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Faculty Awards for Excellence


Teaching and Mentoring Award: Dr. Marina Eremeeva

The 2014-15 JPHCOPH Awardee for Teaching & Mentoring is Dr. Marina Eremeeva, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Eremeeva’s letters from the students are evidence of her commitment as a teacher and mentor. As one student who she mentored stated,”She proved to be capable, efficient, professional, and showed a willingness to not only listen to her students, but to provide specific input and offer thorough and effective advice.” She is also an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Biology and STEM Institute Affiliate Faculty. She has supervised eight Capstone projects. Several student completed field projects or wet laboratory experimental research. Five of her students received Graduate Student Organization (GSO) research awards for their research projects; and two students received awards from the Georgia Entomological Society. She has developed two new courses and incorporated a Service Learning project into her course for the past three years and continually seeks novel ways to improve her teaching performance by developing novel didactic materials and practical class exercises.

Service Award: Dr. Evans Afriyie-Gyawu

The 2014-15 JPHCOPH Awardee for Public Health Service is Dr. Evans Afriyie-Gyawu, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Afriyie-Gyawu is a student-focused professor. He has been a STEM Fellow, developed and implements the Student Ghana Study Abroad program, organizes CDC trips for JPHCOPH students, volunteers as a judge at the Savannah State University Research Days,and has organized internship positions for students at Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. This is in addition to environmental health related service: training restaurant operators in Ghana about food safety, participating in a nutrition task force in Ghana, speaking to local groups in Statesboro and Savannah about various environmental issues. These are only a few of the activities that Dr. Afriyie-Gyawu participates in and he clearly shows his commitment to students and the environment through his service.


Teaching and Mentoring Award: Dr. James Stephens

Dr. James StephensThe 2011-2012 Awardee for Excellent in Teaching is Dr. James H. Stephens, FACHE. He has developed curriculum for seven different classes for either the master and/or doctoral level courses in the Policy and Management Division for the last five years. He also is the founding director for the Master of Healthcare Administration Program which he directed the developed of this program’s curriculum. As a former medical center and health system President and CEO, his mission in a university academic setting is now to develop and prepare the next generation of healthcare executives for the Unites States extremely large healthcare industry. Because of his 25 years background in executive positions, he can bring a “real world” reality to the class room and students. He is a Board Certified Healthcare Executive and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Dr. Gerald Ledlow, a colleague, recently stated ” No other graduate faculty member in the nation can bring the experience, academic credential and board certification to a program as Dr. Stephens”. His students have consistently rated him very high on his course evaluation forms and a student recently commented that “Dr. Stephens is very knowledgeable about the topic and has real world experience. I enjoyed coming to class every week”.

Scholarship Award : Dr. John Luque

Dr. John LuqueThe 2011 Awardee for Excellence in Scholarship is Dr. John “Juan” Luque. Since coming to Georgia Southern University in Fall of 2009, he has demonstrated excellence in research evidenced by leading a research grant sponsored by the National Cancer Institute as Principal Investigator, serving as a Co-Editor on a special journal issue of the Annals of Anthropological Practice on the topic of community coalitions, and submitting multiple grants to external funding agencies as well as internal mechanisms to generate pilot data. Between 2009 and 2011, Dr. Luque published 18 peer-reviewed articles in top-tier scholarly journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, and the Journal of Cancer Education.

He secured over $100K in funding from the National Cancer Institute to develop a cervical cancer education program for Hispanics/Latinas, a project which concluded in 2011. An additional three grants from the National Institutes of Health were under review at the time of his application, and all three have now been funded. He has delivered over 12 presentations at national and international conferences, including invited presentations at the NIH Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities Professional Development Series and Community Networks Program Annual Meeting. Dr. Luque’s extensive research career provides evidence for his unwavering commitment to rural public health, cancer health disparities, and community-based research.


Teaching and Mentoring Award: Dr. Robert Vogel

Dr. Robert VogelThe 2010 Awardee for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring is Dr. Robert Vogel. He has developed curriculum for over 10 classes on platforms that serve students of varied ability and utilizes problem based assessments that require his students to practice sound reasoning.

His vision for himself is to “continu[e] to learn and stay current in statistical methodology that is applicable to translational research in public health and the biomedical sciences”. He sparks that same desire for life-long learning of biostatistics in his students, engages their ability to apply what they learn to the realities of public health, and develops his students as independent and critical thinkers of statistical methodologies.

His student rate him highly, as evidenced by his course evaluation forms (for questions 8-18 often averaging above 4.7) and student comments which include “Dr. Vogel made the material interesting by drawing on his own career experiences”, and “Dr. Vogel is a wonderful, informative, helpful, encouraging teacher. His lectures are well-organized, systematic and interesting”. His excellence as a teacher is evident. Congratulations, Bob!

Scholarship Award : Dr. Jacob Warren

Dr. Jacob WarrenThe 2010 Awardee for Excellence in Scholarship is Dr. Jacob Warren. Since coming to Georgia Southern University in Fall of 2008, he has exhibited excellence in research evidenced by submission of 12 grants to various external and internal agencies of which 5 were funded, including the Georgia Southern President’s Cluster Hiring Initiative to form the Rural Health Research Institute (RHRI) for which he serves as the Co-Executive Director. The focus of the RHRI is to build collaborative rural health research across the Georgia Southern campus.

In addition, he has secured over $300K in funding from HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy for the CHANGES initiative, currently in its third year of funding. An additional 3 federal grants were under review at time of his application. He has delivered over 15 presentations at national and international conferences, including several presentations with student co-authors. He has also published 6 articles and secured 2 book contracts focused on rural health (including the forthcoming text Rural Public Health). His dedication to and excellence in research is absolute. Congratulations, Jacob!

Service Award: Dr. Laura H. Gunn

Dr. Laura GunnThe 2010 Awardee for Excellence in Service is Dr. Laura H. Gunn. Her service to JPHCOPH includes serving as Biostatistics discipline coordinator for six years, Promotion and Tenure Committee chair, Faculty Awards Committee chair, faculty advisor to the Public Health Student Association (2 years), chair of the Student Professional Development Fund Grant Committee (2 years), and member of the Curriculum Committee.

She has served on the Faculty Senate’s Faculty Welfare Committee and as a Graduate Research Symposium judge multiple times. She was elected to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee for a two-year term, and has served as the Biopharmaceutical Applied Statistics Symposium (BASS) Chair, and Program Committee Co-Chair for almost 6 years – a symposium through which funds for a number of graduate assistantships in biostatistics are secured. She was elected Treasurer of the Georgia Chapter of the American Statistical Association (ASA) for the past three years and regularly organizes their semi-annual meetings.

She has served on committees within the Eastern North American Region (ENAR) of the International Biometric Society. She was the JPHCOPH representative to the Southern Regional Council on Statistics (SRCOS) for the past two years. Over the past 2 years she has mentored high school students across the country through the Association for Women in Mathematics. She is a reviewer for Journal of the American Statistical Association and Health Services Research, and she was Editor for the Duke University Department of Statistical Sciences Alumni Newsletter for the past two years. She takes pride in and is highly engaged in service at multiple levels.


Teaching and Mentoring Award: Dr. Jacob Warren

Dr. Jacob WarrenThis year’s JPHCOPH Award for Excellence in Teaching & Mentoring goes to Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Dr. Jacob Warren. Jacob has developed numerous new courses in addition to new online modalities of courses. He has certificates from training workshops on Building Student Learning Communities and Online Course Development at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Center for Online Learning. He has provided myriad guest lectures to graduate and undergraduate courses and organizations across campus to get students excited about Epidemiology and help recruit students to the MPH/Epidemiology program. He has served as Capstone Advisor to numerous students, and was recognized as an outstanding mentor by Omicron Delta Kappa. Jacob has very high student ratings of instruction (in spite of maintaining a rigorous learning environment), including high peer teaching evaluations, as well. Evaluations showed large increases in student interest prior compared to after completing Jacob’s courses. A sample of students’ comments include: ‘His enthusiasm for public health is infectious and I look forward to taking future classes of his’; ‘extremely intellectually stimulating’; ‘challenged me to think and made learning difficult material easy’; ‘really cares about his students’; ‘very approachable, knowledgeable, interactive, well prepared and organized’; ‘so passionate that one can’t help but be inspired about public health’.

Service Award : Dr. Kari Fitzmorris Brisolara

Dr. Kari BrisolaraKari has engaged in service at the discipline, college, university, community, state, and national levels. In addition to her past role as Environmental Health Discipline Liaison, current role as DrPH Program Director, and key member of the CEPH workgroup, Kari has served on over 20 college and university committees, was a faculty advisor for the Public Health Student Association and Students for Clean Drinking Water on campus, has been a reviewer for 7 professional journals, was guest editor for Water Practice, developed continuing education courses for on-site sewage for the State of Georgia’s Division of Public Health, and organized numerous sessions at national, professional meetings. Most recently, Kari was elected Chair of the Agricultural and Industrial subcommittee of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) as well elected delegate of the WEF. This is just a sample of the service Kari has provided to the college and her field.

Service Award: Dr. Simone Charles

Dr. Simone CharlesSimone has been extremely active with service at all levels. She is currently the Environmental Health Discipline Coordinator, has served on the Public Health Advisory Board as well as the Public Health Practice and Community Service Committee. She has served on numerous committees across campus, including the Academic Standards and Graduate Committees, ad hoc committee for “Vision for Graduate Education,” and University Wellness Advisory Board, to name a few. She is co-founder and faculty co-advisor of the Georgia Southern Chapter of the National Organization for Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. She most recently assisted in the development of a 2010 Botswana Service Learning Study Abroad Program. Simone has had leadership roles in professional organizations including the Environment Section of APHA, GEHA, and GPHA and serves as a reviewer for various Environmental Science and Environmental Health focused journals. She has also assisted in the development of continuing education courses for the district Environmental Health practitioners. In addition, she serves the University and the wider community through providing service to, for example, multicultural student organizations, First-Year Experience programs, student leadership development programs, and local community organizations through developing health-based programs. Simone has a great philosophy on service – that to serve is to lead, grow, and learn.


Teaching and Mentoring Award: Dr. Laura Gunn

Dr. Laura GunnAs the discipline liaison for Biostatistics since January 2005, Dr. Gunn has assisted with the completion of the MPH Biostatistics curriculum and the development of the DrPH Biostatistics curriculum. In her brief career at Georgia Southern University, Dr. Gunn has taught 11 courses of Biostatistics, directed 8 student teaching activities and independent studies, and has been a member of 5 master’s thesis committees. Dr. Gunn’s unprecedented commitment toward student mentoring is self-evident, with her door open at all hours of the day for students to stop by and receive advice. Her student evaluations are further evidence of her commitment as a teacher and mentor, with multiple responses of “outstanding professor,” and “most helpful professor I have ever had.” Dr. Gunn clearly exceeds expectations in her teaching role through her outstanding support of students.

Scholarship Award: Dr. Mondi Mason

Dr. Mondi MasonFor almost 20 years, Dr. Mason has utilized her skills as an applied anthropologist in her work as a researcher and practitioner in public health. Within the short span of 2007 to 2009, Dr. Mason has accrued contract, grant and sponsored research funding for over $300,000 related to public health education and community health research. Dr. Mason has published 11 manuscripts in top tiered scholarly journals, including the Journal of Health Promotion Practice, Journal of Health Communication, and the American Journal of Community Psychology. In addition, Dr. Mason has given numerous referred presentations at national and local venues, including the 2007Academy Health Annual Research Meeting. Dr. Mason’s extensive research career gives evidence to her true commitment to rural public health, health disparity elimination, and community based research.

Service Award: Dr. Cassandra Arroyo

Dr. Cassandra ArroyoDr. Arroyo has served in a number of capacities at the college level, including the MPH Program Coordinator from August 2008, Epidemiology Faculty Search Committee member, and the Epidemiology Discipline Liaison from October 2007 to present. At the university level, Dr. Arroyo serves as the GA Southern Faculty Liaison to the Society for Epidemiologic Research Student Caucus. Dr. Arroyo has been a member of the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program Advisory Board since 2007, teaches the McNair Scholars Research Methods Course, and has served as a Faculty Mentor to a McNair scholar. Dr. Arroyo’s outstanding professional service includes being actively involved in the Epidemiology Section of APHA, most recently as a Section Councilor responsible for the section website, reviewer for several distinguished journals, and guest speaker at the Harvard University School of Public Health. Dr. Arroyo’s service record at Georgia Southern University is extensive and reflects her passion for giving back to the community, the profession and the university.

Last updated: 1/19/2019