President Mark B. Rosenberg and Provost Kenneth G. Furton honored the 2021 Top Scholars with a virtual ceremony last month. The group comprised 30 faculty members who generated outstanding work in areas including teaching and engagement, award-winning creative work and significant grants.
“We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for representing those who value the life of the mind. And we want to urge you to continue what you’re doing because you are excelling,” Rosenberg said.
The Top Scholars are normally treated to an in-person ceremony at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential House, where they receive pins honoring their achievements. This year’s event was virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the beginning of the ceremony, Furton said he hopes next year’s ceremony can be in person. He also expressed his deep gratitude to the faculty.
“Your efforts and that of your colleagues have helped the university achieve unprecedented levels of success in terms of our reputation and our rankings,” Furton said. “We just had our rankings come out for graduate programs in U.S. News and World Report. We moved up from nine programs to now 15 programs in the Top 50."
Vice President for Faculty Leadership and Success Kathleen Wilson hosted the event and gave each faculty member time to introduce themselves to the group. Faculty were also invited to provide questions, comments and concerns regarding how FIU can support its faculty even better.
Researchers and teachers who attended represented the different colleges from across the university. For new rising stars like Clinton Jenkins, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment, it was a chance to meet more of his colleagues.
“I’m fairly new to FIU, so I’m really excited to be here,” he said.
Jenkins also noted that many of his international co-authors for his award-winning publication were still struggling significantly with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hopefully they will do well and we can all get back to producing the science and education we all love to do,” Jenkins said.
Other faculty honored at the ceremony included those who went above and beyond to engage students over the last year.
Associate Teaching Professor Tovah Bender was honored for her work to encourage connection between students and their professors and peer tutors through a writing of history program. At a time when humanities courses across the country were struggling with enrollment, FIU’s Department of History numbers did not drop a bit, she said.
“One of the things I remember learning early on in my time here was one of the biggest indicators of student success was whether or not you make a friend in your first semester,” Bender said.
Here is the full list of Top Scholars for 2021.
Shekhar Bhansali - College of Engineering & Computing
Martha Pelaez - College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Denise Duhamel - College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Hilary Landorf - College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Clinton Jenkins - College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Rebecca Friedman - Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs
Jose M. Eirin-Lopez - College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Hebin Li - College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Arindam Gan Chowdhury - College of Engineering & Computing
Richard Olson - Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs
Carolin Lusby - School of Hospitality & Tourism Management
Zachary Danziger - College of Engineering & Computing
Trudy Gaillard - Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Monique Ross - College of Engineering & Computing
Cyra Choudhury - College of Law
Giri Narasimhan - College of Engineering and Computing
Cheryl Holder - Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Henry Rueda Coronel - College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts
Iqbal Akhtar - Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs
Manuel Gomez – College of Law
Jorge Camilo Mora – Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Tovah Bender - Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs
Anthony Miyazaki – College of Business
Uma Swamy – College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Lisa Cain – School of Hospitality & Tourism Management
Terrence Peterson - Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs
Camila Granados Cifuentes - College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Charity Watson - College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Selcuk Uluagac - College of Engineering & Computing
Jeremiah Hower - College of Arts, Sciences & Education