Women’s Faculty Association honors students, faculty

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011
By Rosanne Fohn

The Women’s Faculty Association (WFA) recently presented leadership and research awards to six UT Health Science Center graduating students, and a service award to a longtime WFA leader. In addition, the association honored six middle school and high school students for their winning science fair projects at the annual awards ceremony in May.

Following opening remarks by Earlanda Williams, Ph.D., WFA vice president and a lecturer in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, welcomed the faculty, students, families and friends.

“I would like to recognize Dr. Cara Gonzales (WFA president) and the Women’s Faculty Association for their leadership and for taking the initiative to recognize and encourage the next generation of health care professionals, researchers and educators. The Women’s Faculty Association is an important group and I applaud their efforts in mentoring fellow faculty members and offering opportunities for networking and growth,” President Henrich said.

Leadership Award winners include (left to right) Michelle Baladi, Ph.D., Carisia Garcia, Tricia Anest, M.D./M.P.H., Evelyn Swenson-Britt, Ph.D., M.S., RN; and Sheridan Bunch, D.D.S.clear graphic
Leadership Award winners include (left to right) Michelle Baladi, Ph.D., Carisia Garcia, Tricia Anest, M.D./M.P.H., Evelyn Swenson-Britt, Ph.D., M.S., RN; and Sheridan Bunch, D.D.S. 

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Leadership awards
Awards for leadership were presented to graduating students from each of the five Health Science Center schools:

  • Tricia Anest, a recent M.D./M.P.H. graduate from the School of Medicine was selected because of her outstanding work in helping the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics establish an Ethiopian Outreach project, a continuing summer community service learning project for medical students. Her award was presented by Alice Gong, M.D., professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine.

  • Evelyn Swenson-Britt, M.S., RN, a new School of Nursing Ph.D. graduate, was selected for her leadership and commitment to safe and effective patient care. Following a distinguished career in the Army Nurse Corps, she directed University Health System’s (UHS) successful process to achieve Magnet Hospital accreditation. She now directs UHS’ Center for Excellence in Patient Care. Andrea E. Berndt, Ph.D., assistant professor/statistician in the School of Nursing, presented her award.

  • Sheridan Bunch, who received her doctor of dental surgery degree from the Dental School, was selected because of her leadership and compassion. In addition to officer positions in the American Student Dental Association and American Association of Women Dentists, Dr. Bunch served as a mentor for younger students, as well as participated and coordinated mission trips to border towns and El Salvador. Dr. Gonzales, an assistant professor of comprehensive dentistry, presented Dr. Bunch’s award.

  • Carisia Garcia, who received a bachelor’s degree in respiratory care from the School of Health Professions, wrote and received three grants totaling $3,000 to fund community service learning projects. The first addressed the growing issue of syphilis in San Antonio, while the second two grants funded student-conducted respiratory screenings for senior citizens. Her grant-writing success “is unheard of for an undergraduate student,” said Donna “De De” Gardner, M.S.H.P., RRT, FAARC, interim chair and assistant professor of the Department of Respiratory Care. She presented Garcia’s award.

  • Michelle Baladi, who earned her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, joined the laboratory of Charles France, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and psychiatry, in 2007. She presented her research at the Experimental Biology 2010 and College on Problems of Drug Dependence 2009 meetings. She received best oral presentation at the 2010 and 2011 Behavior, Biology and Chemistry meetings, as well as best poster award at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting. She graduated in May with five publications from her work with Dr. France. Her award was presented by Sophia E. Pińa, Ph.D., assistant dean of the Graduate School.

Jeff Y. Shao, D.D.S., (center), who was awarded the Dr. Margaret (Sue) Keir Hoppe Research Ethics Award, is congratulated by his clinical mentor, Adriana Vargas Green, D.D.S., M.P.H.,
assistant professor of comprehensive dentistry, (left) and Alina Maloyan, Ph.D., WFA secretary and chair of the Hoppe research ethics essay competition.  

clear graphic
Jeff Y. Shao, D.D.S., (center), who was awarded the Dr. Margaret (Sue) Keir Hoppe Research Ethics Award, is congratulated by his clinical mentor, Adriana Vargas Green, D.D.S., M.P.H., assistant professor of comprehensive dentistry, (left) and Alina Maloyan, Ph.D., WFA secretary and chair of the Hoppe research ethics essay competition.  

 

Sue Hoppe Award
The WFA also presented Jeff Y. Shao, D.D.S., a recent Dental School graduate, with the Dr. Margaret (Sue) Hoppe Keir Research Ethics Award. His winning essay was titled “The Conflicting Autonomies Regarding Orthodontic Treatment on a Patient with Moderate to Severe Periodontitis.” Dr. Shao wrote his winning essay while he was a Health Science Center dental student.

WFA Service Recognition Award
Paula Clutter, Ph.D., RN, M.S.N.
, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, was presented the WFA Service Recognition Award for her leadership. During her term as president, Dr. Clutter coordinated a universitywide leadership conference with past WFA President Shivani Maffi, Ph.D., and worked with other former WFA members to secure an endowment from the President’s Council to fund the leadership and Hoppe awards.

Awards for young scientists
The WFA also presented awards to outstanding high school and middle school students for their science fair projects. Following are the honorees and their projects:

Senior Division
  • First place — Audrey Hettinger, “Understanding hydrocultural mediums and their application for Apium Graveolens”
  • Second place — Jaclyn Guz, “Post-drought recovery of native protective trees in South Texas”
  • Third place — Carolina Lopez-Trevino, “Synergistic neuroprotection of astrocytes against oxidative stress-related injury”
Junior Division
  • First place — Catherine Staskawicz, “Which multilayer gauze mask filters smoke the best?”
  • Second place — Elise Norton, “Determining the amount of bacteria in water bottles”
  • Third place — Cady Calhoun, “Is there a need to wipe?”
Speakers
Two UT Health Science Center researchers — Jessica Ibarra, Ph.D., and Susan Mooberry, Ph.D., — gave inspirational presentations about how they became scientists.

Dr. Ibarra is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine and adjunct biology instructor at the University of the Incarnate Word. She discussed her participation in an American Physiology Society’s (APS) Physiology Understanding (PhUn) Week project last fall that introduced more than 1,000 local middle and high school students to the world of research scientists. She also discussed the importance of not giving up on life dreams when encountering obstacles, using her own life experiences as examples.

Dr. Mooberry is a professor of pharmacology, interim director of the Institute for Drug Development and leader of experimental and developmental therapeutics program at the Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy & Research Center. Dr. Mooberry noted that she grew up in a scientific family that nurtured her interests. Her father was a chemist and her mother had no formal training in horticulture, but became an expert in native plants and started a conference that just had its 21st meeting in June. Taking the nurturing she received growing up a step further, Dr. Mooberry is known for training many up-and-coming women scientists. She studies new anti-cancer drugs with a primary interest in novel anti-mitotic agents.



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