Faculty awards presentation
Faculty Awards celebrate service, scholarship, teaching, mentorship
May 09, 2024, by Jennifer Spira
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Each year, Bryant recognizes faculty members in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, and School of Health and Behavioral Sciences for excellence in teaching, commitment to scholarship, and dedication to service.

This year’s recipients are:

College of Arts and Sciences

The Excellence in Teaching Award: Joan Zaretti
Lecturer of History, Literature, and the Arts Joan Zaretti, Ph.D., was honored for consistently creating innovative assignments and immersive experiences for her students. As one student wrote: “It’s evident that she cares about each of her students and wants everyone to know that they have value to contribute with their presence, their words, and their creations.” She encourages students to step outside their comfort zone by engaging in field work, site visits, and creating and displaying their works to the broader Bryant community. Colleagues also commended Zaretti for tirelessly investing in the development of other instructors. 

The Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award: Julie Volkman
In bestowing this award, Dean Veronica McComb, Ph.D., declared, “If you ever need a refresher on how to love what you do, simply speak with this colleague.” Associate Professor of Communication and Language Studies Julie Volkman, Ph.D., was lauded for her infectious passion for research. In the past three years, she has published six peer reviewed journal articles and three book chapters, is a co-investigator on a six-figure grant through the American Heart Association, advised eight undergraduate and seven graduate research projects, served on four editorial boards, and reviewed articles for seven journal publications. 

Faculty Service Award: Ramesh Mohan
Professor of Mathematics and Economics Ramesh Mohan, Ph.D., was honored for his steadfast commitment to his program and to students. A specialist in economic analytics and visualization, Mohan has chaired and participated in multiple hiring committees to recruit new talent to both his program and general education. He also put his creativity and entrepreneurial spirit into action by organizing two original Bryant events, Data Visualization Day and the Storytelling Symposium. One nominator said, “Never lacking in ideas and enthusiasm, he takes every opportunity to promote the skills and talents of his students and colleagues.”

College of Business

The Excellence in Teaching Award: Mehreen Pasha 
Lecturer of Marketing and Management Mehreen Pasha ’09MBA is a teaching fellow at the Center for Teaching Excellence, where she is developing a teaching module on experiential learning. In her fifth year as advisor to DECA, she is also a regular presence at open house events and the IDEA program. She has worked in many different industries globally, such as banking, pharmaceutical, and insurance, and her research focuses on retail management and marketing.

The Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award: ML Tlachac
Since joining Bryant in August 2022, Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Analytics ML Tlachac, Ph.D., has generated a volume of research: seven journal articles, two book chapters, and 11 conference papers. Among Tlachac’s publications are contributions to prestigious journals such as the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, which has an acceptance rate of less than 15 percent. The professor has also been a prominent presence at major conferences, delivering three talks. 

Faculty Service Award: Mara Derderian ’93 
Lecturer of Finance Mara Derderian ’93 was honored for her tireless mentoring of students in finance, including the launch of her Women in Finance initiative this academic year. That work includes a three-day program for women undergraduates in New York, as well as networking with Bryant alumni and high school women to create a mentorship pipeline for women in finance. Her passion for this population has led to media placements with CBS News and Poets & Quants, among others.  

Outstanding Research in International Business: Crystal Jiang
This $5,000 award was created by an anonymous donor with the aim of promoting impactful research in international business. Professor of Management Crystal Jiang, Ph.D., received the honor thanks to more than two decades of business and teaching experience. She is a featured international business scholar, an executive board member of the Academy of International Business’s Northeast Chapter, serves in editorial roles at four journals, and has more than 60 published manuscripts and conference proceedings. 

School of Health and Behavioral Sciences 

The Excellence in Teaching Award: Linday Amper
Lecturer of Psychology Lindsay Amper, Ph.D., was honored for infusing her courses with experiential learning. In courses including “Counseling Theory and Practice,” every student heads into the field for a mini-internship at sites like DCYF and Thrive Behavioral Health, often leading to long-term internships and post-graduation jobs. Students laud her efforts, sharing, “Her compassion and willingness to help each and every student is amazing.” 

The Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award: Chris Reid
Over the past two years, Professor of Biological and Biomedical Sciences Chris Reid, Ph.D., has published seven articles in high-impact journals, each featuring a different Bryant undergrad. In that same time, he mentored 11 students in his lab, most of whom attended research conferences. His work in shepherding students is transformational and has led to their graduate school admission at the University of Delaware, University of Georgia, UCLA, and Florida State University, among others. Reid was also recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant of $390,000 to support his antimicrobial discovery work; he is working with a biotech company to pursue formulating the compound. 

Faculty Service Award: Robert Patalano
A key player in Earth Day and climate change symposiums at Bryant, Lecturer of Biological and Biomedical Sciences Robert Patalano, Ph.D., was recognized for his research, connecting students to impactful conferences and internships, and serving as faculty lead for SustainUs, the ongoing effort to increase sustainability on campus. Kirsten Hokeness, Ph.D., director of the School of Health and Behavioral Sciences, shared, “Bob has worked tirelessly to reimagine what environmental science looks like at Bryant. He is a force to be reckoned with and gives tirelessly.”

Finally, a special Mentor of the Year award was conferred on John Quinn, Ph.D., a professor of mathematics who has been teaching at Bryant for more than 30 years. Quinn was the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award a year ago.


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