Faten Ghosn wins Five Star Faculty Award

Faten Ghosn wins Five Star Faculty Award

By Andy OberUniversity Communications
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Faten Ghosn
Faten Ghosn
Ian Pepper
Ian Pepper
Melissa Tatum
Melissa Tatum
Wolfgang Peti
Wolfgang Peti
Rachel Neville
Rachel Neville

Four faculty members and a postdoctoral scholar are being honored with awards in recognition of teaching, research and mentoring excellence. The awards, presented by the Office of the Provost, the Honors College, the Graduate College, the Postdoctoral Affairs office and the GIFT Center at the University of Arizona Foundation were scheduled to be celebrated at the Awards of Distinction ceremony in April. That event is now expected to take place in November.

Learn about this year's honorees below.

Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award

Faten Ghosn
Associate Professor, School of Government and Public Policy

The Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award, presented by the Honors College, recognizes excellence in teaching and mentoring and is the only award for faculty members that is determined by undergraduate students. Each year, a committee of students reviews nominations and interviews five finalists before selecting a winner.

Ghosn, joined the University in 2006, was selected from among more than 160 student nominations. Her research and teaching interests focus on the interaction of adversaries, particularly in how they handle disagreements. The committee praised Ghosn's commitment to help students think critically and analytically, saying she "incorporates works from underrepresented groups, includes challenging but impactful topics, and adapts her classes to focus on real-world and contemporary issues which impact both students and the larger community."

The award comes with a $1,000 prize.

Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Awards

Ian Pepper
Professor, Department of Environmental Science; BIO5 Institute Member; Director, Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center
Melissa Tatum
Research Professor, James E. Rogers College of Law

The Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Awards recognize tenure-track, tenured and nontenure-eligible faculty who demonstrate a long-standing commitment to graduate education.

Pepper, who joined the University in 1977, researches the transport of pathogens in air, water, soils and municipal waste as well as real-time detection of contaminants in water distribution systems. He is also director of the Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center, which has a mission to ensure an environmentally responsible and sustainable water supply. One nominator praised Pepper's "relentless push to improve graduate education in our own unit, through the development of essential courses that cover the cutting edge of the field while also enhancing inclusiveness." A former student referred to Pepper as "my rock," calling him her "mentor in life as much as science."

Tatum joined the faculty in 2009 and specializes in tribal jurisdiction and tribal courts, as well as in issues relating to cultural property and sacred places. One of her nominators noted that "her teaching and mentorship crosses the boundaries between academic disciplines, between universities, and often takes place outside the classroom during one-on-one meetings and advising sessions." Another recalled how, when fellow students had concerns or issues, they would frequently advise each other to "talk to Tatum; she'll know what to do."

The award includes a $2,500 prize.

Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award

Wolfgang Peti
Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; BIO5 Institute Member

The Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award recognizes a faculty member who provides exceptional mentoring to postdoctoral scholars.

Peti, who joined the University in 2017, holds the Homer C. and Emily Davis Weed Endowed Chair in Chemistry. His research focuses on enzyme function related to cancer, diabetes and neurobiology. One nominator praised Peti for his tireless work to attract consistent grant funding, allowing postdoctoral trainees to be fully funded throughout their time in the lab. The nominator also noted that Peti "is known to laugh loudly (and often) and this conviviality permeates the lab on a daily basis and helps to create a welcoming environment."

The award comes with a $1,000 prize.

Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award

Rachel Neville
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Mathematics

The Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award recognizes a postdoctoral scholar who demonstrates excellence in research, communication and leadership.

Neville is the Hanno Rund Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Mathematics and specializes in topological data analysis. She has been with the University since 2017. A nominator cited her skill in working with researchers of different backgrounds as well as her research productivity and "high degree of independence." Neville is co-founder of the department's Women in STEM Mentorship Project, which matches first-year women majoring in STEM with women STEM majors in their junior or senior year, who serve as mentors.

The award comes with a $1,000 prize.

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