The Harvard Extension School has announced student prize and faculty award winners for 2009.
COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER PRIZE
The Commencement Speaker Prize is awarded at two of the three Harvard Extension School June graduation ceremonies. Ryan Paul Slattery, A.L.B., cum laude, will deliver the Commencement address “Growing in Wisdom,” at the liberal arts undergraduate/graduate ceremony. Katharine Tighe, A.L.M., in journalism, will deliver her speech, “In Honor of Non-Tradition” at the professional graduate ceremony. Leonard Kopelman, an Extension School lecturer, will deliver the main address at the graduate management degree/certificate ceremony.
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 Biological Sciences is awarded to Kathleen Neff. Neff’s thesis, titled “The Mechanism of in vitro Regulatory T Cell Induction by Murine Anti-Thymocyte Globulin,” focuses on a class of antibodies (anti-thymocyte globulin) used to modulate the immune system during organ and tissue transplantation. The study focuses on how these antibodies function and shows that they have selective effects on some immune cells but not on others. Neff’s thesis director, Megan Sykes, the Harold and Ellen Danser Professor of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, stated, “Kathleen Neff has produced an outstanding and scholarly piece of work. Anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) is being explored for use in a variety of tissue and organ transplant studies because of its potent immunosuppressive effect. … Kathleen’s observations represent a notable advance in our understanding of an important therapeutic biologic agent.” Neff received her B.S. degree from Stonehill College. She completed the A.L.M. in November 2008 with a GPA of 3.73 and will continue her work in the immunology research group at Genzyme Corp. in Framingham.
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Biotechnology is awarded to Mufaddal Fatakdawala. His thesis, titled “A Genome-Wide Microarray Analysis of Peritoneal Macrophages Treated with the Anti-Inflammatory/Th2 PAMP, LNFPIII,” addresses the critical need for new anti-inflammatory agents. Fatakdawala’s study employs a large-scale bioinformatics approach to identify changes in gene expression in response to a novel anti-inflammatory agent. Donald A. Harn, professor of tropical public health at Harvard’s Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, directed Fatakdawala’s thesis work. Harn described the work as “… stellar, not only in the tremendous body of work produced, [which is] better than many doctoral theses I have seen, but also in the writing and the generation of excellent figures, graphs, and tables.” Fatakdawala received his B.S. degree in psychology from the University of Maryland. He graduates from the Harvard Extension School with a GPA of 3.93.
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Educational Technologies is awarded to Lisa Kate Radden for her thesis, titled “Making Media, Making Citizens.” Radden designed a curriculum in media creation, and then taught the curriculum to students. The students then applied what they learned to service-learning projects in the Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester and Mattapan, providing an example of the kind of teaching and learning that helps students see the power of technology for positive purposes, and their own power to make a positive difference. Her thesis co-directors, Elizabeth Grady and Diane Tabor, longtime public school administrators, describe her thesis as “straightforward, balanced, sound in methodology, and elegantly written. It is definitely useful to teachers, curriculum designers, and school leadership.” Given current concerns about young people’s preoccupation with media for frivolous and/or negative purposes, “the study is timely, instructive, and a powerful example of the kind of pedagogical intervention that can engage urban students and provide meaningful direction for their lives.” Radden, a University of Notre Dame graduate, currently works at the Boston Renaissance Charter School as director of instructional technology.
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Environmental Management is awarded to Quadri Lawal for his thesis, “Global Warming and Deforestation Crisis: Reversing Desertification in Sub-Saharan Africa by Reforestation, Afforestation, and Sustainable Forest Management.” Lawal traveled to Nigeria to complete his thesis research with a high degree of success, describing the multiple layers of difficulty that Nigerian reforestation programs have encountered and the specific areas that need reform for success in the future. Thesis director Timothy Weiskel noted that Lawal’s work on global warming and desertifications in Africa was “an important demonstration of original fieldwork and a focused analysis of the scientific literature.”
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in the Humanities goes to Francis B. Dehler, concentrator in English and American literature and language. Titled “‘When the heavens were seal’d with a stone’: Belatedness and the Sublime in William Blake’s Continental Prophecies and The Book of Urizen,” the thesis interrogates critic Harold Bloom’s theories of literary belatedness and poetic influence and asks whether they constitute an adequate explanation for Blake’s evolving notion of the sublime. The study concludes that poetic competition and the psychology of belatedness in Blake’s prophetic poetry of the 1790s often take the form of a dialectical structure of competing sublimes; as Blake engaged with Miltonic and biblical tradition, he was quickened to a new inflection of the sublime, which embraced the agon of poetic influence while also sublimating it in order to arrive at a new mythopoeic vision. Dehler’s thesis director, Leo Damrosch, Bernbaum Professor of Literature in the Harvard Department of English, stated, “The thesis represents superb work! It should be entered for every appropriate prize. It is full of original thinking, is closely argued, and exceptionally well written.” Dehler earned the A.L.B. degree from the Harvard Extension School in 1990. He graduates from the A.L.M. program with a GPA of 3.90. A resident of Cape Neddick, Maine, he is the circulation and public services coordinator at the York Public Library. He has served as a teaching assistant in numerous Harvard Extension courses.
Two graduates share the Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Information Technology:
Darryl Lundy designed and implemented software to aid professional and amateur genealogical researchers. His system allows users to combine family trees from two different sources by identifying records that represent the same individual. This is important, as different records of the same individual often disagree. Lundy’s system takes into account more than variants of first and last names; he estimates when your great grandfather was born, given only that you are alive today, and observes that the odds of two Henry Cabots in the Boston area are less likely to be the same than two Zbigniew Brzezinskis. His advisor, John Norman, notes, “With his well-organized write-up, a clear exposition of the mathematics, and efforts to both analyze and enhance the performance of a computer-intensive implementation, Darryl’s thesis puts computer-based genealogical analysis on a firmer footing than the existing products in this competitive marketplace.”
Manish Kumar designed and built a system that captures and displays photorealistic images of a scene at arbitrary times of day, allowing software to render appropriate shade and light for applications in architecture, urban planning, games, and entertainment. His approach captures multiple time-lapse videos of the scene from different points of view. Using a 3D model, he uses computer vision techniques to map the captured images on to the model and factors the videos into a set of static images and time-varying curves that capture the changes of light from the input data. Finally, image-based rendering displays the time-varying data from arbitrary points of view. His advisor, Hanspeter Pfister, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science and director of visual computing in the Initiative in Innovative Computing, comments, “Thanks to Manish’s great project we are continuing this research with a team at Microsoft Live Labs.”
The first Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Journalism is awarded to Sofía Jarrín-Thomas. For her thesis project, Jarrín-Thomas conducted dozens of interviews, in Boston and in El Salvador, of survivors of the war in El Salvador in the 1980s in order to investigate the war’s long-term effects. As part of her project, she created an interactive Web site on which she provided historical information about the war, posted recordings of her interviews with her subjects, and made it possible for others to add their stories to the collection. Thesis director June Carolyn Erlick, director of publications at Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, called Jarrín-Thomas’ thesis, “El Salvador: Stories of War and Hope,” “a groundbreaking multimedia project … [that] combines the best of traditional narrative journalism — giving voice to the voiceless — with the power of new media, which allows us to hear people’s voices and share their histories. … Her thesis is a powerful one that will make a difference.”
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Mathematics for Teaching is awarded to Courtney Kelley for her thesis “Increasing Student Motivation Through Use of Videos Connecting Real-World Mathematics to the Classroom.” As a teacher, Kelley was concerned about the lack of motivation shown by many math students who often find it difficult to understand the value of their math studies. After researching the issue, Courtney decided to address it by creating a series of videos featuring people in various careers explaining how the math they learned in school helps them to do their jobs. Courtney then tied each video to class lessons that include activities connected to the particular career being featured. Thesis director Srdjan Divac wrote that Kelley “excellently managed this challenging multimedia project.” Although her project was “very labor intensive,” Kelley managed to produce an “excellent write-up.” In addition, Kelley has developed a Web site allowing interested teachers to access the videos she created as part of the thesis project.
The Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in Museum Studies is awarded to Theresa Marie Kelliher for her thesis, “Knowledge Is the New Power: The Evolution of the Public Trust and Cultural Antiquities Acquisitions in American Museums.” A graduate of Fordham University, Kelliher’s thesis was remarkable in that she addressed complex questions surrounding the acquisition of unprovenanced antiquities by American art museums over the past 100 years and the public response to changing ideas about the appropriate resolution of modern conflicts. According to her thesis director, museum consultant Arthur Wolf, “Particularly stimulating is the application of game theory to the situation. Kelliher’s questions and assumptions about the public trust are illuminating, and her attempts to align these with the actions and responsibilities of the museum field are noteworthy. … [Her] survey method was audacious … and she collected valuable data … the analysis of the data is but a start that could yield significant results in related studies and publications. It is rare for this reader to want to applaud when finished with a thesis review. In this case the author brought all the strands of thought and inquiry together in a logical and lively conclusion that did invoke that response.”
Co-winners of the Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis in the Social Sciences are William F. Quigley Jr., a graduate in history, and Jerry Van Wormer, a graduate in the history of science.
Quigley’s thesis, “Pure Heart: The Faith of a Father and Son in the War for a More Perfect Union,” asks how Northerners reconciled their religious beliefs with the goals, costs, and losses of the Civil War. To answer this question, he focuses on the sermons of Benjamin Dorr, rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia (known as “the Nation’s Church”), and on 20 unpublished letters to him from his eldest son, Lt. William White Dorr, who fought with the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteers at the battles of Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania. According to thesis director John Stauffer, professor of English and of African and African American studies, Quigley’s A.L.M. thesis “is better than the vast majority of Ph.D. dissertations I’ve read at Harvard, and it will become a great book.” Quigley graduated from Middlebury College with a B.A. in American studies. A former book editor and award-winning journalist, he now teaches history at The Governor’s Academy where he is also dean of the faculty.
Van Wormer’s thesis, “Dissecting an Ecological Disaster: Transoceanic Ballast Water and the Laurentian Great Lakes, 1953-2008,” explores how scientists missed the significance and ecological threats posed by the influx of aquatic invasive species carried into the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway in the ballast tanks of oceangoing vessels. Thesis director Robert M. Woollacott, professor of biology and curator of marine invertebrates in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, writes: “The research methods are laboriously detailed, the analysis penetrating, and the conclusions are creative and insightful. This thesis is an important contribution to understanding evolution of the Great Lakes catastrophic decline. … It should be published.” Van Wormer graduated with a B.S. in operations technology from Northeastern University and is employed as regional quality manager for Vaisala Inc., manufacturer of electronic measurement systems and equipment for meteorology and the environmental sciences.
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 prize recognizes academic achievement and character for undergraduate degree recipients more than 50 years of age.
Christine C. Bell, A.L.B., cum laude, is 51 and graduating with a 3.83 GPA, representing the top 5 percent of A.L.B. graduates. Bell began her undergraduate degree at Northeastern University in 1978. Since 1999 she has diligently worked toward her degree at the Harvard Extension School while working full-time as president of a small family-owned business, as a medical secretary, and as a staff assistant at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Thirty years later after beginning it, she is earning her undergraduate degree with a concentration in sciences and a field of study in geology, in which she completed a reading and research project with Peter Huybers, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences, titled “Geologic Constraints on Earth’s Sensitivity to CO2.” Bell plans on continuing with her position at HSPH and is considering a master’s degree beginning in 2010.
THE DEREK BOK PUBLIC SERVICE PRIZE
This prize honors the commitment of former 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 of others. This year the Harvard Extension School awards Derek Bok Public Service Prizes to the following students:
Hilary J. Blocker, A.L.B., who grew up in public housing developments and was the recipient of many social services, has spent the past 20 years giving back. She served on the board of directors at the Striar Jewish Community Center, taught inner-city youth to ski in the winter and camp in the summer, and volunteered at Small Claims Advisory Service through the Phillips Brooks House Association, which provides free legal aid to the community. Most notably, for the past nine years she has been a host family for children from the Chernobyl Children’s Project who have been selected to come to America for respite and medical treatment. Initially her involvement was limited to hosting children in the summer, but has grown to have children remain throughout the year who are in need of more serious medical treatment.
David Lichter, A.L.M. in biotechnology, is a research scientist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. In addition to his vital work as a cancer researcher, Lichter is actively engaged in community outreach activities throughout the year. His dedication inspires not only his co-workers, but also his superiors at Millennium, as well as the budding young scientists he meets while volunteering. His volunteering achievements are many, and revolve around his position as the head scientist for Millennium Makes a Difference (MMAD). In this role he has set up interactive displays at the Cambridge Science Festival; worked as a judge at the Massachusetts State Science Fair; demonstrated experimental techniques to high school students for the Discovering Cancer Genes and the Conquering Cancer education programs, and organized a team of more than 350 company volunteers for the Millennium Annual Community Service Day. To quote one of his superiors: “David embodies the traits of leadership, commitment to teaching others, and generosity of spirit.”
Melissa Ekin Kizildemir, A.L.M. in management, has been working in public service since she was 16 years old and continues to do so to this day. After Kizildemir graduated from college, she worked as an intern at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in her home country of Turkey before joining the Red Cross in Iraq as a refugee camp psychosocial officer. Kizildemir returned to Turkey to help victims and relief workers on issues such as earthquake zones and terrorist attack sites. She served as a field point for UNICEF’s Advocacy Campaign for Girls’ Education in Turkey where her experiences highlighted the effects poverty can play in disaster relief efforts. Her role helped to register tens of thousands of girls for school. In addition, the project inspired Turkish Americans to found a nonprofit organization, Bridges of Hope, which focuses on raising funds for improving the education of low-income Turkish families. Kizildemir’s work earned her a scholarship to Brandeis University where she received a master’s degree in sustainable international development while working at Oxfam America.
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.E. ’68, who was 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.”
Stephanie Mitchell, A.L.M. concentrator in studio arts and film, is this year’s winner of the Crite Prize for her thesis titled “The Ancient and Modern Art of Abbas Kiarostami,” a study of the numerous ways in which the work of Iranian filmmaker Kiarostami draws inspiration from classic Persian and modern Iranian poetry. The multidisciplinary Kiarostami is not only a filmmaker, but also a photographer and poet; Mitchell demonstrates how his homeland’s poetic traditions have influenced each aspect of his creative enterprise, from thematic content to imagery. Thesis director David Rodowick, professor of visual and environmental studies, praised the thesis as “exemplary work, equaling and perhaps surpassing comparative work I have advised at Harvard, Yale, or King’s College, London. Mitchell writes beautifully in a pellucid, highly readable style. The originality of Mitchell’s work is to critically review Kiarostami’s artistic vision in a holistic way. I found particularly compelling [her] account of Persian poetry and its deep compositional and figural connections to Kiarostami’s visual practice.” Mitchell holds a B.A. in psychology from Wellesley College and has been a staff photographer at the Harvard News Office since 2001.
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 Kristine Frances Isberg, A.L.B., cum laude, a history of art and architecture concentrator who is graduating at the top of her class with a 3.97 GPA. An artist and former president of her own real estate company, Isberg returned to school to transform her love of art from a pastime to a vocation. In addition to course work at the Harvard Extension School in art, French, and German, she completed five courses as a special student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, earning a 4.0 GPA. Isberg plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in history of art and architecture, focusing on Renaissance art, specifically the problem of perspective as well as religious and philosophical motivations associated with theories of optics and vision.
Joshua DeMers, A.L.B., cum laude, the second-place Phelps recipient, is graduating with a 3.88 GPA. DeMers began his undergraduate education at Boston University in 2000. He left Boston University for full-time work as an emergency medical technician, and returned to school at the Harvard Extension School in 2006, where he studied the social sciences, including psychology, government, and history of science. He completed his last year of courses via distance education, while living in San Jose, Calif., caring for his terminally ill mother. After graduation, DeMers plans to pursue a graduate degree in psychology.
The third-place Phelps Prize goes to Itamar Shtull-Trauring, A.L.B., cum laude. Shtull-Trauring began taking college classes at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, in 1996, continuing his undergraduate education at Tel Aviv University in 1998. A computer programmer by profession, he came to the Extension School in 2004 to finish his undergraduate degree, but most important, to pursue studies outside of his career field — course work in the humanities. He completed with a 3.85 GPA, a number of courses in English literature, linguistics, studio arts, and documentary photography. Shtull-Trauring plans to continue broadening his intellectual horizons.
THE THOMAS SMALL PRIZE
Thomas Small came to the U.S. 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. In 1983, at age 89, he received his A.L.M. 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.
The first Thomas Small Prize goes to Richard Kradin, concentrator in religion, who graduates with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Kradin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from New York University, and an M.D. from Thomas Jefferson University. He has been a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) for more than 30 years, specializing in anatomic pathology, internal medicine, and pulmonary medicine. He is also a practicing Jungian analyst and teaches at the C.G. Jung Institute, Boston. An associate professor at Harvard Medical School and a staff member at MGH’s Center for Psychoanalytical Studies, he is the author of numerous publications, including the recent “The Placebo Response and the Power of Unconscious Healing” (Routledge, 2008) and “The Herald Dream: An Approach to Dream Interpretation and the Implications of Initial Dreams in Psychotherapy” (Karnac Books, 2006). His A.L.M. thesis, titled “Healing and Mysticism in Jesus’s Ministry of the Eschatological Kingdom of God,” examines how conceptions of ritual impurity in Second Temple Judaism limited accessibility to health care for many people and how Jesus’ ministry countered this by allowing the sick to be approached directly. Directed by Paul D. Hanson, the Lamont Professor of Divinity, the thesis examines the complex interactions among mystical experience, psychological factors that contribute to disease, and the biology of the placebo response as the possible basis for Jesus’ healing.
William M. Clark is the recipient of the second Thomas Small Prize. He is receiving his A.L.M. degree with a concentration in history and an overall GPA of 3.96. His thesis, titled “From Small Beginnings to Honorable Achievements: Sylvanus Thayer’s Legacy and Thayer Academy’s Evolution,” examines the formation of the values and character of one of America’s foremost educators, “father” of the U.S. Military Academy, and founder of Thayer Academy in Braintree, Mass. Clark analyzes the reasons why Thayer’s values were not fully adhered to in the setting up of Thayer Academy and how after 1920 with the appointment of Stacy Baxter Southworth as headmaster, the academy began to follow a path more congruent with Thayer’s vision and principles. The thesis director, Stephan Thernstrom, Winthrop Research Professor of History, commends Clark’s thesis for being “based on deep research in primary sources,” its “broad implications,” and its “illuminating comparisons with other educational institutions founded in the same era.” Clark graduated with a B.A. degree in economics from Bowdoin College. He was a banker for 25 years before assuming his present position as major gifts officer at Thayer Academy.
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 two graduates share the award:
Michael D. Jacobson, A.L.M.M., holds an M.Phil. in pharmacology, a Ph.D. in neuroscience, and now an A.L.M. in management with a focus in finance. Jacobson operates his own consulting firm where he works with publicly traded and privately held biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, and government entities. He graduates with a 4.0 GPA.
Claudia Y. Hartmann, A.L.M.M., has spent the majority of her career in the nonprofit sector, including work in development for the National Kidney Foundation and presently as a communications and training specialist in alumni affairs at Harvard University. Hartmann graduates from the program with a 4.0 GPA. Her focus was in organizational behavior.
THE KATIE Y.F. YANG PRIZE
This prize is named for a 1990 Certificate in Management graduate, and 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, Patricia Palacios Ibarra, A.L.M.M., was born in Sweden, is a permanent resident of Switzerland, is a citizen of Bolivia, and speaks five languages. For the past four years, she has leveraged her studies and her talents working at Private Banking International throughout the globe. At the Extension School, she focused her studies in international management. She graduates with a 3.94 GPA.
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.
This year’s recipient, Carole Bergin, a preceptor in the Harvard University Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, has been teaching beginning and intermediate French at the Harvard Extension School since 2003. Year after year, her students place her in the top ranks of Extension School instructors because of her “energy and enthusiasm for the subject matter,” her knowledge of French and her ability to present material in a structured manner, and her patience and sensitivity toward students: She is “a teacher who understands a student’s sufferings and doubts in learning a language.” She earned a master’s in pharmacy from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and a master’s in French language and culture from Boston College.
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 at the Harvard Extension School.
Paul Harding is the recipient of this year’s James E. Conway Award. A former preceptor in the Harvard College Expository Writing Program, Harding has taught fiction writing at the Harvard Extension School since 2002. He holds an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and will be returning there as a visiting instructor next spring. His novel, “Tinkers,” was published in January to great critical acclaim. “Publisher’s Weekly” called it “an especially gorgeous example of novelistic craftsmanship,” and “Booklist” called it “a rare and beautiful novel of spiritual inheritance and acute psychological and metaphysical suspense.” His students use similar superlatives when they comment on his teaching. One of his fall 2008 students said, “Paul Harding is a superb instructor who runs his writing workshops with tremendous sensitivity and empathy towards each individual as well as with profound human insight and a warm sense of humor. To take this course is to learn an enormous amount about writing as well as an enormous amount about humanity, about life, and about the human soul.”
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 Viktoria Dalko, a professor at the Hult International Business School, teaches two popular courses at the Harvard Extension School — business valuation; and mergers and acquisitions. Noted by students for her ability to “inspire students to excel” and “encouraging them to give more than what is expected,” Dalko has been an instructor with the Harvard Extension School since 2004. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary.
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 Harvard Extension School.
This year, three faculty members share the Shattuck Award:
Matthew K. Nock, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and director of the Laboratory for Clinical and Developmental Research in the Department of Psychology at Harvard, consistently receives high marks from his students, including a 5.0 in his first semester at the Harvard Extension School in 2005. His students describe Nock as “engaging, focused, and extremely knowledgeable” and praise his humor and dedication to his students.” One student wrote, “He does an excellent job of encouraging you to become a better student and researcher.” Another wrote, “At a time [when] I was experiencing doubt about my ability to adequately express my interpretations, [Nock] listened to my ideas. Instead of finding fault, [he] honed in on what I did right.” The student continued, “I consider it an honor and a privilege to have had the opportunity to study under [Nock].”
Daniel Donoghue, John P. Marquand Professor of English at Harvard, has been teaching at the Harvard Extension School for 20 years. Students cite his remarkable range of knowledge, combined with his openness and accessibility, as his greatest strength. One remarked, “He is very present in each class, really taking the time to make sure everyone is involved. He creates a wonderful learning environment, and is always full of new and interesting tidbits.” Another student, who rated both the course and the professor a perfect 5 out of 5, stated, “His breadth of knowledge is unbelievable, and yet he makes us feel comfortable in class.” One student’s only complaint about the course was that it was not long enough: “There is so much material that inspires good conversation but [that conversation] is limited due to time constraints.”
Hanspeter Pfister, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science and director of visual computing in the Initiative in Innovative Computing, began teaching at the Harvard Extension School in 1999, with a course on computer graphics. Pfister’s students lavish praise on him for his passion and expertise. One student from this past semester wrote, “Professor Pfister is outstanding … and his visualization class is very inspiring. He is an engaging lecturer and delivers well-organized presentations. He is very accessible and participates in forum discussions with the students.” Others expressed their admiration: “[Pfister] is the reason I decided to pursue [additional] courses. … I was blown away by his professionalism and the way he taught. [Pfister] taught classes that pushed the boundaries of the fascinating field of graphics. His vast knowledge of the topics and ability to bring in interesting guest speakers made his classes the most memorable in my Harvard experience!”
DEAN’S DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Bestowed occasionally by Michael Shinagel, dean of Continuing Education and the University Extension School, on behalf of the Harvard Extension School on a distinguished teacher with a long record of service.
This year, Christopher S. Queen, dean of students and director of alumni affairs at the Harvard Extension School, is honored for serving in his roles with distinction for nearly 20 years.
A Buddhist scholar, he has edited two seminal works: “Engaged Buddhism in the West” and “Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia.” He also has held a teaching appointment as lecturer on the study of religion at Harvard University, and has taught a highly popular Harvard Extension School course on “World Religions” to thousands of students over the years. He has in recent years offered his course both on campus and online.
Although he is retiring at the end of the summer, Queen will eventually continue to teach his religion courses at the Harvard Extension School.