2019 Lehigh University Awards

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Monday, May 27, 2019
Kathleen Hutnik, Paul J. Franz ʼ44 Award

The Paul Franz Award is one of the Lehigh University Alumni Association’s highest and most distinct honors. It recognizes a member of the Lehigh’s staff who has combined excellence of performance with a service of dedication and devotion to Lehigh University.


In the many nominations Kathleen received, “tireless,” “dedicated,” and “caring” were written frequently. Nominators mentioned her service on committees and time spent developing programs to better serve the graduate student community. One nomination noted:


“[Kathleen] works hard to make sure that graduate students have a voice at tables across the administration. She goes the extra mile in every way she possibly can. She cares, I mean really cares, about each individual graduate student and their needs. She helps enact programs, she learns names, and she talks to you like a person. She makes sure that we are happy and well fed.”



Kristen Jellison, Deming Lewis Award

The Deming Lewis Award is named for Lehigh’s tenth President. This award is given by the 10-year reunion class and is presented to the professor who they feel has most significantly influenced their educational experience.


Professor Jellison is an associate professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. She earned her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, and her Ph.D. from MIT. Her nominators described her as “Fantastic. A great and inspiring teacher.”


Dr. Jellison has received the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and has a grant from that organization. She’s also a co-adviser of Lehigh’s Engineers Without Borders Program.

Dan Frangopol, Hillman Faculty Award

The Hillman Faculty Award recognizes a faculty member who has distinguished themselves through long-term service to the institution. In a university full of renowned faculty, Professor Frangopol stands out as a leader in his field. His research has changed the world and made it a better place.


Dr. Frangopol’s main research interests are in the development and application of probabilistic concepts and methods to civil and marine engineering. His research, teaching, and service have garnered numerous awards for distinguished and long-term excellence in research that has brought national and international recognition to Lehigh University.

Joan Brosious, Housing Services, John W. and Barbara R. Woltjen Award

The John W. and Barbara R. Woltjen Award is presented annually to a member of the nonexempt staff in the Finance and Administration area who showed commitment and dedication to Lehigh and demonstrated exceptional service to the campus community.


Joan is cheerful and upbeat even in the busy season. She is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and makes sure things always reflect positively on the Housing Services Office. As a responder to the Lehigh Parent’s Facebook Page, she has been referred to as “St. Joan” by parents who look to her for advice and comfort. She responds based on her previous experience as well as her knowledge of parent and student issues and concerns. Joan represents Lehigh very well in this regard even though it technically is not part of her specific job responsibilities.


Anne Dennis, Nonexempt ERAC Distinguished Service Award

The ERAC Distinguished Service award acknowledges one exempt staff member and one nonexempt staff member annually. The awards are based on nominations by fellow staff members. The recipients have contributed significantly to the university by continuously improving the work environment; possessing extraordinary leadership qualities; demonstrating Lehigh’s Core Values; and working on behalf of Lehigh within the community.


Anne Dennis is always striving to organize the written procedures used in the processing and leads the team when there are questions. She keeps excellent notes and is always helpful to her peers. Her nominators stated that she is the epitome of Lehigh’s Core Values.


Kathryn Welsh Radande, Exempt ERAC Distinguished Service Award

Kathryn Welsh Radande takes the lead in handling some of the most difficult international scenarios involving students and bringing them home safely and soundly. She has genuine concern for their well-being and a deep commitment to every student’s educational pursuit abroad. 

Jae Bum Kim, Carl & Ingeborg Beidleman Research Award in Business & Economics

The Carl & Ingeborg Beidleman Research Award in Business & Economics recognizes quality research and refereed scholarship in business and applied economic disciplines. Professor Kim has a very active pipeline of research projects. He has also had significant publications recently, including “Valuation Implications of Unconditional Accounting Conservatism: Evidence from Analysts’ Target Prices” in Contemporary Accounting. Undoubtedly, Professor Kim will have many future research successes.


Suzanne Edwards, Christian & Mary Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching

The Lindback Award recognizes a member of the teaching staff for distinguished teaching performed during the academic year. Professor Edwards is an exceptional teacher who has taught a wide variety of courses within the English Department and is always willing to design new courses to shape the best possible educational experience for her students. Her innovative approaches to pedagogy stand out.


Haiyan Jia, Lehigh Early Career Award for Distinguished Teaching

The Lehigh Early Career Award for Distinguished Teaching is given to a member of the teaching staff for distinguished teaching performed during the academic year. Professor Jia has an impressive number of teaching accomplishments in just the handful of years she has been at Lehigh. In addition to developing several new courses, she has also developed innovative modules for use in other courses.


Kathleen Dugan, The Louis and Helen Zirkel Library Staff Award

The Louis and Helen Zirkel Library Staff Award recognizes outstanding performance by a member of the exempt or nonexempt staff of the University Libraries. Kathleen’s commitment to the university, and most especially to Linderman Library, is without question. As a circulation desk supervisor, she is the go-to person for everything Linderman; the pride she takes in her work is evident on a daily basis. In addition, Kathleen’s commitment to making our campus a more inclusive and welcoming environment is beyond compare. She is a tireless advocate for making Lehigh a better place.


Grace Caskie, Perry A. Zirkel Award for Distinguished Teaching in Education

The recipient of this year's Perry A. Zirkel Award for Distinguished Teaching in Education, Professor Caskie is well regarded by her students as rigorous, yet supportive. Students often report an excitement surrounding statistics that they never imagined possible after taking her classes. As one of the most senior faculty in the Counseling Psychology program, she demonstrates her dedication to Lehigh and the College of Education every day.

Kerry Wilson, Perry & Carol Zirkel Nonexempt Staff Award

The Perry & Carol Zirkel Nonexempt Staff Award recognizes outstanding performance and contributions by a member of the non-exempt staff. Kerry is responsible for on-phone and in-person customer service in the Bursar’s Office. She is described by co-workers as being very knowledgeable, able to easily answer a wide range of questions. Kerry makes sure that callers understand her explanations and don’t just feel placated by a nice voice on the phone.


Linda Harbrecht, Lehigh University Exempt Staff Distinguished Service Award

The Lehigh University Exempt Staff Distinguished Service Award recognizes a member of the exempt staff who has contributed in significant ways to the Lehigh community over a number of years. Linda goes above and beyond her job description to contribute to the university. She approaches every task with a positive attitude and wonderful sense of humor. She tackles projects with grace and unfailing positivity. Linda is generous with her time and institutional knowledge, and is willing to contribute to Lehigh in whatever way she can.


Brandon Krick and Kelly Schultz, Libsch Early Career Research Award

The Libsch Early Career Research Award is shared this year by two faculty demonstrating tremendous promise in their research areas. Professor Krick has amassed 42 articles in print, 5 papers in conference proceedings, and 85 conference presentations. He holds 6 patents, and has over 850 citations — all of which are outstanding for someone at this stage of his career. Equally impressive are the awards his students have received: 5 of his Ph.D. students and 4 of his undergraduates have been recognized for their research.


Professor Schultz has positioned herself at the forefront internationally in the area of rheology, in particular, at the interdisciplinary junction between stem-cell biology and its interaction with micro-particle gel rheology. Her accomplishments to date identify her as a leading and highly creative experimentalist. You can learn more about Dr. Schultz’s research in this video.


Nelson Tansu and Peter Zeitler, Libsch Research Award

Professor Tansu is an internationally renowned scholar whose work has garnered more than 6,000 citations. He was instrumental in setting up a key research facility in nanofabrication and material synthesis – the Smith Family Laboratory for Optical Technologies – during his first two years as an assistant professor. His federally funded research over the past 15 years totals more than $13 million.


Professor Zeitler is an internationally recognized scholar who has attracted more than $7.6 million in grant money to Lehigh University. Some of his projects were large collaborative research efforts in Asia in which he was the lead scientist. He was recently awarded a Lehigh Faculty Innovations Grant to better understand aspects of Mongolian tectonics.

Sirry Alang, Alfred Noble Robinson Faculty Award

The Alfred Noble Robinson Faculty Award recognizes faculty who have shown extraordinary enthusiasm for Lehigh’s goals and priorities. Professor Alang has contributed so meaningfully to the lives of so many students, and has enriched the work of the Pride Center in a number of capacities. She served as co-chair of the Faculty/Staff Pride Network this year, she serves on the Pride Faculty Council, co-chaired the Queer in Africa Conference, and consistently shows up to events and initiatives across campus. Professor Alang’s impact is felt far beyond her own department, and we are all better having been in her presence.


Katharine Targett, Alfred Noble Robinson Staff Award

The Alfred Noble Robinson Staff Award is given to a staff member who has shown extraordinary enthusiasm for Lehigh’s goals and priorities. As the Sustainability Program Coordinator, Katharine surpassed her initial charge of “supporting departments” by proactively leading an interdepartmental effort. Her initiative helped map operational processes and identified areas for improvement in the university’s sustainability strategies.


Vincent Grassi, Stabler Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Stabler Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates an exceptional talent for encouraging students to understand alternatives and to make choices, and who knows how to extract from students the full measure of their potential to learn. His nominators say that Professor Grassi’s passion for his profession is evident in every second of his teaching. His personal investment in the success of each of his students exceeds all expectations.


Therese Loew, Hillman Nonexempt Staff Award

The Hillman Staff Awards recognize one exempt and one nonexempt staffer for advancing the interests of the university; sustained excellence in performance that has major impact on advancing the department/university goals; and exemplary initiative and service. As the Graduate Coordinator in Psychology, Teri managed to keep everything running smoothly with the department scattered between many buildings during renovations. She played an important role over the past year as a new tuition tool used to collect data from students was rolled out and provided crucial feedback to make the system work better.


Karen Sicinski, Hillman Exempt Staff Award

Karen works in the Health and Wellness Center, and her knowledge, helpfulness, and kindness are exemplary. She is an excellent resource and a team player. She is able to streamline the medical needs of our international students and help them become compliant. She is the key person organizing the STD clinic, making sure all specimens are handled properly and all students receive their results quickly and efficiently. None of these tasks are easy, but Karen handles them with the utmost professionalism.


Henry Korth, Hillman Excellence Award for Undergraduate Advising

The Hillman Excellence Award for Undergraduate Advising recognizes exemplary student advising: guiding students through their exploration and pursuit of an academic course of study and assisting them in the development and/or completion of research related to their degree program. Professor Korth has guided his students through a very specific course of study that has close applications to the Computer Science & Business program, for which he also serves as the co-director. He has taken the initiative to provide opportunities to those students interested in pursuits outside of the classroom to further their passions.


Natasha Vermaak, Hillman Excellence Award for Graduate Advising

The recipient of the Hillman Award for Graduate Advising, Professor Vermaak has a passion for promoting women’s participation in STEM fields. She involved her students with several outreach programs that she organized with local Girl Scout troops and Lehigh’s CHOICES program to foster middle school girls’ interest in pursuing careers in STEM. She also encourages students to take the lead in promoting equal opportunity for women in science and engineering.  



Danielle Lindemann, Robert C. and Virginia L. Williamson Award

The Williamson Award for Social Research was established to recognize the highest quality, most innovative, and substantial work of scholarship by a social science faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences. The prize alternates between books one year and articles the next. This year, consideration was given to articles published in 2017 and 2018. The award committee was unanimous in selecting this year’s winner, Danielle Lindemann, Assistant Professor in Sociology and Anthropology. The award was presented for her article Going the Distance: Individualism and Interdependence in the Commuter Marriage, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.