Three honored for commitment to diversity in College of Agricultural Sciences

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Three individuals have received the College of Agricultural Sciences' 2016 Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award.

The award recognizes distinctive and outstanding teaching, research, extension or creative work that advances diversity in the college. Marilyn Corbin, Penn State Extension assistant director of programs; Ephraim Muchada Govere, director of the Soil Research Cluster Lab in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management; and Pamela Hankey-Giblin, professor of immunology in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, were recognized during a recent awards ceremony.

Marilyn Corbin

"Corbin is adept at working with people from diverse backgrounds," said her nominator. "She shows care, concern and respect for employees, students, extension educators and community members."

This appreciation for diversity has motivated her leadership of programs such as Dining with Diabetes, StrongWomen, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, and PROSPER, an initiative aimed at preventing youth substance abuse.

Corbin provided leadership for establishing the national Change Agent States for Diversity Consortium initiative and served as the president of the Association of Leadership Educators, for which she championed diversity and inclusion.

With a commitment to promoting the values of diversity at all levels of program planning and operations, Corbin has received more than $20.8 million in grants to implement extension programs in Pennsylvania that have emphasized nutrition, health and family-life education.

She has served as an advisor to the Penn State College of Medicine ProWellness Committee, Penn State Cancer Network, the Goodling Center for Family Literacy and the Penn State Children, Youth and Families Consortium. She initiated the Penn State Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers Workshop.

Through her leadership, Corbin has brought to fruition several publications exploring diversity in extension, including, "The Benefits of Diversity in the Cooperative Extension Program: How Communities Can Respond to Needs across a Diverse Community."

Corbin also has built partnerships to improve the effectiveness of Penn State Extension and to ensure that its programs meet the needs of diverse state citizens and extension employees. She also developed a working relationship with faculty and staff at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico, to establish youth development programming.

Ephraim Muchada Govere

"He has demonstrated commitment to fostering an environment in which the values of diversity and multiculturalism are understood, developed and promoted," wrote his nominator. "That is shown by the cultural events Govere organizes for his department, the staff he has hired and the university events in which he has been involved."

However, his promotion of diversity goes beyond the college and the university. He has given cultural talks to every elementary school in State College through the Global Connections international speakers program, and he has participated in cultural-diversity panel discussions at Mount Nittany Medical Center to help healthcare providers develop cultural skills to provide care for an increasingly diverse Penn State student, faculty and staff population.

Govere, who teaches AG160: Introduction to Ethics and Issues in Agriculture each summer, was an invited speaker for the Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exposition in 2015. His topic was "What is Your Cultural Competence Level as a Laboratory Manager?" Since he gave the presentation, he has been asked to contribute diversity articles by several groups, including the Association of Laboratory Managers.

He also published an academic paper titled "Toward Culturally Competent Scientists: As International Collaboration Becomes Increasingly Common, Researchers Must Work to Limit Their Own Biases and Let Cultural Diversity Enhance Their Work." He was recently approached by the commissioning editor of the Analytical Scientist — a publication distributed worldwide — to write a diversity paper addressing cross-cultural competence.

Pamela Hankey-Giblin

Colleagues who nominated her for the award noted that Hankey-Giblin, a faculty member in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences for more than 18 years, "has developed an exemplary record in promoting diversity in undergraduate and graduate education."

A longtime member of the admission committee for the pathobiology graduate program in her department, "she has been a powerful advocate for improving recruitment of women and underrepresented minorities to the graduate program and increasing the diversity of graduate students accepted."

As coordinator for the undergraduate immunology and infectious disease major, Hankey-Giblin has worked with prospective students and their parents to ensure that women and underrepresented minorities are welcomed into the major and receive the necessary support to succeed. She also is the director of the Bridges to the Doctorate Program, a National Institutes of Health-funded collaboration between Penn State and Alcorn State University, a historically black university.

In addition, Hankey-Giblin is co-director of an NIH-funded T32 predoctoral student-training program in animal models of inflammation. Although this program is not strictly for minority students, she has promoted the inclusion of women and minorities among the trainees chosen for the program and ensured their presence by securing matching funds from various sources within the university.

As the University Park director for INTREPID (Introduction of a Novel Tiered Research Experience Promoting Inclusion and Diversity), Hankey-Giblin oversaw the undergraduate research program administered by the Penn State Hershey Medical School. The program brought inner-city minority undergraduate students to Penn State for a research experience over two summers.

Each recipient of the 2016 William Henson Diversity Achievement Award receives a certificate of achievement, recognition on a permanent plaque mounted in the lobby of the Agricultural Administration Building and a $500 stipend.

Finalists for the award also included Kathryn Pletcher, administrative support coordinator in the Office for Undergraduate Education; Amber Yutzy and Heather Weeks, Penn State Extension dairy educators; and Thomas Murphy, education and strategy manager with the Penn State Extension Marcellus Education Team.

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Last Updated May 09, 2016