered above everybody else,” Rahul Khanderkar feels fortunate to have performed the duties of a teacher and says he is “blessed with caring and devoted teachers” himself. Khanderkar is like a member of the family in Electrical Engineering, with one adviser calling him his “academic grandson.”
After working with Khanderkar as a teaching assistant, his adviser soon recommended that he serve as instructor-of-record for a summer course on control systems.
One of his committee members wrote: “I know that in the nearest future our Rahul will be teaching and doing research at a different university thus contributing to the visibility and reputation of our program. I believe that [this award] should be our way of thanking Rahul Khandekar for the contribution to Binghamton University he made as a student as well as for the contribution he will make as an alumnus.”
 
Jason Loew, Computer Science
Loew Focused on a teaching career, Jason Loew took a double degree in computer science and psychology as an undergraduate at Binghamton. He was also a teaching assistant in psychology, and tutored math and physics at Broome Community College. As a graduate student, he has been a teaching assistant and instructor-of-record in computer science, and has completed courses toward a certificate in community college teaching.
One of Loew’s former students struggles with attention deficit disorder, and while some instructors may find her frustrating to work with, she says that Loew “exhibited a refreshing patience and the ability to present the material in a different context to get me, as well as other students, to better understand the concepts at hand.” Another student writes that “Jason just gives off this vibe that makes his students feel like he is there to help.”
Loew, who is also accomplished in research, has submitted several papers to international conferences. His research adviser writes that “with his love for teaching and teaching experience he can become a successful faculty member in the future.”
 
Catherine Malele, Chemistry
Malele A native of Kenya, Catherine Malele earned the Lois D. Mackey Award for Outstanding First-Year Teaching Assistant in Chemistry in 2005. She continues to be an asset to the department’s instructional staff.
“Whereas the majority of graduate assistants tend to gravitate to a particular course,” Malele has developed a unique expertise in the three areas of general, organic and inorganic chemistry. With a sincere interest in the educational goals of her students as well as research, both students and faculty hold her in high regard.
She has volunteered for the American Chemical Society and has contributed to other educational programs to improve the quality of undergraduate instruction.
Malele has made lasting impressions on her students, and continues to work with some of her former students as graduate colleagues. “I clearly remember my first impression of her: A happy and caring teacher who was enthusiastic about her work and was ready to educate her students,” one wrote.
 
Laura McDermott, Nursing
McDermott Having worked in clinical environments such as the emergency room at Lourdes Hospital and Planned Parenthood, Laura McDermott’s experience and research have transferred to the classroom. She helps students to see the relevance of theory by sharing vivid descriptions of patient situations from her practice. The care and concern she shows for patients’ health is also reflected in her concern for her students’ success.

Despite her full schedule as a teacher, student, mother and nurse, McDermott is always available to help. One student recollects: “One time, I thought I lost my course supplement and I had a test in two days. Even though she had it in her office at school, she was willing to meet me on a Sunday [night].”
McDermott’s generosity comes along with high expectations: “She always makes the extra effort … even if it is outside of her office hours. In turn, she holds the highest of standards for her nursing students and expects nothing less in return.”

 
Geoffrey McGovern, Political Science
McGovern Geoffrey McGovern’s law background has given him a unique edge in teaching. For students interested in law school, “Geoff’s classes have been an excellent way for [them] to learn more about this career path.”
McGovern engages students in critical thinking and never allows personal opinions to get in the way.
Even when he has work of his own to do, McGovern is willing to talk with his students beyond his office hours. One student writes: “He was always very welcoming. … I always left his office thinking about what I had heard in the news, rather than assuming I knew exactly what was going on.”
As adviser to the Binghamton Mock Trial Team, McGovern is invaluable. Competing against schools such as Cornell, Columbia and Harvard — all with prestigious law schools to assist their teams — students never felt they were at a disadvantage.
 
Wazir Mohamed, Sociology
Mohamed Guyana native Wazir Mohamed believes all of his students have potential; he instills in them a sense of pride and tells them to be conscious “citizens of the world.” Mohamed, who has taught courses in sociology, Africana Studies, Latin American/Caribbean Area Studies as well as within the EOP program, emphasizes group work and individual presentations, boosting students’ self-confidence and preparing them for life outside the classroom.
Mohamad, former president of the Graduate Student Organization and a parent, has impressed students, peers and faculty members. An EOP instructor writes that Mohamad “exudes a warm, easy-going personality, but also a wisdom and understanding of the world. … His ability to engage the class taught me quite a bit about speaking clearly and passionately on ideas.”
“Wazir has a wonderful way of quickly connecting with students, earning their trust and their confidence,” according to one nomination letter. “… He uses his creativity to meet all of his students [at their level] rather than expecting them to come immediately to his level.”
 
Megan Roppolo, Chemistry
Roppolo Chemistry doctoral student Megan Roppolo is a role model for what a teaching assistant should be. Her organizational skills, poise and self-confidence as head TA for the large introductory chemistry course have garnered respect.
Even though Roppolo has a busy research schedule, including conferences with the American Chemical Society and the Materials Research Society, she maintains a student-centered approach to teaching, successfully combining a take-charge attitude with one that facilitates independent thinking.
One of her former students writes that she “appreciated how Megan could … [let her students] think about the problem and proceed to solve it for [themselves]. This approach provides a deeper understanding of the material.” This student has since become an undergraduate TA for chemistry, and truly “appreciates what it takes … to pass knowledge on to another. It takes a creative, smart and caring individual. I believe Megan Roppolo possesses these qualities, and her affinity and passion for teaching deserves to be recognized.”
 
Shriya Sridharan, Art History
Sridharan A native of India, Shriya Sridharan came to Binghamton University in 2003 with an exceptional background in South Asian art and architectural history. She is an astute and hard-working graduate student who shows a natural inclination towards pedagogy and an outstanding sense of professionalism that is unique in an emerging scholar.
With a groundbreaking dissertation seeking to “challenge traditional approaches to Indian architecture,” Sridharan is an active young scholar, having presented at numerous conferences in the United States and India. Her energy and creativity in research transfer to her teaching.
Sridharan is teaching her own course, titled “Animated Spaces: Temples in India.” “The department has never been able to offer routine courses on South Asian art, so her classes constitute a significant contribution to our existing curriculum and are well subscribed to by our undergraduates,” a faculty member wrote. “She is simply the best Binghamton has to offer.”
 
Aleksey Tikhomirov, School of Education
Tikhomirov A doctoral student in the School of Education, Aleksey Tikhomirov believes that teaching and learning are symbiotic. It takes a collaborative effort on the part of instructor and student to accomplish the goals behind the process of collaborative learning.
Having taught courses in both Human Development and the School of Management, he is comfortable in negotiating the classroom with his students and in encouraging their participation in this process.
With a strong command of academics and practical applications, Tikhomirov assigned an exemplary project in one of his human development courses to analyze the dissolution of the School of Education and Human Development into two schools. Tikhomirov took the project beyond the classroom, and had students present their work to administrators, faculty and invited guests.
Tikhomirov’s skill in teaching and research garnered a Couper Fellowship, with which he is working on his dissertation on historical and political deconstruction of school leadership. “Even in his doctoral research, he is pursuing ways of reforming schools and achieving educational excellence with students.”
 
Rebecca Urban, Biology
Urban Rebecca Urban’s teaching has had implications beyond that of most graduate students. She supervises undergraduate and graduate work-study students in the lab and field and mentors a number of undergraduates in research. Through a National Science Foundation K-12 grant, her first teaching assignment was in third- and fourth-grade classrooms. Urban became well-versed not only in biology, but chemistry, geology and physics.
When Urban was asked to co-teach introductory ecology (a 300-level course), she received high evaluations from the students — and also teamed up with two professors to teach an unusual unit on the Everglades that enabled them to assess innovative teaching approaches. The result of this project is a publication in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, “a high-profile outlet” for ecological education — and faculty at Binghamton and elsewhere plan to use the unit.
One adviser writes: She has a “tremendous work ethic … and an inviting personality that draws collaboration with faculty, fellow graduate students and undergraduates. … Rebecca Urban is truly exceptional, a team player, the complete package.”
 
Jaime Wadowiec, History
Wadowiec What is important to Jaime Wadowiec is not necessarily “what we teach, but how we teach.” Wadowiec’s own confidence, she writes, was an “acquired taste,” so she “encourages a relaxed atmosphere … because, in the end, it’s not my classroom. It’s ours, and it is my purpose as a teacher to make it an active space for everyone involved.”
Her nominating letters note that she “has quite a ‘fan-base’ among undergraduates.” She demonstrates a remarkable ability to make learning fun while also challenging for her students.
Wadowiec’s personality and use of humor are at the heart of her teaching effectiveness. When students are at their most frazzled, she’ll give them a fun quiz that might be intended to jumpstart a discussion or review for an upcoming exam. For Wadowiec, teaching is a “complex process of imparting a quest for knowledge and, indeed, imparting a sense of confidence among our students. … Empowerment and confidence-building are the centerpieces of her pedagogy.”
 
Elizabeth Wilcox, Mathematics
Wilcox Elizabeth Wilcox has developed a teaching style focused on a short mantra: “encourage, engage and enjoy.” Mathematics is a subject that Wilcox compares to learning the violin. It takes time, practice, patience and determination, and she works with her students through step-by-step instruction, encouraging questions and working together on tough problems.
Faculty members praise Wilcox’s ability to engage and motivate even a large lecture course. One of her supervisors writes, the “atmosphere was relaxed and friendly,” and not once did he wish that “Ms. Wilcox had explained something better.”
Her students say they are “impressed by her ability to help [them] enjoy learning itself,” and one student wrote that he was proud to say that she was the best teacher he ever had. Wilcox is clearly successful in teaching her students, as she puts it, “to appreciate the beauty behind the numbers.”
   
Joshua Wretzel, Philosophy (SPEL)
Joshua Wretzel has a fascination with 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy, and transfers that enthusiasm to his teaching. He has been a teaching assistant for Phenomenology and Existentialism and an instructor-of-record for Methods of Reasoning. One of his advisers finds that “Joshua is the sort of philosopher for whom teaching is something personal. … I know of no graduate student who works harder or more productively to both facilitate students’ improvement of their writing and to convey an appreciation for philosophical ideas.”
Wretzel’s students respond well to his teaching style, using technology, Blackboard, class discussion — none of which is without humor. One student wrote that he would often “crack relevant jokes and keep us interested. He had a laid-back teaching style, but was always prepared … and eager to answer our questions.” Another said, “Josh has continued to exemplify qualities I find positive in our existing philosophy staff and would be an excellent teacher wherever he goes.”
   
Research
Kaan Ağartan, Sociology
Agartan After earning a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, Kaan Ağartan began studying sociology with an appetite for interdisciplinary topics including globalization, social policies and welfare regimes throughout the world. In addition to teaching courses ranging from information technology to social research, Ağartan has published articles and made conference presentations on topics such as labor formation and the Ottoman Empire and technology and cyberspace. His dissertation focuses on the politics of privatization in the context of Turkey’s economic development.
Having worked with the Fernand Braudel Center as well as the Social Policy Forum at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Ağartan helped to organize an international conference, “Protecting Society and Nature from Commodity Fiction” in Istanbul in 2005. Together with a leading social scientist, he co-edited Reading Karl Polanyi for the Twenty-First Century: Market Economy as a Political Project, a collection of papers from the 2005 conference; two are articles that he co-authored.
Ağartan also co-authored a paper with a fellow student and helped to organize the first graduate student departmental conference in 2005.
   
Kelly Bordner, Psychology
Bordner Kelly Bordner is “destined to become a leading researcher” in neuroscience, according to one nominating letter. Beginning early in her graduate career, Bordner was clearly excited and intent on a career in research. She was co-authoring three peer-reviewed laboratory manuscripts, discussing theoretical and procedural aspects of one of her adviser’s research programs and helping to design and execute experiments in the laboratory. Her intellectual level and confidence has led her to be viewed by the faculty more as a colleague than a graduate student, but she is equally adept at connecting with other students and researchers.
Investigating responses to ethanol during early infancy, Bordner’s research concentrates on clinical and experimental research on alcoholism, which has required that she become proficient in two quite different laboratories. She has presented papers and posters on findings at several conferences.
Bordner’s peers speak highly of her meticulous work and presentation style, her enthusiasm and “unflappable confidence that far exceeds her experience.”
   
Steve Lem, Political Science
Lem Steve Lem is a strong scholar who defended his dissertation on political economy and democratic processes in October 2007. One recommendation letter notes that his dissertation “solves the political and policy puzzle that has been baffling welfare state scholars for the past 10 to 15 years.” Lem’s work also includes interests in international relations and American politics.
A visiting assistant professor at Kent State University and recent instructor at Hobart and William Smith, Lem has presented this and related research work at several conferences, and has work published and under review at journals such as Political Research Quarterly. “His strong political science skills, combined with his easy-going nature, make him a natural teacher,” one nomination letter states.
Lem’s mentor attests that “During his time [at Binghamton], Steve undertook and accomplished what we want for all of our Ph.D. students: the development of a research agenda and product that addresses important questions with thoughtfulness, diligence and care.”
   
Stephanie I-Im Lim, Chemistry
IIm An award-winning student and researcher in chemistry, Stephanie I-Im Lim is also a budding expert in the field of nanotechnology. She has received Best Poster awards at conferences in China and Ireland and authored and co-authored 17 peer-reviewed publications, three of which were published in the prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society. Her work garnered a National Science Foundation Pre-doctoral Graduate Research Fellowship (2005-2008) to conduct research in advanced nanomaterials and nanotechnology.

In 2006, Lim completed her comprehensive exams and was admitted to candidacy, only two years after
earning her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Binghamton. After finishing her bachelor’s, she was inspired to continue working with her mentor, with whom she has co-authored a patent through the University.
Lim’s research is thorough and creative, and her originality and independence lend themselves to her success. Her intellect, hard work and passion for science have made her knowledgeable in nanotechnology, and will make her an outstanding analytical/materials scientist for many years to come.

   
Bo Long, Computer Science
Bo Long’s research is in relational data mining, one of the hottest areas of data mining, knowledge discovery and machine learning. His work shows strong potential in terms of theoretical contributions and social impact.
Long came to Binghamton in 2003 after completing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a law degree in China. His background in science and law speaks to his talent in applying sophisticated mathematical techniques to unify the existing literature under a framework that provides a new understanding.
With eight peer-reviewed conference papers and one peer-reviewed workshop paper published -- and two U.S. patents pending – Long has been invited to serve on top international conference programs. His work is endorsed by leading researchers in his area, and he has given colloquial talks at Carnegie Mellon University, Yahoo! Research Labs and the IBM Watson Research Center. The system based on his theory has garnered interest at institutes such as MIT, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the NEC Research Lab in America.
   
Arjan Reesink, Geology
Reesink Arjan Reesink’s research at Binghamton has already made him a world-class expert on the origin of cross-stratification. Cross-strata are structures of sediment that help geologists and paleontologists reconstruct the history of the Earth, and help reservoir engineers working in ancient river deposits.

The work that Reesink has conducted, one of his advisers writes, “will find its way into undergraduate textbooks in this discipline.”
Reesink, who earned a master’s degree in The Netherlands, has taken to national and international conferences several of the papers that will comprise his dissertation. He received awards from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists as well as Canadian and German government agencies. One nominating letter notes that he is “always prepared for a tough field day,” even in the “mosquito-infested swamps and marshes of upper Saskatchewan [which are] not for the faint-of-heart.”
Reesink is poised to receive a prestigious postdoctoral position in the U.K.

   
Brian Schubert, Geology
Brian Schubert’s research focuses on the long-term survival of microorganisms in geologic materials such as halite, commonly known as table salt. He is trying to determine how long bacteria and their DNA can survive inside crystals of natural salt from Death Valley, Calif., that are up to 100,000 years old. “Indeed,” a colleague writes, “the comparison of Brian’s work with Jurassic Park is not far off.”
Geomicrobiology is an emerging area of research, so Schubert has had to master geologic and biologic imaging techniques. His research results have been presented at numerous conferences, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America. In addition to a National Science Foundation grant, he has obtained funding from the National Geographic Society. His work has garnered a post-doctoral offer at Johns Hopkins University for fall 2008.
His adviser writes: “Because of the interdisciplinary nature of his work … he has blazed a path on his own, and is now one of the world’s experts on this particular problem.”
   
Ayşe Deniz Temiz, Comparative Literature
Ayşe Deniz Temiz, who concentrates on Algerian and Jamaican fiction written by women, is most concerned about the representation of migrant cultures in literature, and is attempting to rethink from the ground up the plight of the migrant in the contemporary world.
Her investigations include not only a few representative Caribbean texts, but rather entire traditions in French, English and Spanish linguistic traditions.
“I would risk saying,” writes one of her recommenders, that Temiz “is in fact one of the most rigorous and radical theorists, thinkers and critics presently working on the subject of migrancy.” She has published several articles in English and Turkish, including a translation into Turkish of a foundational text on racism and politics.
Temiz is also an accomplished teacher, having designed and taught her own courses in world literature as well as a course on her dissertation topic. Whether she teaches in world literature, American literature, women’s literature, theory or composition, she will impress students and faculty alike.
   
Lasantha Viyannalage, Chemistry
Viyannalage Lasantha Viyannalage is a driven researcher, already making substantial contributions in the area of solid state electrochemistry. An excellent research ambassador for Binghamton, Viyannalage’s success has taken him to seven national and international conferences, as well as national and international research labs.

Last summer, Viyannalage introduced electrochemical modifications as part of a collaborators group at Ian Wark Research Institute at the University of South Australia. His supervisor there called him “one of the most capable and dedicated persons to visit [his] lab.” In 2006, he worked with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., conducting complex in-situ Scanning Tunneling Microscopy studies. His supervisor there was “impressed how quickly Viyannalage was able to perform a number of experimental steps with success. Often it takes much longer to reach the level of comfort in working with this technique.”
Many of Viyannalage’s recommenders wrote about his friendly personality and his ability to work effectively with his peers and undergraduates.

 

   
Vern Walker, Comparative Literature
Walker The recipient of a two-year Fulbright Fellowship, Vern Walker is a junior visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria. The institute fosters the intellectual discourse between East and West Europe and the United States in the humanities and social sciences. Only 15 students from the U.S. are selected for a research fellowship in Austria.
Walker approaches his dissertation on “The Poetics of Pacifism” through comparative studies in Austrian and French literature and philosophy and the activism of the Catholic Worker. He writes that “their pacifism was not grounded first upon ideology, but developed out of, and critically hinged upon, their daily practices of living in community, radical voluntary poverty, open-door hospitality and labor and social activism during the Great Depression.”
This project began while he was a Catholic Worker volunteer himself. While many individuals in this movement “turn to religious discourse to explain their belief and ground their practice,” writes his adviser, “Mr. Walker turned to philosophy and literature.”
   
Hongkun Zhau, Computer Science
Zhau Having defended his dissertation in October 2007, Hongkun Zhau’s research focused on developing an automated system to extract search engine results embedded in the result page returned from search engines. One of his advisers writes that this is an area that has received attention from researchers in information systems, Web communities and from Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo.
“What distinguishes Hongkun from fellow Ph.D. students is not the number of papers he has published,” writes his adviser, “but the quality of his publications and the impact his techniques have made.” Zhau has published seven papers, presented at prestigious conferences and has a pending patent on his work.
Zhau’s work is quickly becoming a prominent force in research and in the economy. One of his advisers writes: “From the Google Scholar site, I found that his papers have been cited about 30 times by other researchers.”
   
Service/Outreach
Elizabeth Anderson, School of Education
Elizabeth Anderson is never too busy to help. She balances a full-time doctoral course load with numerous University and community projects — and raising her own family.
Before Anderson matriculated into the doctoral program, she earned a master’s degree in special education from Binghamton and worked with Head Start and the Handicapped Children’s Association. Working with the former dean of the School of Education and Human Development, Anderson helped to assemble a consortium representing the University, BCC, BOCES, Head Start and early education and day-care providers. She collected data to assess local needs and practices in order to develop a grant proposal. Undaunted by the slim chances of funding, Anderson worked tirelessly on the proposal for several weeks. In addition, she has coordinated the Kresge Grant, conducted a community needs assessment and supervised graduate students from education, social work and nursing in interdisciplinary research.
A recommender from Head Start states that Anderson “believes whole-heartedly in working with the community to improve … and strengthen families.”
   
Sean O’Hagen, Clinical Psychology
O'Hagen Sean O’Hagen’s work with the Broome County “Keeping Youth Drug-Free and Safe” program represents the very best in town-gown cooperation. A doctoral student in clinical psychology, O’Hagen worked as the program evaluation specialist for the KYDS Coalition beginning in June 2006, advising the executive board and surveying thousands of students on underage drinking, drug use, anti-social behavior and protective factors in eight area school districts to assess local problems and needs for prevention.
O’Hagen also gave presentations of data and findings at school district board, committee and teachers’ meetings. One recommender writes that O’Hagen’s presentations were “especially impressive because of [his ability] to apply empirical research to a community setting in a way that was palatable to both those on the frontlines of preventing youth alcohol and other drug use and those at the University who oversee his research training.” This work not only “allowed the implementation of the program, but also contributed to the clinical training of doctoral students working on these issues at the University.”
   
Kenneth Roon, Comparative Literature
Kenneth Roon is a professionally active doctoral student and former president of the graduate student organization in comparative literature. One nomination letter notes that his initiatives resulted in improved work conditions for graduate students and enhanced the quality of teaching in his department.
In 2006, Roon developed weekend pedagogy seminars to help graduate students learn necessary skills, including student evaluation, writing syllabi and teaching theory. As several students (including Roon) were approaching the master’s exam in 2005, he organized a study group where students could support one another.
Another important contribution was his advocacy for funding and benefits for graduate student instructors. As an experienced instructor in comparative literature and the Educational Opportunity Program, he goes out of his way to help his undergraduate students and expects from them meticulous preparation and quality work.
Roon shows a high degree of concern and enthusiastic commitment to fellow students and their professional development.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08