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Members of the University Community Honored with 2020 Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence
Several members of the Syracuse University community have been honored with Chancellor’s Citations for Excellence as part of the 2020 One University Awards.
The Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence recognizes members of the University community who have made invaluable contributions to Syracuse University in two overarching ways: 1) through commitment to scholarship and research that contributes to new understandings of world and creative responses to its needs; and 2) through advancing the four pillars Chancellor Kent Syverud has identified to foster excellence at Syracuse University. Those four pillars of excellence are: providing an outstanding undergraduate experience; empowering research excellence; fostering change and innovation; and positioning Syracuse as the best university in the world for veterans.
The Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence is bestowed in four categories: Lifetime Achievement; Faculty Excellence and Scholarly Distinction; Outstanding Contributions to the Student Experience and University Initiatives; and Excellence in Student Research.
The recipients will receive their awards, handmade bowls by David MacDonald, renowned ceramist and professor emeritus, later this summer.
Lifetime Achievement Award
This award honors those who have made extraordinary contributions over the arc of their careers while at the University and beyond. This year’s recipient is Charles T. Driscoll Jr., University Professor of Environmental Systems and Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
A member of the Syracuse University community for more than 40 years, Driscoll has built an extraordinary record of contributions to the University’s core mission as a researcher and teacher-mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students. He has mentored underrepresented minority students on campus and in the community, bolstering their success and inclusion in STEM. His record demonstrates many years of leadership and meaningful service supporting excellence at all levels of the University.
Driscoll’s highly productive, cutting-edge research has provided evidence of the impact of air pollution, climate change and land disturbance and their effects on water resources, ecosystem health and climate change. Much of his work has focused on forest and associated aquatic resources, including studies at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire and in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. In recent years, he has worked as part of a team to quantify health and ecosystem co-benefits associated with a national carbon standard for power plant emissions.
He has also examined the effects of climate change and air pollution on wetlands, the Great Lakes, urban ecosystems, coastal waters and the open ocean. Driscoll’s lab has generated new analytical techniques and research models, enriching the discipline of environmental engineering. His work has made a substantial impact on policies and practices of national and international organizations.
Driscoll’s current research includes using models, field experiments and measurements to examine ecosystem effects of changing climate and acidic, nitrogen and mercury deposition; the effectiveness of “green” water infrastructure in storm water management; and ecosystem restoration.
His work has been repeatedly recognized by the University, including a 1985 Chancellor Citation award for academic excellence, and by his peers at the National Academy of Engineering and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The Lifetime Achievement Award is given in recognition of his many achievements and his years of impact on the campus community and the nation.
Faculty Excellence and Scholarly Distinction
This award honors faculty members who are collaborators in work of intellectual richness that offers possibilities for collaboration within the University and outside in partnership with others and has the potential for future impact. This year’s recipient is Robert P. Doyle, professor, Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences. Doyle also holds a courtesy appointment as an associate professor of medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
He is a medicinal chemist with an interest in pharmaceutical drug development for the treatment of obesity, cachexia and type 2 diabetes. He recently received a three-year, $3 million grant from the Department of Defense to develop a new drug to treat veterans with comorbid diabetes and obesity. The grant will allow Doyle, principal investigator, and co-collaborator Dr. Christian Roth, M.D., principal investigator at Seattle Children’s Hospital, to develop the peptide drug designated GEP44 through the pre-clinical phase all the way to clinical development, which means developing, testing and validating it for translation into humans.
Doyle has won awards for his teaching, including Faculty Advisor of the Year, and is described by students as engaging, challenging and highly interactive. He takes mentoring as seriously as his research, graduating 19 successful Ph.D. students since 2009. The project he completed while serving as a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor resulted in symposia that highlighted and promoted the scientific research of women and first-generation students. Many of these students go on to present at conferences and win awards. His undergraduate researchers have garnered numerous scholarships and National Science Foundation fellowships in addition to attending prestigious graduate and medical programs.
Outstanding Contributions to Student Experience and University Initiatives
This award is made to members of the University faculty and staff who, through their work, have enhanced the undergraduate experience for students or made invaluable contributions to supporting and advancing the University’s mission and goals. This year’s recipients are Rebecca Kelly, assistant professor of communications design in the School of Design in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (faculty) and Kalpana (Kal) Srinivas G’12, interim executive director for student success in the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience (staff).
Kelly’s primary interests lie in teaching the importance of being an effective global citizen, and she believes designers should benefit society through visual communication. This conviction guides her teaching. She led an interdisciplinary team of colleagues, including Marc Stress (communications design), Seyeon Lee and Zoriana Dunham (environmental and interior design), Meriel Stokoe (museum studies) and Louise Manfredi (industrial and interactive design), and 60 undergraduate students to submit design proposals for a call from the United Nations Pavilion for the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
The theme was “connecting minds, creating the future,” and the United Nations endeavor was titled the United Nations Collaboration Project. Kelly and her colleagues engaged students from every department to work for a semester in interdisciplinary subgroups to create three-dimensional models of their proposed exhibition designs. The proposed design had to be accessible, interactive, visually appealing and conceptually sound in relation to the call for proposals.
The team elevated this project beyond the classroom by raising funds and coordinating logistics to enable 60 students to present their designs in person to members of the Department for General Assembly at the United Nations in New York City. The students plan to take their work to Dubai in October 2020 for the World Expo. This extraordinary effort of instruction, mentoring and leadership coalesced into an experience that will impact students for years to come and advance the reputation of Syracuse University.
Kalpana (Kal) Srinivas
Srinivas has worked diligently to ensure that undergraduates have an unsurpassed student experience that supports goal attainment. She was the driving force behind the launch of the Universitywide Orange SUccess initiative to enhance advising and accountability. Syracuse University and Orange SUccess are nationally recognized for excellence, winning the 2018 Hobsons Education Advances Award.
Srinivas is a highly sought-after speaker and advisor on how to plan, resource and execute accessible student success programs. While serving in the role of interim executive director for student success in the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience, she has activated many new and improved systems working collaboratively across the University to engage the intra-university transfer processes, Student Success Initiative and SummerStart, to name a few, all reducing impediments to student success. While much of Srinivas’ work has been on large-scale, system change projects, she has maintained deep connections with students, reflecting the Academic Strategic Plan goal of nourishing the whole student in support of academic, social and emotional well-being.
“Kal gently encouraged me to embrace new experiences, step out of my comfort zone, think outside the box, pay it forward and thrive not just on campus, but beyond,” says one former student.
A former parent says: “Kal showed us throughout the four years at Syracuse University that she is one of those people who sincerely cares about the students. With her integrity, compassion and a lot of creativity, students went to Kal to tell their story, their struggles, their fears and their dreams. Kal was always there to help encourage, guide and keep them on track.”
Excellence in Student Research
This award is given to undergraduate and graduate students who, during their time at Syracuse University, have engaged in collaborative research that has the potential to make a deep and lasting impact on the greater society. This year’s graduate student recipients are Adrienne Atterberry, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology in the Maxwell School, and Emily Judd G’20, a Ph.D. graduate in Earth sciences from the College of Arts and Sciences. Undergraduate recipients are Matthew Ambalavanar ’20, a biology graduate (pre-medicine track) from the College of Arts and Sciences; Naiya Jai Campbell ’20, a communication and rhetorical studies graduate from the College of Visual and Performing Arts; Tatiana Hernandez-Mitchell ’20, a psychology graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences; Megan Kelly Hu ’20, a Spanish graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences and marketing management graduate from the Whitman School; and Julia Riley ’20, a biochemistry and neuroscience graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Atterberry’s work examines the social and cultural effects of globalization. As such, she designed a dissertation project titled “Cultivating India’s New Transnational Elite: Parenting, Schooling and Belonging in the Age of Global IT.” This project examines the global crisscrossing movements of highly skilled professionals and their families. It specifically focuses on how such movement affects professionals’ parenting practices, as well as youths’ understanding of their identity and sense of national belonging. She is a recipient of the STEM Dissertation Fellowship given to select Ph.D. students in the sciences or social sciences and of a grant from the Fulbright-Nehru Student Research program in support of her field research in India. She has a published book chapter on student migration from India to the USA and has three papers in preparation. Atterberry has presented her work at regional, national and international conferences. In 2019, she was invited to the International Sociological Association Laboratory in Spain to participate in a week themed “Mobilities and Social Inequalities in a Globalized World.” Atterberry has also been an instructor of record for select courses and held teaching and research assistant roles at Syracuse University. She holds master’s degrees in media studies and sociology.
Judd defended her dissertation this year in the Department of Earth Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is broadly interested in what controls seasonal temperature variation at the Earth’s surface and how seasonality responds to global climate change—both in the past and, by extension, in our near future. She has an exceptional record of scholarship, with two lead-author and four co-authored journal articles and several more in progress. Judd is passionate about teaching, having received Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards from both the Graduate School and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and takes care to include underrepresented undergraduate students in her research. She is currently wrapping up a six-month internship at the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research, in Auckland, New Zealand, as part of a grant through the U.S. National Science Foundation to provide non-academic research experiences for graduate students. In July, she will begin a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the Smithsonian with the goal of reconstructing a history of Earth’s global temperature over the last 500+ million years.
Excellence in Student Research—Undergraduate Students
Ambalavanar was a Renée Crown University Honors student, Arts and Sciences College Marshal for the 2020 Convocation, a College of Arts and Sciences and Maxwell Scholar for 2020, a Founder’s Scholarship recipient and a Phanstiel Scholar. He was named a student of distinction in biology and received the George Wiley Award for Exceptional Performance in Organic Chemistry and the Donald G. Lundgren Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biology. Ambalavanar investigates mechanisms of exercise-related improvements in learning and memory in a rat model using behavioral and immunoblotting techniques. He is first author for one of the research teams abstracts for the premier international conference of the Society for Neuroscience, where he also presented his thesis work. Presenting at this conference is usually reserved for graduate and postdoctoral researchers. Ambalavanar is an active volunteer in various medical settings and has taken the initiative to shadow six physicians performing various medical procedures, including surgery. He will attend the Jacobs School of Medicine at the University of Buffalo in the fall to pursue an M.D. degree.
Naiya Jai Campbell
Campbell was a student in the Renée Crown University Honors Program and a Posse Scholar. She received a $5,000 grant from SOURCE to complete her thesis research project, which focused on the relationship between racial identity and media production. She interviewed African American media professionals, including Syracuse University alumni, and asked important questions about the role that race plays in the decision-making process and, importantly, how media professionals think about their race in relation to their profession. In the words of her nominator, Campbell “aspires for her interviews to be publicly accessible and become a resource for those who want to understand contemporary media through the lens of critical race theory as well as an inspiration for people who want to see changes in the industry.” Campbell says: “I had an amazing experience creating this project thanks to my advisor, Kendall Phillips in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and Kate Hanson from SOURCE.” Campbell plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry.
A McNair Scholar, Hernandez-Mitchell is interested in researching underserved populations and institutional racism and its consequences. She has immersed herself in understanding research methods. Her McNair project assessed experiences and well-being of students of color at Syracuse University in recent months. She specifically explored the connection between self-reports of racially biased interpersonal events and stress and mental health using both quantitative metrics and qualitative interviews. She is a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology and an Our Time Has Come Scholar. She presented posters at two internal poster events. She was the chapter president for the Zeta Epsilon chapter of the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. during the 2019-20 academic year. Hernandez-Mitchell will continue her education at Syracuse University in the fall as a master’s student in sociology with a concentration in power, capital and politics in the Maxwell School.
Megan Kelly Hu
Hu received awards from The SOURCE for her research on transnational and multicultural theater and performance practices. She investigated the impact of theater and performance on social justice, inclusivity and diversity. Her work was to culminate on April 16 with five 15-minute performances that would explore what it means to “Be Orange” within a diverse, equitable and multicultural university community. In addition to her research accomplishments, Hu won first place in the 2018 Winston Fisher Seminar business competition. For this competition, she created a company known as Speak that connected people with speech impediments to therapists using telecommunication. Hu plans to pursue a master’s degree in advertising in the Newhouse School in the fall.
Riley’s research was done in collaboration with Professor Carlos Castañeda and Professor Heidi Hehnly and centered on a ubiquitin-binding shuttle protein called UBQLN2. Her particular project sought to determine the role of UBQLN2 bimolecular condensate formation in cellular stress response, especially the ways in which ALS-linked mutations in UBQLN2 alter this mechanism. Riley developed exceptional and productive research skills in addition to demonstrating excellence as a writer and presenter. She was first author on an invited perspective piece in Molecular Cell and presented a poster at the ACC Meeting of the Minds conference. She was recipient of the 2020 Norma Slepecky Undergraduate Research Prize. She will pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.