Penn State Abington announces 2021 faculty and staff awards

Abington residence life

Keisha Johnson, director of Residence Life and Community Standards at Penn State Abington, received the Karen Wiley Sandler Staff/Faculty Collegiality Award. 

Credit: Pam Brobst

Every spring Penn State Abington honors faculty and staff for their teaching, research and service to the campus community. This year, 12 people were hailed for going above and beyond during the 2020-21 academic year.

Chief Ogontz Award

The Abington Student Government Association (SGA) chose Roy Robson, professor of history and religious studies, as this year's Chief Ogontz Award recipient. 

Megan Close, SGA president, said Robson was chosen because of his dedication to students.
"The student who nominated him said ... he is always there for his students, willing to help and answer any questions, both for classes and for undergraduate research projects. His dedication to his students is unmatched and is the very thing that Penn State embodies when it comes to educators," she said.

Robson has been at Abington for six years.

“When I first arrived at Penn State Abington, I immediately knew it was a special place. It’s humbling to be honored by our students, who make Abington a warm and welcoming academic community,” Robson said.

The Ogontz Award is the highest award for faculty or staff to receive at Abington. It recognizes an individual who has gone beyond his or her job description and makes the Abington community stronger.

Faculty awards

The Academic Environment Committee at Abington selected the following faculty members as recipients of this year's faculty awards. 

  • Outstanding Faculty Advising/Mentoring Award: Judith Newman, associate professor, human development and family studies 
  • Award for Distinguished Faculty Service: Christine Krewson, assistant teaching professor, chemistry  
  • Outstanding Teaching Award (FT1): Stephen Cohen, lecturer, English 
  • Outstanding Teaching Award (TL): Kevin Cannon, professor of chemistry 
  • Scholar Award: Kenneth Johnson, professor of mathematics 
  • Special Recognition Award (FT2): Stefani Abreu, instructor, kinesiology 

“The Academic Environment Committee recognizes all Penn State Abington faculty for their exceptional work in helping students succeed during this global pandemic. Faculty worked very hard to adapt their courses for remote delivery in a short period of time. They successfully navigated complex technological and logistical barriers so that every student had a chance to learn and succeed,” Ahmed Y. Nuriye, assistant professor of chemistry and co-chair of the Academic Environment Committee, said.

Staff Advisory Council awards

  • Unsung Hero Award: Patti Scherphorn, administrative assistant, Academic Affairs
  • Robert and Margaret Wiley Staff Educator Award: Kaitlin Wolfert, coordinator, Center for Student Achievement
  • Part-Time Staff Award: Daniel Magerman, English as a second language tutor, Office of Global Programs
  • Jules L. Lear Staff Dedication Award: Donna Koenig, assistant to the finance officer
  • Karen Wiley Sandler Staff/Faculty Collegiality Award: Keisha Johnson, director of Residence Life and Community Standards

“Penn State Abington staff worked in ways they never thought possible due to the pandemic.  The winners of the awards this year have done an outstanding job to support our faculty, staff, and students during this unexpected and uncertain year,” Melinda Kennedy, regional human resources consultant and head of the Staff Advisory Council, said.

About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With about 3,700 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 23 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more.