Faculty, alumni receive college’s annual awards
University Park, PA – The Schreyer Honors College recognized two Penn State faculty members and three Scholar alumni Thursday (Oct. 4) at its annual College Awards Ceremony and Luncheon at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.
The awards acknowledge teaching, advising, mentoring, and professional achievements. The award recipients included:
- Excellence in Honors Teaching: Dr. Judy Ozment, associate professor of chemistry, Penn State Abington
- Excellence in Honors Advising: Dr. David Gilmour, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, Eberly College of Science
- Outstanding Scholar Alumni Mentor: James Douglas ’04 AA, ’06g MBA, architectural designer and delineator with Shope Reno Wharton Architects
- Outstanding Scholar Alumna: Stella Tsai ’85 Lib, business litigation partner, Archer Greiner, P.C.
- Outstanding Scholar Alumnus: Dr. Casimer DeCusatis ’86 Eng, chief technology officer, IBM System Networking Strategic Alliances
Details on each award and recipient follow:
The Excellence in Honors Teaching Award recognizes an honors faculty member whose passion for teaching has inspired Scholars in and out of the classroom. Dr. Judy Ozment received the award as the instructor of Leadership JumpStart, one of the Schreyer Honors College’s signature courses. The honors course, taught during the fall semester, introduces selected first-year Schreyer Scholars to leadership principles and has them apply what they’ve learned by implementing team projects. Ozment has taught the class since 2005, at which time she was serving as the Schreyer Honors College’s associate dean. Since returning to teaching at Penn State Abington in fall 2010, Ozment has continued to return to University Park for the past three fall semesters to teach this class.
The Excellence in Honors Advising Award celebrates the commitment to learning and scholarship demonstrated by honors advisers. In addition to serving as the honors adviser in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dr. David Gilmour teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level in the Eberly College of Science. He has served on the thesis committees of more than 100 doctoral candidates. He also chairs his department’s Scholars Student Affairs Committee. In 2011, Dr. Gilmour was the recipient of the C. I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching and is the only faculty member in his department to have received the Tershak Memorial Teaching Award for Distinguished Teaching twice.
The Outstanding Scholar Alumni Mentor Award acknowledges Scholar alumni who have shared their time and experience with undergraduate students in the Schreyer Honors College through the college's Mentoring with Honors program. The award was established by the Scholar Alumni Society Board. James Douglas ’04 AA, ’06g MBA is an architectural designer and delineator for Shope Reno Wharton Architects, a Connecticut-based firm whose work includes residences, clubhouses, equestrian centers, schools, libraries, and museums. Before joining SRW, Douglas spent six years as a graduate architect/designer/illustrator for Reese, Lower, Patrick and Scott, Ltd., an architectural firm in Lancaster, Pa. One of Douglas’s architectural renderings has been selected by the American Society of Architectural Illustrators for an Award of Excellence and is being included as part of the society’s upcoming 2012 Architecture in Perspective, the pre-eminent exhibition of architectural illustration in the world. Mr. Douglas’ rendering was chosen from a field of nearly 400 entries from around the world. In addition to mentoring Schreyer Scholars through the Honors College’s Mentoring with Honors program, Douglas annually returns to campus to speak to architecture students.
The Outstanding Scholar Alumni Awards were established by the Scholar Alumni Society Board to recognize the professional achievements and service of Scholar alumni. The 2012 Outstanding Scholar Alumna Stella Tsai ’85 Lib is a business litigation partner at the Philadelphia office of Archer Greiner, P.C., with a practice concentrating in corporate governance and regulatory compliance. Tsai re-entered private practice after serving as chair of Administrative Law in the City of Philadelphia Law Department from 2000-2003 where she managed the attorneys representing child welfare and social service agencies. Tsai has served as a member of the independent City of Philadelphia Board of Ethics, which enforces the city’s campaign finance and ethics Laws, and as second vice-chair and Engagement Committee chair on the Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission, which was charged with updating the city’s zoning code. Tsai, who earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1988, received the Alumni Award of Merit from Penn’s Law Alumni Society and was named a Woman of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal. She was a member of the National Asian Pacific Bar Association’s inaugural class of Best Under 40 Lawyers.
The 2012 Outstanding Scholar Alumnus Dr. Casimer DeCusatis ’86 Eng is the chief technology officer for IBM System Networking Strategic Alliances with the distinction of being named an IBM Distinguished Engineer focused on networking and fiber optic communications. Dr. DeCusatis holds more than 110 patents, a number of which are ranked in the top five percent of contributions to IBM, earning him the distinction of Master Inventor within the company. Having created technology used by Fortune 1000 companies worldwide for disaster recovery, Dr. DeCusatis personally contributed to the design of data center recovery systems used during the September 11th attacks, Hurricane Katrina, tsunamis in Southeast Asia, blackouts in Italy, and the nuclear meltdown in Japan. He also has contributed to networks behind some of the world’s largest supercomputers, including the first multi-teraflop supercomputer and IBM’s Watson supercomputer (which in January 2011 defeated the human world champion on the game show Jeopardy!). Dr. DeCusatis, who earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is an author or editor of several books, more than 120 technical papers, and numerous book chapters. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Walston Chubb Award for Innovation presented by Sigma Xi, the scientific research society. Dr. DeCusatis is the founder/director of Hudson Valley FIRST Lego League, which supports annual robotics competitions for 1,000 students, ages 6 to 14, who are interested in engineering, computer programming, and technology. In 2000, when DeCusatis was named Innovator of the Year by EDN Magazine, he designated part of the award as a scholarship for a Penn State student enrolled in engineering science.