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Faculty Awards honor service, scholarship, teaching, and mentorship
Jun 02, 2023, by Staff Writer
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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:

School of Health and Behavioral Sciences

The Excellence in Teaching Award: Kristin Scaplen
Assistant Professor of Psychology Kristin Scaplen, Ph.D., was honored for her dedication to her students and the art of teaching in the classroom and research lab. In the words of Katelyn Calderone ’24 who works with Scaplen in the laboratory, “Her knowledge and love for the field of neuroscience shines in her lectures and challenges students to enhance their knowledge in an applied manner. Significantly, she demonstrates genuine care about both the understanding and performance of all of her students, making it well known that she is always available inside and outside of class.”

The Excellence in Research and Publication Award: Heather Lacey
Associate Professor of Psychology Heather Lacey, Ph.D., published four peer-reviewed journal articles in the past year in high impact journals — all of which included Bryant students as co-authors. Her work spanned a range of topics, including risk perception in health decision making, artificial intelligence, and improving cognitive processes via design thinking. External reviewers characterize her as “a thoughtful and independent scholar with high scientific standards, who is equally adept at presenting her scientific work for a prestigious journal or conference, working with health experts, training undergraduates, or affecting change in the broader community.”

The Outstanding Service Award: Jennifer Hurrell
When Bryant’s School of Health and Behavioral Sciences (SHBS) launched last June, Clinical Associate Professor of Biological and Biomedical Sciences Jennifer Hurrell, Ph.D., took over as chair of what was then the science and technology department. Hurrell spearheaded the science department as it transitioned into the new SHBS, providing support in establishing new curriculums, leading faculty search committees, securing articulation agreements and internship sites, managing compliance issues, helping to oversee the construction of the new lab space and other science lab renovations, serving on contract committees, and managing organizational changes.


College of Arts and Sciences

The Outstanding Service Award: Laura Beaudin
Associate Professor of Economics Laura Beaudin, Ph.D., has been involved in several key initiatives since joining the Bryant faculty in 2013. From university-wide involvements such as the Committee on Women’s Initiatives and Innovation and Design Experience for All (IDEA) Leadership Team to department-level activities in assessment and curriculum revitalization, Professor Beaudin demonstrates a commitment to what matters most: the experience and success of her students, perhaps best signified in her leadership of the College Honors Program.

The Excellence in Research and Publication Award: Martha Kuhlman
Professor and Chair of English and Cultural Studies Martha Kuhlman, Ph.D., has earned international recognition for her sustained scholarship on comics and graphic narratives. Always steadily productive in research and publication, Kuhlman recently published a second co-edited scholarly collection, Comics of the New Europe: Reflections and Intersections, which highlights a previously unexamined area within global comics studies, and she has been appointed by Cambridge University Press as an editor for a new series of scholarly volumes on the graphic narrative. Prominent scholars in the field describe her contributions as “brilliant” and “exceptional.”

The Excellence in Teaching Award: Allison Shwachman Kaminaga
With the ability to make material accessible, interesting, and even inspiring at both the introductory and advanced level, Lecturer of Economics Allison Shwachman Kaminaga, Ph.D., is described by pupils as an exceptional professor who genuinely cares about her students. In addition to her classroom instruction, she regularly organizes co-curricular learning activities such as the Applied Economics Competition, the FED Challenge, and the pre-college Economics camp she organizes in collaboration with Service Award recipient Laura Beaudin.


College of Business

The Excellence in Teaching Award: A. Can Inci
Known for the intellectual rigor he brings to his courses, Professor of Finance A. Can Inci’s students say he makes them work harder than many other professors, but they love what they learn in class. Over the course of his 15 years at Bryant, Inci’s consistently high teaching evaluations in difficult courses reflect his commitment to his pupils and academic excellence. His signature “Innovations in Contemporary Finance” course aids students in developing the technical and financial sophistication they need to solve critical problems and his recently published book, Contemporary Issues in Quantitative Finance, an introduction to financial engineering for upper-level finance students and a cutting-edge reference for financial service practitioners, has earned praise.

The Outstanding Service Award: Suhong Li
Professor and Chair of Information Systems and Analytics Suhong Li, Ph.D., has been the motivating spirit in reinvigorating and revamping the department to its position at the cutting edge of data science and analytics and has spearheaded the campaign to update her department’s technological infrastructure. Over the past year, she has been instrumental in the establishment of two different masters programs, one in Data Science and the other in Business Analytics, demonstrating commitment, dedication, and creative thinking. In addition, Li has worked with the School of Health and Behavioral Sciences to help develop and launch the interdisciplinary undergraduate program in Healthcare Analytics.

The Excellence in Research and Publication Award: Zahra Heydarifard
Since joining the Bryant faculty in Fall 2022, Assistant Professor of Management Zahra Heydarifard, Ph.D., has had two articles published in the prestigious Journal of Psychology. One of the articles was also recognized by national conferences as a best in division paper with a practical implications award and the other was featured in the Boston Globe. Heydarifard also has several manuscripts that are currently in review at some of the top research journals in her field such as Journal of Organizational Behavior and Personnel Psychology.

Outstanding Research Award in International Business: Cathy Zheng
Every year a special award, established by an anonymous donor to promote impactful research in the area of international business, is given to a faculty member that has written a significant publication. This year the award goes to Associate Professor of Finance Cathy Zheng, Ph.D., for her paper, “Does social trust affect international contracting? Evidence from foreign bond covenants,” published in the Journal of International Business Studies, which is widely regarded as the number one journal in the field of international business. The article contributes to the international business literature by providing new insights into the role of informal institutions (social trust) in cross-border debt contracting.

A special Mentor of the Year Award was also conferred to Peter Nigro
Over the course of his career at Bryant, Peter J. Nigro, Ph.D., Bryant's Sarkisian Chair in Financial Services, has worked tirelessly on behalf of his students. He has been an important guide to his fellow educators as well, several of which praised him in a joint letter that was read by Professor of History Bradford Martin, Chair of the Faculty Development Committee, at this year's final faculty meeting. They note, “Peter has been a great mentor to us since the first day we joined Bryant. He always makes himself available to answer any question, to listen to us deeply, and to guide us through many of the challenges we have been through. He has helped us shape our career here at Bryant, be better researchers and teachers, and better members of the Bryant community.” 

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