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Faculty, students take home awards

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 April 2016

Every year, Florida State University recognizes faculty members, individual students and student organizations that display commitment and leadership through their actions. And every year, it seems, the College of Medicine is well recognized.

Assistant Professor Michael Nair-Collins received a University Teaching Award on April 27 for graduate teaching through the Provost’s University Teaching Awards program. The program recognizes faculty members for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching, and recipients must be outstanding in many aspects of teaching that contribute to successful learning. The award is given to teachers nominated by students and alumni, or teachers rated 90 percent or higher in their overall assessments by students. Recipients receive a $2,000 award.

"I was deeply honored and humbled to receive the award," said the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine assistant professor. "It is a privilege to play a role in students’ intellectual, personal and professional development, and I hold my students in very high regard. While awards are nice, the best part is to learn that that feeling is mutual."

Ricardo Gonzalez-Rothi, Department of Clinical Sciences chair, received the Guardian of the Flame Award on April 20 from Burning Spear, a not-for-profit corporation composed of current and former student leaders. Created in 2008, the award recognizes an outstanding faculty member from each college and school whose contributions have shown dedication to the university and commitment to advancing the university as a leading institution of higher education.

During the FSU Leadership Awards ceremony April 5, the College of Medicine received the most awards in its history. The Geriatrics Interest Group won Student Organization of the Year, while the Family Medicine Interest Group received the Vires Award. Biomedical Sciences graduate student Lataisia Jones received an Academic Leadership Award, and so did undergraduate students Leah Genn and Barbara Dietrick, who work under College of Medicine faculty advisors.

The Student Organization of the Year Award is only given to one graduate organization and one undergraduate organization. It recognizes “major contributions to the university community or constituent group in the areas of service and leadership.”

“Our Geriatrics Interest Group has had a great year thanks to the executives and the leadership of President David ‘Chase’ West,” said Niharika Suchak, the group’s faculty advisor.

The Vires Award is presented to an organization that has shown “exemplary determination and perseverance.” This year, the Family Medicine Interest Group received the award.

The club’s president, Tatianna Pizzutto, attributes much of the group's success to Faculty Advisor Christie Alexander.

“As a newer faculty member, last year Dr. Alexander took on advising the two largest organizations in the College of Medicine,” said Pizzutto. “Both FSUCares and the FMIG have now won FSU Leadership Awards. This demonstrates her commitment to education, developing quality student leaders and impacting her community.”

Academic Leadership Awards were presented to one undergraduate and/or one graduate student in each FSU college for academic performance and university service. In the undergraduate category, Honors Medical Scholars Society member Genn, a student in the College of Human Sciences, was nominated by Director of Student Research Opportunities Elizabeth Foster. Biomedical Sciences research assistant Dietrick, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, was nominated by Associate Professor Tim Megraw. Both won. In the graduate category, Jones was nominated by Professor Pradeep Bhide.

In total, the college took home five FSU Leadership Awards in addition to Nair-Collins’s University Teaching Award and Gonzalez-Rothi’s Guardian of the Flame Award.

“I’m always impressed with the energy of our student interest groups who, beyond their time studying, look for wonderful ways to impact their communities,” said Dean John P. Fogarty. “I also appreciate our faculty taking time from their work to recognize excellence in their students and recommending them for these awards. I was very proud of the College of Medicine at the FSU Leadership Awards.”

Previous College of Medicine Leadership Award recipients:

  • 2015, FSUCares, Graduate Student Organization of the Year Award; Alessandra Taylor, Academic Leadership Award; Susanna Zorn, Student Seminole Award.
  • 2013, Brett Thomas, Academic Leadership Award.
  • 2011, Students Interested in Global Health (SIGH), Graduate Student Organization of the Year Award.
  • 2010, Association of Latino Medical Students (ALMS), Graduate Student Organization of the Year Award.
  • 2009, FSUCares, Graduate Student Organization of the Year Award.
  • 2008, American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), Graduate Student Organization of the Year Award.