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Twelve Professors Named Recipients of Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award
The Graduate School annually solicits nominations from graduate students, faculty, staff and alumni for the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award. This award honors faculty who have made a significant, positive influence on graduate education at Syracuse University through their commitment to superior graduate teaching, dedication to departmental and community presence, and research initiatives.
The 2020 recipients are selected by an interdisciplinary committee of graduate students. They will be recognized at an awards celebration once campus activities resume.
The 2020 Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award recipients are:
- Hans C. Buechler – Professor of anthropology in the Maxwell School, Buechler specializes in cultural change, migration, urban problems and social anthropology. His investigations of the ways individuals and families adjust to social, political and economic change have taken him from Latin America to Spain, Switzerland and eastern Germany. A prolific writer and inspiring lecturer, Buechler has been guiding students through fieldwork and enlightening classes with his anecdotal experiences for more than 50 years.
- Biko Mandela Gray – Assistant professor of religion in the College of Arts and Sciences, Gray studies the religious implications of social justice movements; the connection of race, subjectivity, religion and embodiment in the human experience; and the interplay between continental philosophy of religion and theories and methods in African American religion.
- Sarah E. Hamersma – Associate professor of public administration and international affairs in the Maxwell School and a senior research associate in the Center for Policy Research, Hamersma specializes in public and labor economics and applied econometrics. Her current work examines the consequences of health and nutrition programs for food security, health outcomes and labor supply.
- Dawn Rene Johnson – Associate professor and chair of the Department of Higher Education in the School of Education, Johnson conducts research on student admissions and recruitment, especially the experiences of students of color in science and engineering. Her collaboration with the University’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment resulted in the Student Experience Survey, which focused on student perceptions of academic and campus life experiences.
- Tiffany A. Koszalka – Professor of instructional design, development and evaluation in the School of Education, Koszalka also directs a community of scholars and practitioners in the Research in Designing Learning Resources project, which studies and develops best practices for using effective, interactive online learning resources. Many of Koszalka’s numerous publications have resulted from collaborations with colleagues around the globe on research in instructional sciences, technology integration and distance learning.
- Aja Y. Martinez – Assistant professor of writing studies, rhetoric and composition in the College of Arts and Sciences, Martinez investigates the rhetoric of race and ethnicity, particularly the rhetoric of race within Western and non-Euro-Western contexts. An area of special interest is the use of “counterstories” as a means of recognizing the racial oppression and other configurations of subordination experienced by marginalized populations in the United States and abroad.
- Hille Paakkunainen – Associate professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences, Paakkunainen currently serves as the director of the health humanities integrated learning major. Her areas of specialization include metaethics, epistemology and philosophy of action. Paakkunainen is also interested in how the relationship of normative phenomenon and various forms of reasoning may contribute to a naturalistic understanding of the world.
- Aesoon Park – Associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, Park uses multidisciplinary and analytical methods to study high-risk health behavior, focusing on alcohol use and abuse as a developmental phenomenon. She is interested in how an advanced understanding of the interplay between the individual and the environment over time can aid in the development of prevention strategies to reduce problematic alcohol use.
- Gretchen W. Purser – Associate professor in the Department of Sociology in the Maxwell School, Purser researches work and labor disparities, urban poverty, precarity, social theory, ethnography, community-based action, law and punishment, and housing and homelessness. Purser is also co-coordinator of the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) Labor Studies working group at the Maxwell School and chairs the board of the Workers’ Center of Central New York.
- Rachel A. Razza – Associate professor and graduate director in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the Falk College, Razza specializes in social and cognitive development in at-risk children and youth, the different facets of self-regulation, and mindfulness-based practices as a potential intervention strategy for at-risk individuals. Razza is also associate director of the Contemplative Collaborative, a campuswide working group of faculty, staff and students who envision practices, strategies and scholarly research that foster interest in and understanding of complex issues.
- Sucheta Soundarajan – Assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science and the CISE Doctoral Program director in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, Soundajaran works on data mining, community detection, and social network analysis and their applications in the social and life sciences. She is currently investigating how communities change over time.
- Raja P. Velu – Professor of managerial statistics in the Department of Finance in the Whitman School, Velu has research interests in data analysis, statistics, finance, asset pricing and models for big data. He has been a JPMorgan Faculty Fellow (2011-12) and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence (2013). His expertise has led to consultant roles with major corporations such as Yahoo!, Saks Fifth Avenue and Time Inc.