Awards Ceremony to Honor College of Health and Human Development Faculty and Staff

October 6, 2009

The College of Health and Human Development will honor seven of its faculty and staff members at a ceremony at the Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building, at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 14. The awards are sponsored by the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Lisa Grove, administrative assistant in the Department of Biobehavioral Health, will receive the Carol Clark Ford Staff Achievement Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievements by a staff, clerical, or technical service employee of the college who makes it easier for others to accomplish their objectives effectively and efficiently.

Grove began her career at Penn State in 1986 and has been working in BBH since the department was established in 1991. As administrative assistant, she assists the department head, is responsible for the department’s budget, and supervises other administrative assistants in the office. “The single reason why BBH staff consider the office a family is because of the caring, sensitivity, balance, and incredible amount of support that Lisa provides as the office leader,” said one faculty member.

Sharon Krimmel, instructor in kinesiology and undergraduate adviser, will receive the Evelyn R. Saubel Faculty Award. The award recognizes faculty members who display a commitment to human service, accessibility as an adviser, and a caring, professional style in their service to students.

Krimmel is known among both faculty and students for her devotion to students. In addition to teaching courses on careers in kinesiology, she is the leader of the Department of Kinesiology’s three-person advising center, a role in which she supervises the advising of 1,000 students each semester (350 directly). It has been said that Krimmel “seamlessly merges academic instruction and professional development” in both instructor and adviser roles, and many students testify to her dedication to students’ success. As one student said, Krimmel “makes each of her students feel like less of a number and more of a voice in the Penn State community.”

Dr. Chalandra Bryant, associate professor of human development and family studies, will receive the College of Health and Human Development Diversity Achievement Award, which recognizes a person who demonstrates a commitment to the value of diversity and has been instrumental in creating or facilitating a climate of inclusiveness in the college.

In her role as faculty representative to Penn State’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate program, Bryant mentors underrepresented graduate students, acting as a sounding board for students’ concerns and worries. She gives students an honest, clear picture of the challenges they may face; this honesty, “coupled with her serving as a model for success,” gives students the “strength and confidence to push past the barriers and do the work they need to do to achieve success.” Bryant’s research, which focuses primarily on underrepresented and low-income populations, also promotes inclusiveness. She regularly incorporates interviewers’ and participants’ experiences and suggestions into her protocols, and in doing so is “making the type of positive mark on the community that all scientists strive for,” said one faculty member.

Dr. Gary Fosmire, associate professor of nutritional sciences, will receive the HHD Alumni Society Excellence in Teaching Award, which honors a faculty member for excellence in teaching and contributions to the art of teaching.

Fosmire, who has been on the Nutritional Sciences faculty for over thirty years, has a consistently positive and lasting impact on his students. His traditional approach of writing lecture notes on the blackboard by hand is one that catches students’ attention, and his accessibility and openness keeps students coming back to him for advice and guidance. Several students have noted that Fosmire’s passion for teaching solidified their desire to become a Nutrition major, and other students have commented that Fosmire has a “compassionate personality” and he instills the “importance of nutrition in all of our lives.”

Dr. Robert Turrisi, professor of biobehavioral health, will receive the Evan G. and Helen G. Pattishall Outstanding Research Achievement Award. The award recognizes research contributions occurring or culminating within the past several years.

Turrisi is committed to reducing risky behaviors in adolescents and teens. His research on skin cancer and alcohol abuse prevention has not only fostered increased communication within families, but it also has produced a dataset that can serve as the evidential backbone of prevention programs. “His exemplary contributions have become a referent for shaping research and policy on health behavior and public health,” said one faculty member. By informing parents about the risks of alcohol abuse, Turrisi’s prevention programs have been effective at lowering alcohol abuse in teens. This research “broke new ground,” said one faculty member, and it was “the single most important set of studies on how parents can influence [children’s] outcomes.”

Dr. Linda Caldwell, professor of recreation, park and tourism management, will receive the Leadership in Outreach Scholarship Award. The award honors an individual who has made significant leadership contributions to the outreach mission of the college.

Caldwell has been called a “leader in generating and transmitting knowledge between Penn State and external audiences locally and internationally.” Perhaps her most well-known accomplishment is the development and successful implementation of HealthWise and TimeWise, two curriculums that aim to reduce risky behavior and poor health outcomes in adolescents by helping them manage their free time. Those programs have impacted communities in Germany, Colombia, Togo, South Africa, and the United States, and Caldwell is continually seeking ways to broaden those curriculums’ impact. In summer 2009 she spent time in Tanzania devising a way to implement HealthWise, and in fall 2009 she is working with a class to develop a video format of TimeWise to be used with Operation: Military Kids, a U.S. Army initiative to support children and youth impacted by deployment.

Dr. A. Catharine Ross, professor of nutritional sciences and holder of the Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair, will receive the Pauline Schmitt Russell Distinguished Research Career Award. The award honors a senior faculty member who has made outstanding research contributions across a major portion of his or her career.

Ross is renowned for her vitamin A research. She has made a number of important contributions that have increased the understanding of vitamin A and vitamin A deficiency, which is the main cause of blindness and mortality in young children in developing countries. She has been called a “remarkably talented and productive scientist” whose “research contributions have brought much acclaim to Penn State.” Her work led to the recognition that vitamin A is important for certain immune system responses, and the results of her work have implications for clinical studies worldwide. Recently, she has explored vitamin A’s role in infants’ lung development, and she was involved with developing a strategy to increase vitamin A levels in the lungs of an infant.


Editors: For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or