Faculty honored for excellence in teaching

Penn State Shenango recently announced the recipients of the 2008-09 full and part time teaching awards. Brandi Baros, assistant professor of biology, was awarded the 2009 Leonard R. Riforgiato Memorial Teaching Award, while Kathryn Lima, part-time instructor in economics, received the 2009 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 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.
 
Baros began teaching anatomy and microbiology for the University this past fall. According to one student nominator, “Dr. Baros has made it clear that she not only takes an interest in the academic well-being of students in her own class but makes an effort to see that they excel in their education as a whole. . . She makes a point to get to know her students on a personal level. . . Her office is always open. . .”
 
Baros received her bachelor of science degree in biology from Allegheny College in 1995 and, in 2002, she earned her doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. After receiving her doctorate, Baros taught at Allegheny College for a year as a visiting assistant professor in its Biology Department. Then, in 2003, she was hired as a full-time assistant professor at Allegheny where she taught organismal physiology and ecology, biology, microbiology, virology and food microbiology.
 
Throughout the course of this year, Baros was a guest speaker on WPIC’s Ron Errett talk show where she discussed various topics, including Salmonella in peanut butter and pistachios, the changes need to be made to the FDA and USDA and why, and steps that people can take to ensure the safety of their food. Her present independent laboratory research work focuses on food microbiology with special interest in the use of bacteriophages to detect and control the growth of unwanted organisms in food.

Baros keeps up-to-date on today’s important issues and is a current member of several professional organizations, including the American Chemical Society, the International Association for Food Protection, the Allegheny Branch of the American Society of Microbiology, the American Society for Microbiology, the Council on Undergraduate Research, and the Pittsburgh Bacteriophage Institute. She is also a member of the Crawford County Hazardous Materials Response Team, which is a non-profit, all-volunteer team trained to respond for chemical, biological, and radiological incidents.

 
According to Baros her first year at Penn State Shenango was great. “Everyone at the Shenango campus is so friendly, and it seems that everybody is on the same page philosophically—we’re all here to help the students get the education they need to make their lives better," Lima said. "The administration has been helpful and dedicated, and my fellow faculty members have been generous and incredibly supportive. The students are hard-working and patient, and they understand that the courses that I teach are tough and they rise to the challenge.”
 
The Margaret Cunningham Foley Memorial Teaching Award, which was presented to Kathryn Lima, recognizes outstanding part-time faculty at the campus.  This award was established in 1998. Foley was an English instructor at Penn State Shenango from 1967 to 1994. She passed away in 2000.

Lima has been teaching economics at Penn State Shenango for the last two years. She was hired in the fall of 2006 as a part-time instructor. According to one of her students, “Mrs. Lima goes above and beyond the intended expectation of a teacher. She is always willing to go the extra mile for her students. Although she teaches a difficult subject like economics, she thoroughly explains the main concepts to help us better understand the material.”
 
In addition to teaching, Lima is president of Faro Enterprises—a professional services company which offers workshops and training in the areas of public relations, fundraising, marketing, customer service, sales and media relations.

Lima graduated from Youngstown State University with a master of business administration. Her undergraduate degree, in elementary education and psychology, is from Southern Arkansas University. In addition to her formal degrees, she has continued to pursue her education and training and has received numerous certificates from various entities, including the University of Colorado’s School of Bank Marketing, the Disney Institute for Customer Service, the Institute for Charitable Giving, and the Foundation Center Continuing Education Certificates.

In the community, Lima is well-respected for her expertise. She is a member of numerous professional groups, including Athena International where she is a member of its board of directors. In 2006, she was recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business.

Lima said she has enjoyed teaching at the Shenango campus. “The interaction with the diverse mix of students of various ages and experiences is rewarding," she said. "In some ways, they have as much to teach me as I have to teach them."

Both Baros and Lima were presented with a plaque and a monetary award at this year’s Penn State Shenango Advisory Board dinner, which was held at the end of May.

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Last Updated July 02, 2009