Faculty honored for excellence in teaching at Shenango

Penn State Shenango recently announced the recipients of its full- and part-time teaching awards. Missa Eaton, assistant professor of psychology, was awarded the 2011 Leonard R. Riforgiato Memorial Teaching Award, while Jeanne Zingale, part-time instructor in theatre, received the 2011 Margaret Cunningham Foley Memorial Teaching Award.

The Leonard R. Riforgiato Memorial Teaching Award is a campus award bestowed on a full-time faculty member who has been chosen through a series of steps that include nominations and recommendation from both students and the nominee’s peers. Riforgiato, for whom the Shenango campus teaching award is named, was an associate professor in history and the first recipient of the Penn State Shenango Teaching Award. He taught at the Shenango campus for 26 years until he passed away in 1999.

Eaton joined the Shenango campus faculty in the fall of 2004 teaching Introductory Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Psychology of Gender, as well as a 400-level course on gender for the Human Development and Family Studies program.

According to one student nominator, “Words cannot express how much I have enjoyed taking Dr. Eaton's classes. She is an instructor that makes a student want to learn and is always willing to take time to help a student comprehend and be able to retain the information."

On campus, Eaton advises the Circle K International Club (which is a college-level Kiwanis Club). She previously was the adviser to the Shenango Students for Cultural Diversity Club, the Shenango Women's Commission, and was co-adviser of the Rainbow Lions Club. Through her involvement on the campus' Faculty Senate, specifically her role on its Research and Faculty Development Committee, Eaton helped to organize and host the campus' first teaching conference this past fall. She has also held the positions of vice chair and secretary of the Faculty Senate. The past several years, Eaton has been instrumental in sponsoring student research presentations in the fall and spring. Some of these students were ones she had advised in their student independent studies projects.

Outside the University, Eaton has sat on several boards including AWARE, the Sankofa House for Women, and the Mercer County School Health Advisory Board Council.

Eaton's research focus is on parent-child relationships and children's achievement motivation. Her work has been published and presented at numerous conferences and meetings throughout the United States. She has been interviewed and quoted in such publications as Health Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and Newsweek.

In 2010, Eaton was honored with the 2010 George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching -- one of six faculty members to be honored in the Penn State system.

Eaton received her bachelor's degree as an adult student from the University of Texas at Austin and her master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While studying and teaching at UIUC, Eaton was involved in extensive research as a research assistant, teaching assistant, and finally as an instructor.

The Margaret Cunningham Foley Memorial Teaching Award, which was presented to Jeanne Zingale, recognizes outstanding part-time faculty at the campus. This award was established in 1998. Margaret Foley was an English instructor at Penn State Shenango from 1967 to 1994. She died in 2000.

Zingale joined the Penn State Shenango faculty as a part-time instructor in the spring semester of 2002 teaching effective speech, introduction to theatre, gender and theatre, acting, women and theatre, history of American musical theatre, and history of theatre I.

According to one student, “I feel that I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Theatre 105 course on this campus. Dr. Zingale puts her whole heart into her class and makes learning the history of theatre fun and interesting. She also played a huge part in getting the Drama Club reestablished and back up and running with success."

Zingale also teaches part-time as an instructor in communication and theatre at Youngstown State University.

In addition to her vast teaching experience -- she also taught at Urbana University in Ohio; College of Business, Ohio University; Sinclair Community College in Ohio; and Kent State University in Ohio -- Zingale has worked in public relations, corporate communications and as a freelance editor/proofreader for various entities in Ohio.

Recently the campus' Drama Club, which Zingale advises, was awarded this year's Most Outstanding Club Award for its campus activities and community service projects.

Zingale graduated Magna Cum Laude from Capital University, Columbus, Ohio with a bachelor of arts in speech and English education and from Ohio State University with a master of arts in theatre. She went on to obtain her doctor of philosophy in theatre from Kent State University in Ohio. Both faculty members were presented with a plaque and a monetary award at this year’s Penn State Shenango Advisory Board dinner.

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Last Updated July 14, 2011