Awards & Accolades

Awards & Accolades

By University Communications
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Leigh Neumayer, chair of the Department of Surgery
Leigh Neumayer, chair of the Department of Surgery
James H. McClenathan, professor of surgery
James H. McClenathan, professor of surgery
Lucy Ziurys, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of astronomy (Photo: Olivia Mendoza/Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Lucy Ziurys, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of astronomy (Photo: Olivia Mendoza/Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Donata Vercelli, associate director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center and professor of cellular and molecular medicine
Donata Vercelli, associate director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center and professor of cellular and molecular medicine
Judith Su, assistant professor in the College of Optical Sciences
Judith Su, assistant professor in the College of Optical Sciences
Karen Francis-Begay, assistant vice president for tribal relations
Karen Francis-Begay, assistant vice president for tribal relations
Ken Marcus, director of the UA Tech Park and chief financial officer of the Campus Research Corp.
Ken Marcus, director of the UA Tech Park and chief financial officer of the Campus Research Corp.
Office of University Communications staff at the 2018 PRSA Southern Arizona IMPACT Awards. From left: Stacy Pigott, assistant director of news, Pila Martinez, senior director for strategic communications, Pam Scott, associate vice president for external communications, Nick Prevenas, senior news writer and media relations assistant, Alexis Blue, senior writer and assistant director of media relations, Kyle Mittan, communications specialist, and Chris Sigurdson, vice president of communications.
Office of University Communications staff at the 2018 PRSA Southern Arizona IMPACT Awards. From left: Stacy Pigott, assistant director of news, Pila Martinez, senior director for strategic communications, Pam Scott, associate vice president for external communications, Nick Prevenas, senior news writer and media relations assistant, Alexis Blue, senior writer and assistant director of media relations, Kyle Mittan, communications specialist, and Chris Sigurdson, vice president of communications.

Congratulations to these recent honorees.

Neumayer, McClenathan Named to Academy of Master Surgeon Educators

Two College of Medicine – Tucson surgeons recently were named to the inaugural class of the Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. Leigh Neumayer, chair of the Department of Surgery, and surgery professor James H. McClenathan were inducted during an Oct. 3 ceremony in Chicago.

Neumayer was inducted as a member; McClenathan was named an associate member.

The academy was established by the American College of Surgeons to "advance the science and practice of avant-garde surgical education and training." Its members are selected by a peer-review process and are expected to be active in achieving the academy's mission.

Neumayer, who is also a professor, is a renowned breast cancer surgeon and past president of the Association for Surgical Education. She also is chair of the American College of Surgeons' board of regents and a member of the steering committee for the Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. She has headed the UA surgery department since 2014.

McClenathan practices general surgery, specializing in soft-tissue masses and gallbladder removal, among other procedures. He joined the UA in 2008.

Ziurys Receives Prize for Astrophysics Research

Lucy Ziurys, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of astronomy, has been selected to receive the 2019 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize from the American Astronomical Society.

The society is the major professional organization for astronomers in North America, with the mission of enhancing human understanding of the universe by facilitating meetings of astronomers. The 2019 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize, given by the society's Laboratory Astrophysics Division, recognizes "an individual who has made significant contributions to laboratory astrophysics over an extended period of time."

"The strong synergy developed by Ziurys between astrophysical molecular spectroscopy and radio astronomy has significantly advanced our understanding of the evolution of the molecular composition of our universe through the detection of new interstellar species," the division wrote in announcing Ziurys' prize.

The prize comes with a cash award and an invitation to deliver a lecture at a division meeting. Ziurys came to the UA as an associate professor in 1997.

Vercelli Elected First Female Secretary General of International Group of Scientists

Donata Vercelli, associate director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center and professor of cellular and molecular medicine, is the first woman to be elected secretary general of the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum. Vercelli was inducted in early October during a symposium in Mallorca, Spain.

With her election as secretary general, Vercelli will go on to serve as vice president and later president.

The Collegium Internationale Allergologicum is "an international group for the study of scientific and clinical problems in allergy and related branches of medicine and immunology," with the primary goals of promoting "the humble spirit of scientific enquiry, friendly cooperation, good fellowship and professional relationships in the field of allergy." Vercelli has been a member of the Milwaukee-based organization for more than 25 years.

Vercelli, who also is director of the Arizona Center for the Biology of Complex Diseases and a member of the BIO5 Institute, has been at the UA since 1999.

Su Given Young Investigator Award

Judith Su, an assistant professor in the College of Optical Sciences, has been selected to receive the 2019 Young Investigator Award by the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. Su will be honored at the society's annual conference in Denver in March.

The society promotes the research, education and advancement of laser medicine and surgery. Its Young Investigator Award is one of two awards collectively known as the Dr. Horace Furumoto Innovations Professional Development Awards. Furumoto is credited for developing the world's first practical dye laser. The Young Investigator Award is given to those in the field of lasers and related technologies in health care for 15 or fewer years, in memory of Furumoto's "genius, leadership, and commitment."

Su also is an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and is a member of the BIO5 Institute. She began at the UA in 2017.

Francis-Begay Given State Civic Leadership Award

Karen Francis-Begay, assistant vice president for tribal relations, was among the recipients of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership's Flinn-Brown Awards, which were presented Sept. 22 at the Flinn-Brown Convention in Phoenix.

The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership was established in 2010 by the Flinn Foundation to support "a model of leadership built on deep knowledge, hard work and a willingness to bridge differences to build consensus on solutions that advance Arizona." The foundation sponsors and administers the Arizona Center for Civil Leadership's programs, with support from the Thomas R. Brown Foundations.

The center's Flinn-Brown awards recognize those who have made "significant contributions to Arizona as state-government advisers, elected officials, agency executives and policy experts – and have played important roles in strengthening their communities and the Flinn-Brown network." The award recognizes Francis-Begay's Navajo Nation roots and expertise on tribal policy issues, which "have made her a frequent adviser for Flinn-Brown on advancing tribal participation and topics."

Francis-Begay was one of three people who were given an Arizona Champion award. Two others also were honored at the event.

Marcus Elected to Board of International Research Parks Association

Ken Marcus, director of the UA Tech Park and chief financial officer of the Campus Research Corp., has been elected to the Association of University Research Parks board of directors and a term as the organization's treasurer. The election results were announced at the association's 2018 international conference, held last month in College Park, Maryland.

The Tucson-based association is the professional association for university-related research and science parks, and aims "to foster innovation, commercialization and economic growth through university, industry and government partnerships." Marcus' role on the board began immediately after the conference and the term lasts two years.

Marcus joined Tech Parks Arizona as controller in 1999. In his current role, he oversees management, operations and financing for the UA Tech Park at Rita Road, the UA Tech Park at The Bridges, and the Arizona Center for Innovation.

Tech Parks Arizona, University Communications Win Awards

Staff members at Tech Parks Arizona and in the Office of University Communications took home a total of seven awards from the Southern Arizona Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America's IMPACT Awards ceremony. The event was held on Oct. 23 in Tucson.

PRSA is the world's largest organization for public relations professionals. Members of the Southern Arizona chapter include those working in Oro Valley, Marana, Sahuarita, Oracle, Tucson and throughout the unincorporated areas of Pima, Pinal, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties.

The award-winning entries were:


We want to know about your good news. If you, your team or a colleague has won any major awards, been honored nationally or internationally, or accomplished some other major feat that deserves recognition, let us know about it.

To submit your news, please send us an email with the following information:

  • Name of the person, team or unit receiving the honor with full UA titles.
  • Information about the award/honor and the organization that granted it. Please include a link to the official announcement of the award/honor.
  • When the honor was announced and when it will be presented (or was presented).
  • A photo of the honoree. If others appear in the photo, please provide their names and identifying information, such as their UA title or other affiliation.

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