President, provost recognize 2019 Top Scholars


Being a professor can require thick skin. Before a faculty member publishes research, receives a grant or sees their research come alive in the classroom, they often go through a rigorous process of data collection and analysis, literature reviews, interviews and detailed, sometimes painful, peer reviews from their colleagues. Praise for a job well done goes a long way.

The annual Top Scholar Awards reception was held at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential House last month where President Mark B. Rosenberg and Provost Kenneth G. Furton recognized and celebrated 36 faculty members who over the past year had significant achievements in research and teaching.

“Tonight, we recognized the important and impactful work of teaching. Our top scholars are dedicated to collaboration, compromise and innovative, forward-thinking research and scholarship. We are grateful for their groundbreaking work and everything they do to help our students be successful,” President Mark B. Rosenberg said.

Top Scholar pins

The awardees have made significant contributions locally, nationally and internationally. Their work is impactful and life changing. University professors are detecting early signs and predictors of childhood obesity and ADHD, establishing partnerships with community organizations to provide students hands-on training with people with disabilities and collaborating on a grant that will help produce the next generation of geoscientists.

Psychology professor Anthony Dick, who conducts neuroimaging research on children to understand brain development, enjoyed mingling with some of the university’s brightest minds.

“The people who are being honored for these Top Scholar awards can probably be at any university doing the kind of work that they’re doing. It’s great to know that at FIU, you have this type of talent,” Dick said.

Chemistry professor Yi Xiao echoed Dick’s sentiment. She recently patented a series of new tests that can quickly and accurately confirm the presence of cocaine.

“I think of all of them as humble and hard working. You can feel the positive energy there,” Xiao said.

The following faculty members were recognized as Top Scholar Award recipients:

Aaron Mattfeld – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Agatha Caraballo – Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs

Anthony Dick – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Arif Sarwat – College of Engineering and Computing

Besiki Luka Kutateladze – Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs

Bianca Premo – Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs

Dana McMakin – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Dean Whitman – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Edgar Ramos Vieira – Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Eric Peterson – College of Communication, Architecture + the Arts

Erika Coles – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Francisco Fernandez-Lima – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Hoshang Unwalla – Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

James Burns – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Jamie Theobald – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Jennifer Rehage – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Jeremy Pettit – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Jessica Adler – Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs

Jonathan Comer – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Justin Carmel – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Kathy Quadokus-Fisher – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Katie Hart – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Laurel Collins – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Mary Jo Trepka – Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work

Nathaniel Cadle – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Pallab Mozumder – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Paulo Graziano – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Prem Chapagain – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Rene Price – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Ryan Meldrum – Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs

Steve Charman – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Sonia Underwood – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Tania Perez-Santiago – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Timothy Allen – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Victoria Burns – College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Yi Xiao – College of Arts, Sciences & Education