Mary O’Connor visits Desta, an Ethiopian restaurant, with Perimeter College alumnus Yitbarek Katzentet (left), who wrote a recommendation for her to receive this year’s Patton Award for her time devoted to helping refugee families resettling in Clarkston, Ga. Also pictured are alumna Eden Markos (right) and her son, Emanuel. Katzentet and Markos are from Ethiopia.
Mary Helen O’Connor Named Recipient Of Sparks And Patton President’s Awards
Mary Helen O’Connor, senior faculty associate for the Office of International Initiatives and assistant professor of English at Perimeter College, has been named the 2018 recipient of two prestigious university awards: a George M. Sparks Award and the Carl V. Patton President’s Awards for Community Service and Social Action in the Outstanding Faculty Award category. She is the first in university history to receive both honors in the same year.
The Sparks Award, named after one of the university’s most highly regarded presidents, recognizes Georgia State’s “unsung heroes who exemplify a willingness to go the extra mile with good humor and perseverance.” The Patton Award recognizes those who make “significant contributions to the greater Atlanta community through outstanding commitment to service.” Recipients are described to have “demonstrated the university’s philosophy and commitment to developing positive connections with our community to gain a better understanding of civic responsibility.”
“It is not surprising that Dr. O’Connor is the recipient of so many awards and accolades. Her commitment to the college, the university and the community are second to none,” said Peter Lyons, vice provost and dean of Perimeter College. “She lives and breathes her ‘civic responsibility,’ thus personifying the university’s commitment to making a positive difference to greater Atlanta.”
O’Connor’s teaching and scholarship explores the global migration crisis, refugee education, identity and agency. For the past 10 years, she has also devoted her time to assisting resettled families in the Clarkston, Ga., community, a federally designated refugee resettlement area, from arrival to independence.
“The dual awards are a well-deserved recognition of Dr. O’Connor’s work with a student population that has become such an important part of Georgia State’s global diversity,” said Wolfgang Schlör, associate provost for International Initiatives.
O’Connor has been a member of the Perimeter College Clarkston Campus faculty since 2010. In 2016, she was appointed to a dual role with the Office of International Initiatives. She is responsible for managing the international portfolio for Perimeter College’s campuses and furthering access to international programs, study abroad, partnerships and activities for the college’s community. She is also a faculty affiliate with the Global Studies Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Since 2007, she has worked with community partners to start a summer literacy program, expand after-school programming and mentor refugee students in Clarkston. Many graduates of these programs have become her students at Georgia State University, where she continues to advise, teach and mentor them through college graduation and on through their careers.
In 2016, O’Connor and Dr. Heval Kelli (B.S. ’06), the Katz Foundation Fellow in Preventive Cardiology at Emory University, established MINA, the Mentoring Initiatives for New Americans program. The initiative connects young adults who are refugees and immigrants with seasoned student leaders. The student leaders help the prospective students navigate the often-confusing college admissions process and provide social support along the way. MINA supports a core component of student success: creating global citizens which changes their lives and the many lives they will affect in the future. With more than 70 members, the program is already affecting lives by helping new Americans learn English and providing students leaders, such as Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members, the opportunity to earn service hours for volunteering and tutoring.
“Dr. O’Connor is deeply committed to student’s success and welfare,” said Alex Santos, Perimeter College student and vice president of communications for MINA. “Besides supporting me to achieve better academic outcomes, she also inspired me and other student leaders to become community advocates and change other people’s lives through education.”
O’Connor and the MINA team were awarded an Honorable Mention in the University System of Georgia’s Chancellor’s Service Excellence Student Improvement Initiative Team Award category this past December. She was also recognized by the Atlanta Center for Civil and Human Rights in their 2017 exhibit, “The Time is Right,” recognizing the unsung civil rights heroes in the community.
“I am honored this university supports my scholarship, teaching and advocacy in the refugee community,” O’Connor said. “It is a privilege to serve my refugee students and friends. I don’t do anything special or unique. I just try to be a good neighbor.”
O’Connor was honored for her dual achievements by President Mark Becker during the 2018 Service Recognition Award Ceremony on Monday, April 16 in the Student Center Ballroom on the Atlanta Campus. For photos from the ceremony, visit International Initiatives’ Flickr page.
Meet The New Chair Of Staff Council
Although Eric Cuevas has worked for nine years at Georgia State University and Perimeter College, the university’s director of Student Success still likes to say he has never had a real job.
“I get to come to work every day and partner with brilliant people to help students from all kinds of backgrounds change their lives and the lives of their families,” he said. “I can’t believe I make a living doing this.”
Cuevas was recently elected chair of the university’s Staff Council, which helps facilitate the communication of staff issues and advises the university president and other campus administrators on matters that have a major effect on staff. He started his one-year term in March.
“This is a huge institution with so many things moving and changing,” Cuevas said. “I want to ensure that our staff are aware of the happenings at Georgia State and have a seat at the table and voice at the podium to influence our professional community. Just as we encourage our students to become engaged and meet their peers, we too can learn so much from one another.”
Cuevas started his higher education career nine years ago as an admissions recruiter on the Clarkston Campus. He transitioned to Georgia State University in 2013 before the university’s consolidation with Perimeter College as assistant director of academic support and outreach, and then to director of student success in 2016.
Cuevas served a year as the Staff Council’s chair-elect, a role that has prepared him to lead the organization as it seeks to increase awareness among staff on all campuses and share the message that Georgia State is “a great place to work with so much opportunity to learn and grow.”
“We want to increase awareness of Staff Council in the consolidated Georgia State University,” he said. “We want to use technology to increase transparency and collaboration. We also want to work to improve the way we serve one another as colleges, increase participation in the Tuition Assistance Program for staff and work to build more mentorship connections between staff and leadership.”
Courtland Street Bridge Closes May 7
The Courtland Street Bridge will close from Gilmer Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on May 7. The Georgia Department of Transportation will host a virtual informational meeting on the Courtland Street Bridge Replacement Project on Thursday, May 3 from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. The virtual informational meeting will be accessible from the project webpage at www.dot.ga.gov/CourtlandSt. The meeting offers the public an opportunity to get information about the Design Build Accelerated Bridge Construction Project and learn about the closure and resulting detours. Project displays, information and detour maps will be available at each meeting. No formal presentation will be given. For more information about the project, visit www.gsu.edu/courtland.
Upgrades To The Georgia State University Police Department
Over the past year and a half, Georgia State Police Chief Joseph Spillane has made major changes in communications and operations and the deployment of police officers on all campuses. These changes have resulted in a significant decrease in crime and criminal activity on and around the campuses. Spillane has implemented a “greener” approach to policing and is deploying foot patrols, Segways, bicycles and golf carts, in addition to patrol cars and motorcycles, to better integrate with the student population and provide needed visibility on campus. He started a Homeless Outreach and Engagement team last year to work with the City of Atlanta to provide outreach and guidance to chronically homeless people around the Atlanta Campus. A modern communications center is being built in Centennial Hall with a completion date in June. GSUPD has been awarded accreditation “with excellence” by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The “with excellence” designation is achieved by a small percentage of agencies being accredited.
Sally Wallace Named Dean
Of The Andrew Young School Of Policy Studies
Economist Sally Wallace, interim dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies during the 2017-18 academic year, has been named dean of the school.
Wallace, a professor of economics, has been on Georgia State’s faculty since 1991, serving five years as department chair. She was the school’s associate dean for research and strategic initiatives from 2015 to 2017 and has directed the Fiscal Research Center since 2011.
During the 2009/10 academic year, Wallace was provost and vice president of academic affairs for the International University of Grand Bassam in Cote d’Ivoire. She has also served as co-director of the Jamaican Tax Reform Project, senior staff member for the Pakistan Tax Study and the Guatemala Fiscal Project, and she holds the title of “Extraordinary Professor of Economics” at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
“Since the Andrew Young School began 22 years ago, it has benefited from innovative, creative and thoughtful leaders and has set a high standard for engaged policy research,” said Wallace said. “Our departmental and research faculty and staff—along with our alumni, students and partners—have a unique opportunity to redesign the public and nonprofit sectors while working with the private sector.
“By extending hands-on learning with policymakers, diving deeper into data, exploring technology and working across disciplinary lines, we will continue to be the policy school that policymakers look to for education and research in this new economy. READ MORE…
Join The #MoveMoreSummer Challenge
Registration is now open for The Office of Employee Development and Wellness Services’ #MoveMoreSummer Challenge. The challenge starts May 1 and ends on June 15. Participants can register as an individual or form a team with friends and colleagues for motivation. Teams may range from two to 15 members. Participants will track walking activity using the MapMyFitness App and measure walking distance and time throughout the challenge. New Panther Trails walking routes are available for all six campuses. If you have questions or would like to register for the challenge, email Tony Price at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer At Grady Hospital’s Inaugural Cycling Fundraising Ride
Support Team Georgia State by participating as a volunteer for Grady Hospital’s inaugural cycling fundraising ride on May 5. Georgia State will host a rest stop for the cyclists at the football practice field on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Responsibilities will include setting up and tearing down a few tables, providing beverages and snacks to the cyclists and having a good time. Hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
How to sign-up:
1. Go to https://2018velocityatlanta.my-trs.com
2. Select “Volunteer Now” on the right-hand side of the page
3. Find the “Team GSU” registrant group, enter access code “PANTHERS” and click “Select”
4. Click the ‘+’ symbol next to “Rest Stop 10: GSU Practice Field”
5. Check the box next to the time slot and click “Next”
6. Follow the instructions to complete registration
Team Georgia State cycling jerseys are available for sale while supplies last, https://recreation.gsu.edu/cyclingjerseys.
Georgia State Stadium An Anchor For Transformation
It’s been a little more than a year since Georgia State University kicked off construction to transform Turner Field into the Panthers’ new football stadium. And while the difference within the shiny metal gates is dramatic, beyond it, another remarkable rebirth is in the works.Georgia State and its development partner, Carter USA (Carter) are now knee-deep in a multiphase movement to revitalize the area around the stadium. The land includes sections of Summerhill, a neighborhood that sits south of Interstate 20. Disconnected from downtown opportunities by freeways and sports complexes, blocks that once prospered with mom-and-pop shops have been painted with graffiti and left barren.
Lenore Musick, senior director of PantherDining and Sustainability, and Avinash Sukhu, a lab technician at Perimeter College, were honored with Sparks Awards at the Service Recognition Awards Ceremony on April 16. The George M. Sparks awards recognize Georgia State’s unsung heroes who exemplify a willingness to go the extra mile with good humor and perseverance.
Men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter received the Carl V. Patton President’s Award for Community Service and Social Justice “Outstanding Staff Award” at the Service Recognition Awards. The awards recognize faculty, staff, students and organizations for their exemplary service to the university community or local area.
The Center for Access to Justice’s Pro Bono Program also received a Carl V. Patton President’s Award for “Outstanding University Program.”
Vincent La Terza, assistant vice president and senior licensing agent since 2017, has been named associate vice president of research and director of technology transfer and commercialization.
Nicole G. Iannarone, assistant clinical professor and director of the Investor Advocacy Clinic, has been elected president of the Atlanta Bar Association.
Atilim University, in Ankara, Turkey, bestowed S. Tamer Cavusgil, the Fuller E. Callaway Professorial Chair and executive director of the Center for International Business Education and Research, with an honorary professorship at a ceremony this month. Sabanci University, in Istanbul, also asked him to serve on its Board of Trustees.
Brett Wong, assistant professor of kinesiology and health, has received a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to better understand health disparities in the non-Hispanic Black population in the U.S.
Leslie E. Wolf, professor of law and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society, has been named a Distinguished University Professor.
Georgia State has received two four-year grants totaling nearly $6 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for research to identify a therapy that can counteract atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries, and research to promote the regeneration of damaged vascular tissue after a heart attack or stroke. Ming-Hui Zou, professor in the Institute of Biomedical Sciences and director of the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine, is the lead investigator on the projects. Ping Song, associate professor in the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine, and Zhonglin Xie, associate professor in the Department of Biology, will be working with Zou on the projects.
The Gerontology Institute has received $1.6 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Georgia State Survey Agency for a three-year training and development project to improve the state’s nursing homes. The multiyear project will be led by Jennifer Craft Morgan, assistant professor of gerontology, and Elisabeth O. Burgess, director of the Gerontology Institute.
David Wojnowski, clinical assistant professor in early childhood and elementary education, has been named field editor of the Journal of College Science Teaching, the National Science Teachers Association’s journal for college level science educators.
Timothy D. Lytton, associate dean for research and faculty development, Distinguished University Professor and professor of law, was selected to serve on the board of trustees of the Academy of Food Law & Policy. He was also elected to the executive committee of the Torts and Compensation Systems section of the American Association of Law Schools.
Rachel Gurvitch, associate professor of kinesiology and health, and her Atlanta Net teammates played a catch-ball tournament with teachers at Camp Creek Middle School in an effort to encourage teacher wellness. The College of Education & Human Development’s CREST-Ed grant project supports Camp Creek’s catch-ball wellness program and hopes to expand it to other schools in the future.
Fayron Epps, assistant professor of nursing, has been accepted into the Tideswell, American Geriatrics Society and Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Program Emerging Leaders in Aging Program.
Chip Zimmerman, director of clinical education and assistant clinical professor in respiratory therapy, has received the Governor’s Teaching Fellowship. He is the second fellowship recipient in the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions and the seventh from Georgia State.
Karen Minyard, director of the Georgia Health Policy Center, and Robyn Bussey, a research associate at the Georgia Health Policy Center, presented “Bottom Line, Balanced Health, Better Beings” at the Association for Community Health Improvement National Conference in Atlanta on March 15.
Four Perimeter College faculty members presented at the Asian Studies Development Program national conference, March 1-3, in Washington, D.C. Laurent Ditmann, associate dean of arts and humanities, presented “Katori: The Most Venerable Japanese Martial Art You Have Never Heard Of”; Jessie Hayden, instructor of ESL and World Languages, presented “Creating Asia Connections through Global Digital Literacy”; Eric Kendrick, associate chair of ESL and World Languages, presented “Understanding Japan: Past & Present”; and Liam Madden, associate professor of English, presented “A Comparative Analysis of Undergraduates’ Interpretations of ‘The Story of Ying’ Understood through Norman Holland’s Four Modes of Reader Cognition.”
Salli Vargis, professor of history, and George Vargis, professor of political science, accompanied students to the Model African Union conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 21-25.
Deborah Manson, assistant professor of English at Perimeter College, published the article “Science with a Soul” in the March 2018 issue of Studies in Religion.
Claire Adams Spears, assistant professor of health promotion & behavior, has been elected co-chair of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Special Interest Group of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
The Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA) named Colin Smith, clinical assistant professor of health management and policy, as the association’s new president.
Tamra Ortgies-Young, assistant professor of political science, was invited to give the keynote address at the Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellows Teaching and Learning Reunion Conference at the University of Georgia. Young, a 2010 Fellow and a member of the GTF Distinguished Speakers Faculty, gave the opening address titled “Higher Education and Citizenship: Promoting Civic Competency Across the Curriculum” on Jan. 26 in Athens, Ga.
Kathryn Crowther, assistant professor of English at Perimeter College, has been selected as a University System of Georgia Teaching & Learning (SoTL) Fellow. Crowther is one of 10 SoTL scholars from across the university system who will meet regularly during the 2018-19 academic year to design and develop a classroom-based research project.
Glenn Pfeifer, grants development and administration director for Perimeter College, and Len Connor, grants and contracts officer for Perimeter, presented “Extra Compensation: Reducing Institutional Risk for the PUI (Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions)” at the 19th annual Financial Research Administration Conference in Orlando, Fla. The conference is sponsored by the National Council of University Research Administrators.
Marc Zayac and Bob King, associate professors of history and political science at Perimeter College, were faculty advisers to an award-winning team of students who represented Kuwait during the Model Arab Union in March. The Model Arab Union was held on the campus of Converse College in South Carolina.
Craig Drennen, associate professor of drawing and painting and graduate director of the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design, has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Fine Arts.
Welch Gallery Director Cynthia Farnell’s “The Garlands” video has been acquired for the permanent collection of the new Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta, Ga.
Daniel Robin, associate professor of film and digital media production, won “Best Filmmaker” from the Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival for his film short, “All the Leaves Are Brown.”
Shondrika Moss-Bouldin, lecturer in film, media and theatre, participated in a panel discussion at the August Wilson Society Colloquium in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Patrick K. Freer, professor of music and coordinator of music education, has been appointed a visiting professor by the Office of International Relations at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.
Robert Ambrose, professor and director of bands, has been appointed vice president of the Southern Division of the College Band Directors National Association for 2019-21
The College of the Arts congratulated three outstanding faculty members on their receipt of recent university awards. Deanna Joseph, associate professor and director of choral activities in the School of Music, was awarded the Alumni Distinguished Professorship. Ruth Stanford, associate professor of sculpture in the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design, received the Provost’s Faculty Study in a Second Discipline Fellowship. Christina West, associate professor of ceramics, received the Provost’s Faculty Research Fellowship. Presented by the Office of Faculty Affairs and the Office of the Provost, the university-level faculty awards help faculty realize their potential as teachers, researchers, scholars and creative artists.
Several faculty and staff from the Andrew Young School attended the HOPE Global Forum’s annual meeting in Atlanta. Panelist and presentation appearances included Barry Hirsch, Jan Nijman, Volkan Topalli and Peter Bluestone.
The College of Education & Human Development recently announced the recipients of its faculty awards:
-Clinical assistant professor E. Namisi Chilungu received the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching, which recognizes a full-time faculty member in the college for outstanding achievement in teaching.
-Clinical associate professor Judith Emerson received the Outstanding Faculty Service to the Profession Award, which recognizes full-time faculty members who fulfill in an exemplary way the college’s commitment to service and consistently demonstrate exemplary service to their profession at a national level.
-Associate professor Ann Cale Kruger received the Outstanding Faculty Service to the Community Award, which recognizes a full-time faculty member who fulfills in an exemplary way the college’s commitment to service and has consistently demonstrated exemplary service to the community and/or campus.
-Associate professor Gary Bingham received the Outstanding Urban Education Research Award. This $500 award, funded by Ron Colarusso, dean emeritus of the college, recognizes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member for outstanding achievement in scholarship and creative activity in urban education.
-Assistant professor Jessica Scott received the Innovation in International Education Faculty Award, which recognizes full-time faculty members for their outstanding achievement in international education.
-Assistant professor Sarah Carlson received the Amy R. Lederberg Award for Outstanding Research in Educational Psychology. Established by Carol Springer Sargent to honor her dissertation chair, Amy R. Lederberg, the award is given to new faculty members to support the development of their research agenda and recognize research-¬related accomplishments.
-Associate professor Laura May received the Outstanding Faculty Research Award, which recognizes a full-time faculty member in the college for outstanding achievement in scholarship.
-Associate professor Don Davis received the Outstanding Faculty Research Mentoring Award, which recognizes a full-time faculty member who fulfills in an exemplary way the college’s commitment to providing mentoring in the conduct of research to faculty colleagues and doctoral students.
-Regents’ Professor Joel Meyers received the College of Education & Human Development Distinguished Faculty Award. This $1,000 award recognizes full-time faculty members for outstanding contributions to their discipline through research and service.