The Harvard Extension School has announced the following student prize and faculty award winners for 2007.
Commencement Speaker Prize
The Commencement Speaker Prize is awarded at two of the three Harvard Extension School graduation ceremonies held each June. Winner Jenna E. Brown A.L.B., cum laude will deliver the Commencement address at the undergraduate degree ceremony and will speak on the topic “A Road Less Traveled.” Winner Margaret Rennie Thomsen A.L.M., a concentrator in government, will deliver her speech, “The Gates Unbarred,” at the graduate degree ceremony. The main address of the graduate certificate ceremony will be delivered by Paul Guzzi, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis recognizes the thesis that embodies the highest level of imaginative scholarship in each of the disciplines of the Harvard Extension School’s master’s degree programs.
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in the Behavioral Sciences is awarded to Juan M. Botero, concentrator in anthropology and archaeology, for his thesis titled “The Map of Cuauhtinchan No. 2 as the Script of a Play.” Botero’s thesis demonstrates that specific rituals and migration patterns of the 12th to 16th century Chichimecas could be inferred from material documented pictorially, and further showed that one could use this material as one might rely on the script of a play to understand the hierarchical organization of the culture. Thesis director David Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor for the Study of Latin America, described Botero’s thesis as “a very well written and researched thesis that includes original and creative interpretations of the performance nature of the 16th century Mapa de Cuauhtinchan #2.” He further commented that the work represents “a significant contribution to our understanding of pictorial manuscripts in Mesoamerican religions.” Botero earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, prior to coming to the United States and working in the software industry for the past 10 years.
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Biotechnology is awarded to Sean Paul Sheehy whose thesis, titled “Identification of Genetic Programs for Cardiac Growth and Remodeling in Adaptive and Maladaptive Cardiac Hypertrophy,” compares different patterns of gene expression when the heart hypertrophies in a healthy, adaptive manner and an unhealthy, maladaptive manner. His thesis director, Kevin Kit Parker, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Harvard, stated: “This is a brilliant piece of work … [and] an important piece of science here, as illustrated by the debate at the Keystone Conference on Cardiac Development and Disease. … The debate centered on the genetic differences between adaptive and maladaptive hypertrophy with the resulting conclusion being that no one knows the differences. You have conquered this debate with a tour de force of uncommon ingenuity and hard work. This work, when published, will be a landmark result.” Sheehy holds a B.S. degree in biology and a B.A. degree in computer science from East Carolina University. He graduates with a GPA of 3.93 and will continue his work as a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard.
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Educational Technologies is awarded to Amie Louise Harper for her thesis titled “Cyberterritories of Whiteness: Language, ‘Colorblind’ Utopias, and ‘Sistah Vegan’ Consciousness.” Harper is a graduate of Dartmouth College where she majored in feminist geography and minored in women’s studies. Her thesis director, Michelle M. Wright, associate professor of English, University of Minnesota, and Fulbright Professor, 2006-07, Amerika-Institut, Ludwig-Maxilimilians University, (Munich, Germany), wrote, “Ms. Harper’s extensive knowledge about the complex ways in which language and minority identity interact in cyberspace is impressive, to say the least. Adeptly combining post-structuralist theory, theories of cyberspace, black feminist theory, and linguistic analysis, this thesis accomplishes more than one could or should reasonably expect, providing an essential and groundbreaking engagement that will be of great interest to scholars in all of the fields named above.” Harper has been accepted to a number of doctoral programs, and plans to attend the University of California, Davis, to research health education and critical race theory.
Catalina Laserna, founder and director of the new professional Master’s in Educational Technologies program, says, “It’s extremely gratifying to see Ms. Harper’s work receive such accolades. In her ability to make significant contributions to the emerging field of educational technologies while fully employed outside of the academy, Ms. Harper has already fulfilled the promise of the budding Master’s in Educational Technologies program.”
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Environmental Management is awarded to Tiffany Allison Cantor for her thesis on “Indoor Concentrations of Nicotine in Low-Income Housing: Associations with Housing Characteristics and Smoking Behavior.” Cantor, who works as a faculty development and research assistant at the Harvard School of Public Health, produced an original piece of research that contributes to ongoing exploration of environmental exposures to secondhand smoke in multiresident housing. Through the measurement of nicotine she has found that even nonsmoking households can be exposed to secondhand smoke via uncontrolled airflow within the building. Delving into the scientific literature, Cantor applied a model that estimates the cigarettes per day equivalence of secondhand smoke exposure. Thesis director John D. Spengler, director of the Master’s in Environmental Management program and professor of environmental health and human habitation at the School of Public Health, wrote, “Given that the U.S. Surgeon General in the 2006 report on ‘The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke’ states there is no safe level of exposure, Tiffany Cantor’s work presents evidence for exposures that call for serious public policy debate about the rights of individuals in public and private residences to a smoke-free living environment.”
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in the Humanities is shared by Stephen L. Abrams, concentrator in history of art and architecture, and Kris Snibbe, concentrator in studio arts and film.
Abrams’ thesis, titled “Interiority and Alienation in Childe Hassam’s ‘Window Paintings,’” examines a group of pictures featuring a common motif: a darkened interior inhabited by a single female figure standing or sitting motionless in front of a window. Contrary to previous interpretations of these paintings, which see them as embodying idealized portraits of comfortable, leisure-class women, Abrams finds instead that the pictures reveal a world in which women are living in an environment of enforced interiority, alienated from the wider world of opportunity and self-realization that lies beyond the window. Harry Cooper, curator of modern art at the Harvard University Art Museums and senior lecturer on the history of art and architecture, directed the thesis and stated, “This is as good as it gets! … The result is an important new interpretation of a famous series of paintings, an interpretation that combines historical work with personal response, old-fashioned close reading with contemporary theory …,” adding that Abrams’ thesis “represents the best kind of art-historical work.” Abrams graduated summa cum laude from Boston University in mathematics and is a digital library program manager in the Harvard University Library’s Office for Information Systems. He graduates with a GPA of 4.0.
Snibbe’s thesis, titled “‘Exploring the Border Between Form and Chaos’: Photojournalism’s Intersection with Latin American Magic Realist Literature in Alex Webb’s Vision of the Tropics,” is an investigation of the mythopoeic vision of photographer Alex Webb, whose photos of the tropics represent a mixture of magic and hyper-reality. This vision is reflected in his photography in four different ways: the juxtaposition of disparate elements found in everyday life in order to transform ordinary conceptions of emotion, temperature, scale, perspective, volume, and locality; visual transformations of conventional perceptions of time and place; the exploration of sociopolitical clashes within cultures and their tendency toward self-destruction; and the unsentimental treatment of death as a transformative event. The thesis was directed by John Stauffer, professor of English and American literature and language, who described it as “a breathtakingly ambitious project, … the most in-depth assessment of Webb’s photography, especially his work on the tropics, that is now available. I’ve encouraged [Kris] to publish part of the thesis as essays, and from there [work toward a book].” Snibbe is a 1993 graduate of Boston University, where he earned a B.S. in photojournalism. He works as a staff photographer at the Harvard News Office and graduates with a 3.66 GPA.
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Information Technology is awarded to Joseph Robert Weber, for his thesis titled “ProteinShader: Cartoon-type Visualization of Macromolecules Using Programmable Graphics Cards.” The software that was designed and implemented by Weber (who earned a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Duke University) uses custom texture mapping and lighting calculations on a graphics card to produce cartoon-style images of proteins that approximate what an artist might create with pen and ink. Weber’s thesis adviser, Hanspeter Pfister, associate director and senior research scientist at Mitisubishi Electric Research Laboratories, as well as a visiting scholar and interim head of visualization research at Harvard’s Initiative in Innovative Computing, regards Weber’s work as “outstanding” and states further that “Joe has implemented a wonderful system that will find wide use in the biochemical community.”
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Mathematics for Teaching is awarded to Jessica Freda Kuh for her work on alternative methods to traditional testing for high school mathematics classes. Kuh earned her B.A. from the University of New Mexico, and is currently teaching mathematics at the International School of Boston. Her thesis, titled “International Baccalaureate Mathematics Projects: What They Are and Why Their Inclusion in Standard American Math Classes Would Be Beneficial,” investigated the creation and use of portfolio assessment as a means of providing students in mathematics with a richer, more well-rounded assessment experience. In a time when so much emphasis is put on standardized tests such as the MCAS, it is important for teachers to be aware of the impact that such testing has on the way in which students approach learning in mathematics classrooms. In the words of Kuh’s thesis adviser, Bret Benesh, preceptor in the mathematics department at Harvard, “Jessica’s thesis project will inspire math teachers to think about how alternatives such as portfolio assessment can help change the learning environment in their own classrooms.”
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Museum Studies is awarded to Wendy Hope Constantine, for her thesis “Museums and the ‘Digital Curb Cut.’” Her thesis director, James Devine, head of the multimedia department of the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow, wrote, “I believe this thesis to be an important contribution to the mission-critical field of accessibility issues for museums. This student has performed exemplary scholarly research and has demonstrated a deep level of understanding of the subject explored. Her methodology and approach have been of an extremely high standard and the thesis could form the basis for further study at the Ph.D. level, for publication in academic journals, or both.”
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in the Biological Sciences is awarded to Akemi Joy Tanaka for her thesis titled “Determining the Role of Pancreatic Progenitor Cell Number on Final Pancreas Size.” Tanaka employed an elegant technique that allowed embryonic progenitor cells to be ablated in an inducible, tissue-specific manner. Her findings indicate that the size of the pancreas depends upon the number of pancreatic progenitor cells in the developing embryo. These results, along with the results from comparable experiments done in the liver, were recently published in Nature. The work was directed by Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences Douglas Melton, who is also an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Melton praised Tanaka’s thesis as “ranking among the very best pieces of scientific work and writing to come from my lab in more than two decades.” Tanaka earned her B.A. from Wellesley College in biological sciences and Japanese. At the same time that she was completing her A.L.M. thesis in November 2006, she had already begun her Ph.D. studies at Yale University in the Integrated Biology and Biomedical Sciences program.
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in the Social Sciences is awarded to H. Lowell Brown, concentrator in history with a GPA of 3.96. Brown’s thesis, titled “Grand Inquests and Great Offences: An Inquiry into the Meaning of ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’ in Presidential Impeachment,” investigates the rationale for the impeachment proceedings against U.S. presidents. In order to understand better its use and misuse in presidential cases, Brown explored the meaning of the term “high crimes and misdemeanors” from a deep history perspective, including English Parliamentary usage, practice in the American Colonies and the newly formed states, and utilizations against judges and congressmen. The thesis director, Eric Schickler, former professor of government at Harvard University (and current professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley), writes: “This is a superb thesis.” He commends Brown for the “historical grounding,” which “provides a firm basis” that “the Founders intended impeachment to be a political [but not partisan] process rather than a judicial one.” Schickler recommends that Brown’s thesis be turned into a book and “become standard reading as lawyers and political actors prepare for the next impeachment battle. …” Brown graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in economics in 1969 and from Antioch School of Law with a J.D. in 1976. He currently works as an attorney.
The Santo J. Aurelio Prize
Santo Joseph Aurelio A.L.B. ‘83, A.L.M. ‘85 received his first two degrees at the Harvard Extension School after age 50, and went on to earn a doctorate and enter a new profession, college teaching, after a career of more than 35 years as an official court reporter for the Massachusetts Superior Court. The Aurelio Prize recognizes academic achievement and character for undergraduate degree recipients more than 50 years of age.
This year’s recipient, Robert Voorhees Brokaw A.L.B. cum laude is 63 years young and graduating with a 3.6 cumulative GPA, among the top 10 percent of the graduating class. Brokaw begin his undergraduate degree at Columbia University in the 1960s. Before completing his degree, he decided to pursue a career in finance, first in New York, then later in Boston. In 2003, after a rewarding 40-year career in business, Brokaw decided to make another change — to work as a freelance writer, and sought an education that could support his new goals: writing and humanist learning. The Harvard Extension School was the ideal match. Now, just 46 years after his first undergraduate course and four years after his initial Harvard course, Brokaw is earning his bachelor’s degree, for the true love of the liberal arts.
The Derek Bok Public Service Prize
This prize honors the commitment of former Harvard University president Derek Bok to adult continuing education and to effective advocacy of community service activities. It is awarded annually to Harvard Extension School graduates, who, while pursuing academic studies and professional careers, also gave generously of their time and skill to improve the quality of life for others.
This year the Extension School awards Derek Bok Public Service Prizes to the following students:
Jeffrey W. White A.L.B. entered Harvard Extension School in 1996 and has persevered for 11 years to attain his goal of earning his bachelor’s degree. In addition to managing the demands of his career, his undergraduate studies in history, and deaths in his family, White continually gave back to the community of Wellfleet, a community where his family has lived and served for 14 generations. In 1997, he was the youngest selectman elected in Wellfleet’s 244-year history. During his tenure, he worked diligently to protect the shoreline, expand the town’s aquaculture fishery, and improve navigation and docking facilities within Wellfleet Harbor. White was also a trustee of Bays Legal Fund, Cape Cod commission, Barnstable County, and worked as Commissioner for the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Board. To complement his on-the-ground work in local government with scholarly expertise, in 1999 he completed the Massachusetts Senior Executive program through Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Jennifer Leigh Tucker, A.L.M. concentrator in anthropology and archaeology, worked as project coordinator of the Distance Learning Technology Project in Los Angeles from 2000 to 2004, helping welfare recipients move into the workforce by providing them with computers and Internet access, with which they could take online vocational courses. The great success of the project, and her willingness to be on call 24 hours a day for months while her students grew accustomed to the technology and took their courses in fields such as bookkeeping, pharmacist technician training, and accounting, brought Tucker accolades for innovation in service from Goodwill Industries and the city of Los Angeles, among others. She received her B.A. in English literature from Illinois’ Wheaton College in 1996. The University of Michigan has provided her with full funding to attend its highly competitive doctoral program in anthropology, which she will begin in the fall.
James E. Constable, A.L.M.M. has a long history as an international peace activist. He has received many citations for his work in this area, including the Medal of Freedom from the United States Government-Senatorial Class and the Order of the Garter from the United Kingdom. He was one of the first lobbyists to assist with funding for the United States Institute of Peace.
The Annamae and Allan R. Crite Prize
Established by the Harvard Extension School and the Harvard Extension Alumni Association in honor of Annamae Crite, who for more than a half-century faithfully attended Extension courses, and her son, Allan R. Crite, A.B. in Extension Studies ‘68, who is widely recognized as the dean of African-American artists in the Greater Boston area, this prize is awarded to Extension School degree recipients who demonstrate “singular dedication to learning and the arts.”
The recipient of the first Crite Prize is Elizabeth Peck Learned, A.L.M. concentrator in history of art and architecture, who graduates with a GPA of 3.76. Her thesis, titled “Ernest Fenollosa’s ‘Final Asian Man’ and the Growth of Nihonga in Meiji Japan,” explores the development and consequences to Japanese art of Fenollosa’s aesthetic philosophy, derived from his early studies of Hegel and Spencer and grounded in the belief that an artist could employ the best of both Eastern and Western artistic techniques toward the creation of an ideal, “syncretic” art. Learned’s thesis director, Yukio Lippit, assistant professor of history of art and architecture at Harvard, praised the study as “a truly original interpretation of Fenollosa’s evolving mindset during the 1880s and ’90s. … Learned is able to provide a much more nuanced and textured exposition of his intellectual breadth than previous scholars have. The thesis is so impressive that its author has been invited to join — and hopefully play a central role in — a special study group at Harvard on Fenollosa that aims eventually to exhibit and publish his manuscripts at the Houghton.” Learned holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in library science from Indiana University. She is associate dean of University Libraries at Roger Williams University.
Aimée Francesca Scorziello A.L.M., concentrator in classical civilizations, and Anita M. Stinson A.L.M., concentrator in history of art and architecture, share the second Crite Prize.
Scorziello received the A.L.B. degree from Harvard Extension School in 1993 and graduates with a GPA of 3.96. Titled “Apotropaism and Influence: The Symbolic Power of the Dwarf in Ancient Art,” her thesis is an iconographical examination of the status of dwarfs in ancient Rome and of the protective power they were presumed to possess, both because of their ability to provoke laughter and because of the enlarged phalluses with which male dwarfs were commonly represented in art, both of which were considered a potent shield against harmful forces. Scorziello undertook important site work in Pompeii and Herculaneum and studied a variety of objects originating from the ancient cities of the Bay of Naples. David Gordon Mitten, James Loeb Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology at Harvard, directed the thesis and praised its original findings, which were the result of “months of meticulous research and a tireless search for artistic representations of [dwarfs] in many media.” Scorziello could well publish this essay … as two or three excellent scholarly articles.” Scorziello worked as a teaching fellow in Mitten’s “Age of Alexander” course in Harvard College in 2006-07, and is preparing for her third consecutive summer as a staff member of the Pompeiian Archaeological Research Project in Porta Stabia, Italy.
Stinson holds a B.A. in psychology from Fordham University and an M.A. in social work from Boston University. Her thesis, “‘A Painter of the City Tranquil’: Paul Cornoyer and Old New York,” argues that American Impressionist and tonalist painter Paul Cornoyer deserves a more important place in the history of American art than he has so far been accorded, particularly because of a series of masterful paintings of Manhattan cityscapes that reflect the then-burgeoning City Beautiful Movement. Her thesis director, John Stilgoe, Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape Development at Harvard, lauded the work as “genuinely original and provocative. … The author has looked and looked and looked at Cornoyer’s work, and seen things that will change how succeeding scholars think.”
The third Crite Prize is awarded to Laura Elizabeth Shortill A.L.B. cum laude, a humanities concentrator with a field of study in classical civilizations. Just 22, Shortill is one of the youngest graduates of the Harvard Extension School this year. She joined the program directly from high school four years ago and completed all of her course work at Harvard, including courses in advanced-level Latin and Greek prose and poetry at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Professor Emma Dench of the classics department writes, “Laura Shortill was a star in both my ‘Livy’ class and my ‘Caesar’ class. She has an excellent feel for the tone and style of individual Roman authors, and a real talent for relating texts to the societies in which they were written.” Shortill, who is graduating near the top of the class with a 3.7 GPA, has immediate plans to travel abroad this summer. In the future, she plans to pursue a master’s degree and a career in higher education administration.
The Reginald H. Phelps Prize
The Reginald H. Phelps Prize Fund was established by Edgar Grossman A.B.E. ’66, founder and first president of the Harvard Extension Alumni Association, and is awarded annually to outstanding bachelor’s degree recipients in honor of a former director of the Extension School. Recipients are chosen on the basis of “academic achievement and character.”
The first Phelps Prize is awarded to Nancy Elizabeth Fontenot A.L.B. cum laude. Fontenot, a social science concentrator, is graduating at the top of her class with a 3.89 GPA. A descendant of French-speaking Acadians, and a native of Sulphur, Louisiana, she began her undergraduate career at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, in 1995. Fontenot, a lover of books, has spent her entire career in libraries across the country, including the Boston Public Library and now the Harvard Law School Library where she works as serials assistant. Fontenot plans to attend Simmons College to earn her master’s degree in library and information science.
Daniel Edward Firnhaber White A.L.B. cum laude, the second-place Phelps recipient, is graduating with a GPA of 3.81. White began his undergraduate career at the Harvard Extension School in the spring of 2000 and for seven years has steadily pursued his academic interest in East Asian culture at Harvard including Sanskrit and Japanese language through the Harvard Extension and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). White plans to pursue graduate work in the field of East Asian languages and civilizations.
The third Phelps Prize goes to Megan Bryant Parsons A.L.B. cum laude. Parsons is also graduating with the second highest GPA: 3.81. Parsons began her undergraduate career at Salem State College at the age of 16. She spent her junior and senior years of high school there to participate in a more challenging academic environment than her local public school could provide. Desiring even more of a challenge, Parsons, at age 19, joined the Harvard Extension School to pursue courses in religion, music, and history as well as a field of study in psychology while working part time and commuting 90 minutes each way to Cambridge. With her newfound knowledge of development psychology, Parsons plans to pursue a career in elementary education.
The Thomas Small Prize
Thomas Small came to the United States in 1900 and earned a bachelor of business administration degree from Boston University in 1918. He retired from business in 1965 and that year enrolled at Harvard Extension School. In 1983, at age 89, he received his master of liberal arts degree, thereby becoming the oldest earned graduate degree recipient in the history of Harvard University. The Thomas Small Prize was established by his family and friends to honor this singular achievement, and is awarded annually on the basis of “academic achievement and character” to outstanding master of liberal arts degree recipients.
Three graduates share the Thomas Small Prize this year, all with a perfect GPA of 4.0.
Stephen L. Abrams graduated summa cum laude in mathematics from Boston University in 1981 and is digital library program manager in the Harvard University Library’s Office for Information Systems. A concentrator in history of art and architecture, his prize-winning thesis (described elsewhere in this article) is titled “Interiority and Alienation in Childe Hassam’s ‘Window Paintings.’”
Sylvia Augusteijn receives her A.L.M. degree with a concentration in history. Her thesis, titled “Doctors Against Fashion: American Medical Women in the Dress Reform Movement, 1850–1900,” examines the medical arguments for dress reform made by a series of female physicians, including hydropathic doctors in the 1850s and allopathic doctors in the 1870s. Her thesis director, Nancy Cott, the Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard, commends Augusteijn’s thesis for “tracing persuasively the line of advocacy that women doctors contributed to dress reform” and for making “a good case that … counters the contentions of previous historians that dress reform was a failure.” Augusteijn graduated magna cum laude from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in history. She has worked as an editor for the American Prospect magazine and for the Harvard Business School Press.
Victoria S. Sandin also receives her A.L.M. degree with a concentration in history. Her thesis, titled “Religion, Violence, and Politics in Colombia: The Development of the Catholic Church from Partisan Institution to Neutral Establishment 1948-1953,” examines the evolution of the Colombian Roman Catholic Church from a position of partisan conservatism to one of political neutrality through a critical study of the Church pastorals issued at the time. The thesis director, James A. Robinson, professor of government at Harvard, commends Sandin for her “original archival research” and states that “her interpretation of the evidence is ultimately very convincing.” Sandin graduated with a B.A. in art history from the University of Hartford. She has worked as a graphic artist, winning a number of design awards along the way, and has lived, among other places, in La Paz, Bolivia, London, and Paris. She currently works as “a stay-at-home mom.”
The Harold V. Langlois Outstanding Scholar Award
This award recognizes a certificate in management (C.M.)/master’s in management (A.L.M.M.) graduate who has demonstrated exceptional academic accomplishment and promise as a manager.
This year’s recipient, Carlos Molinelli C.M. is a citizen of Argentina and holds a B.S. in marketing, cum laude, from Babson College. He has held positions in two multinational companies, ACNielsen and Procter & Gamble.
The Katie Y.F. Yang Prize
The Katie Y.F. Yang Prize, named for a 1990 graduate of the Certificate in Management program, recognizes the initiative, character, and academic achievement of an outstanding international student in the C.M./A.L.M.M. program.
This year’s recipient, Fernanda Augusto da Silva C.M., is a citizen of Brazil and holds a B.A. in business administration from Universidade Salvador and an M.B.A. in finance from IBMEC, both in Brazil. She has worked for two multinational corporations, as a senior analyst in Braskem S.A. and as a senior associate in PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Harvard Extension School Faculty Awards
The Carmen S. Bonanno Award
Established in 1990 by the family and friends of Carmen S. Bonanno, who studied a foreign language in the Harvard Extension School many years ago, this award recognizes excellence in foreign language instruction.
Lorraine Ledford is this year’s recipient. She began teaching in the Extension School in 1972 as a second-year graduate student at Harvard, and she has remained on the faculty for most of the time since. Her third-year Spanish course consistently receives high student evaluations. “She’s fantastic,” one of her students wrote about her on her evaluations this year; another used the words “animated,” “dynamic,” and “energetic” to describe her teaching style. She holds an A.M. from Harvard.
James E. Conway Excellence in Teaching Writing Award
Established in 1991 by James E. Conway A.L.B. ’85, this award recognizes excellence in the teaching of writing in the Harvard Extension School.
This year’s recipient is June Erlick, publications director at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University and the author of “Disappeared: A Journalist Silenced.” Erlick has been teaching journalism at the Division of Continuing Education since 1999. Her students consistently praise her for her careful attention to their work, as well as for her commitment to excellence and her relentless encouragement of their efforts to publish their writing. Erlick’s course can be a career-changing, even life-changing experience. Many of her students go on to careers in journalism. One of her students, Grace Rubenstein, took Erlick’s class in fall 2001; in 2003, she shared the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting with her fellow reporters at the Lawrence Eagle Tribune. Erlick has been instrumental in shaping the Extension School’s new Master’s Degree in Journalism program.
JoAnne Fussa Distinguished Teaching Award
Established by JoAnne Fussa C.S.S. ‘85, this award recognizes exceptional teaching in business and management courses.
Fussa Award winner Mitzi S. White is a research associate in psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and chief executive officer, Work Intelligence Inc. She has published and spoken on a range of issues in the areas of psychology, law, and management and holds two Harvard degrees, the J.D. from Harvard Law School and the Ph.D. She has been a respected instructor since 1999 in the Certificate in Management and Master of Management programs, where she currently teaches “Organizational Behavior” and “Managing Workplace Performance.”
Petra T. Shattuck Excellence in Teaching Award
Established by the Harvard Extension School in memory of Petra T. Shattuck, a distinguished and dedicated teacher who died of a cerebral hemorrhage in the spring of 1988, these prizes are presented annually to honor outstanding teaching in the Extension School.
This year, Shattuck Award winners are David J. Malan, Logan S. McCarty, and Greg Tucci.
David J. Malan has taught both introductory and advanced computer science courses at the Extension School since his senior year at Harvard College in 1999. He was the first instructor within Harvard University to podcast an entire course in both video and audio formats, not only for his own students but also for the public at large. His course, “Computer Science E-1: Understanding Computers and the Internet,” was recently ranked “best educational podcast” by Wired Magazine. This June, Malan will receive his Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard and the Shattuck Prize from the Extension School.
Logan S. McCarty, preceptor in physical sciences at Harvard and the instructor for organic chemistry, began his Extension School career as a teaching assistant in general chemistry in 1999. His students praise him for his mastery of chemistry as well as pedagogy — and for his quirky sense of humor: “Logan is certainly one of the best instructors I have ever had. He really knows how to teach, anticipating how his students will think, and leading us with remarkable clarity and skill. He demands a lot of us, but it never seems like too much.” Another recommended that “he never be let out of the classroom. We need teachers like this.” McCarty earned a 4.91 rating on a five-point scale in a class of 220 students this past fall. This June, McCarty will receive his Ph.D. from Harvard and the Shattuck Prize from the Extension School.
Gregg Tucci, lecturer on chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard, and the instructor for general chemistry, earned a 4.79 rating in his class of 286 students this past fall. Tucci began as a teaching assistant in general chemistry in 1998 and took over the course in 2002. Tucci’s students commend him for his warmth, patience, and enthusiasm. One wrote: “Tucci is one of the best professors I have ever had. He is very organized, presents complex material in a way that makes it understandable and interesting (and at times even exciting). Always able to answer questions one-on-one, never made it seem like any questions were stupid.” Another remarked, “He gets an A+ in my book.”