Penn State Abington honors outstanding faculty and staff

Abington faculty

Faranak Pahlevani, associate professor of mathematics, received the annual Scholar Award for a full-time faculty member who has had significant scholarly or creative accomplishments in the past three years. 

Credit: Pam Brobst

Penn State Abington honors faculty and staff each spring for their teaching, research, and service to the campus community.

Chief Ogontz Award 

The Abington Student Government Association (SGA) chose Marissa Nicosia, associate professor of Renaissance literature, as this year's recipient. The Ogontz award is the highest honor faculty or staff can receive at Abington. It recognizes an individual who has gone beyond their job description and makes the campus community stronger. 

Kyleigh Byers, SGA secretary, nominated Nicosia and praised her dedication. 

“She has an amazing knowledge of literature and history. She has grace and patience with students while teaching and has great engagement due to her passion and methods. She cares greatly for students and the collective of learning that can happen in an open community,” Byers said. 

Faculty Recognition Awards 

Recipients are selected each year by the Abington Faculty Senate Awards Committee from nominations submitted by students, faculty, and staff. 

Scholar Award: Faranak Pahlevani, associate professor of mathematics  

Recognizes a full-time faculty member who has had significant scholarly or creative accomplishments in the past three years. 

Outstanding Teaching Award, Tenure-Line Faculty: Alisha Walters, assistant professor of 19th century British llterature and English 

Recognizes a tenure-line faculty member for excellent and effective teaching.  

Outstanding Teaching Award, Instructors and Lecturers: Jimmy J. Pack Jr., assistant teaching professor of English 

Recognizes faculty with an appointment as an instructor or lecturer for excellent and effective teaching.  

Award for Distinguished Faculty Service: Judith Ozment, associate professor of chemistry 

Recognizes a full-time faculty member for distinguished service to the Abington community. This service is above and beyond the job description and represents significant and sustained contribution to the welfare of the campus.  

Outstanding Faculty Advising and Mentoring Award: Melvin Gupton, assistant teaching professor of corporate communication 

Recognizes a full-time faculty member for superior and effective advising, mentoring, and support of students.  

Special Recognition Award: Terri Stiles, lecturer in English, ESL education, and speech communications  

Recognizes a part-time faculty member for an outstanding contribution. 

Dr. Nicosia has grace and patience with students while teaching and has great engagement due to her passion and methods.

—Kyleigh Byers , secretary, Student Government Association

Staff Awards

Recipients are selected each year from nominations by the campus community. 

Unsung Hero Award: Given to a staff member who is a team player, enhances the environment where they work, has strong attention to detail, and demonstrates a dependable, knowledgeable, and positive attitude. An unsung hero often goes beyond the job requirements for the good of the unit and the college.

Gina Montgomery, transportation manager, Business Services 

Outstanding Part-Time Staff Award: Given to a part-time employee who provides outstanding service. 

Gary Alexander, Testing Center, Academic Affairs

Jules L. Lear Staff Dedication Award: Established by Robert A. Lear, former president of the executive board of the Abington College Alumni Society, to honor his father. The award is for a staff member who has been at the college for 10 years and who exemplifies dedication and commitment to their position. Outstanding staff members who have low absenteeism and who are dedicated, dependable, and hardworking are eligible. 

Al Raju, systems administrator, Online and Information Technology 

Robert and Margaret Wiley Staff Educator Award: Given to a staff member who serves as an educator to students and colleagues. A staff educator is eager and willing to explain a new process to peers; is courteous and helpful in responding to customers; and teaches through his or her example how to create an atmosphere of learning, responsibility, respect, and positive relationships within the organization. A staff educator is not a faculty member and does not have to work in an area connected to academic programs. 

Sarah Bollinger Armentrout, academic adviser, lecturer of English 

Karen Wiley Sandler Staff/Faculty Collegiality Award: Given to a faculty or staff member who embodies qualities of teamwork, empathy, respect, consideration, helpfulness, creativity, and optimism. This award recognizes individuals with whom it is a pleasure to work and whose presence enhances the working environment. The individual selected manifests these qualities with colleagues across disciplines, work units, job classifications, and professional duties. 

Karen Gould, director, Counseling and Psychological Services 

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 more than 3,000 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.