Honors & Other Things

Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

Last fall Penn became the first Ivy to win funding from the Department of Education to establish a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

The McNair Scholars Program is designed to encourage, toward graduate study and the Ph.D., high-achieving college juniors and seniors from underrepresented groups (first-generation college and low income students, and students from ethnic/racial groups which are traditionally underrepresented in the academic professions). The program is named in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, laser physicist and Challenger space shuttle astronaut who died in the space shuttle accident of 1986.

Nationally, there are more than 100 McNair Scholars programs. At Penn, the Provost's Office regularly hosts campus visits by groups from Howard University, Temple University, Coppin University, University of Maryland, Beloit College, University of Puerto Rico, SUNY and others. In 1997 Penn and Temple jointly sponsored a McNair Scholars conference which attracted a national audience.

According to Deputy Provost Peter Conn, "The establishment of a McNair Program here at Penn is a major step forward. The program will offer expanded opportunities for our own undergraduates; in addition, it will provide us with access to the McNair national network, and thus will link the University with excellent candidates for our graduate programs." Just last year Penn established two "McNair Graduate Fellowships", providing full-support for two incoming doctoral students who were McNair Scholars as undergraduates.

Penn's McNair Scholars program is geared toward the humanities and social sciences, where funding for summer research opportunities for undergraduates are very limited compared to the sciences and engineering. The grant provides funding to support a variety of activities: an initial 6-week on-campus summer program with intensive instruction in research methodology and academic counseling; a second summer spent at another campus (ideally a prospective graduate school) for an in-depth faculty-supervised research experience; monthly on-campus workshops, seminars, and social opportunities; travel to prospective graduate schools, professional seminars and meetings, during which participants will have to the opportunity to present their own work; and assistance with the graduate application process.

Dr. Malcolm Bonner, formerly the Director of Act 101 Programs at Temple University, directs the University's McNair Scholars Program. Recruitment of the first cohort of 20 rising juniors and seniors is underway. The application deadline for 2000-2001 is March 30. Interested students should contact Dr. Bonner at (215) 898-3115 or write to mbonner@pobox.upenn.edu. The McNair Scholars Program is sponsored jointly by the Deputy Provost and VPUL's Office of Academic Support Programs.

Student Health: Evelyn Wiener

Dr. Evelyn Wiener has been named director of Student Health Service. She is responsible to the Vice Provost for University Life and to the Vice President for Health Affairs for the quality of medical services provided to students, as well as long-range personnel and budget planning. Dr. Wiener succeeds Dr. MarJeanne Collins, who retired in December 1999.

Dr. Wiener's specific responsibilities as director of Student Health Services include planning and developing the health program for all students in the University community, establishing appropriate preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic services, coordinating and participating in clinical research programs, as well as advising university administrators on relevant medical matters. Dr. Wiener has been a member of Student Health Service since 1987 and has held the position of associate director since 1989. She served as acting director for two six-month terms, in spring 1992 and spring 1999.

"It is terrific that a national search for an extraordinary physician with deeply-rooted sensitivity and compassion for University students found Dr. Wiener, a Philadelphia native," said Dr. Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, vice provost for university life at Penn. "She is truly the best and most highly-competent candidate to continue Penn's tradition of exemplary student health services."

Dr. Wiener completed her residency in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital and is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. She is active in college health professional organizations at both the local and national levels. Currently, she is president of the Mid-Atlantic College Health Association and chair of the American College Health Association's Working Group on Benchmarking. Dr. Wiener has also served as a member of the American College Health Association's Task Force on Preventive Services and its Taskforce for Health Promotion in Higher Education.

She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Brandeis University and received her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine.

Alice Paul Awards Breakfast: April 6

The Association of Women Faculty and Administrators (AWFA) announces the Annual Alice Paul Awards Breakfast on Thursday, April 6 from 8-9:30 a.m. at Cafe Bon Appetit, 3701 Chestnut St., ground floor of International House. All AWFA members are invited to attend.

This event honors exceptional women of the Penn community. The following awards will be presented: The Alice Paul Awards, The Lenore Williams Award, and The Robert E. Davies Award.

--Nancy McCue, Project Manager, Campus Services


PECASE Award: Dr. Discher

Dr. Dennis E. Discher, assistant professor of mechanical engineering & applied mechanics, has received a prestigious PECASE--Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers--from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Approximately 20 awards are made annually through the NSF in all scientific, medical, and engineering disciplines to junior faculty throughout the country. Dr. Discher, who is a member of the departments of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics, chemical engineering, and bioengineering as well as the Institute for Medicine and Engineering, the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, and the LRSM, received this award for research focusing on the adhesion and mechanics of normal and dystrophic muscle cell membranes as a cellular engineering basis for gene therapy. Dr. Discher is described as a highly interdisciplinary and focused theoritician and experimentalist by Dr. John Bassani, chair of mechanical engineering.

Dr. Discher has been awarded $500,000 over a five-year period for his research and will receive the award at a White House ceremony on April 12.

CAREER Grant: Dr. Saven

Dr. Jeffery G. Saven, assistant professor of chemistry, has won a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. The award was issued through the Theoretical and Computational Chemistry Program of the NSF, and will be used to develop new techniques to provide a quantitative understanding of protein folding. Three specific areas are targeted: to generalize "foldability criteria" for identifying sequences that fold to a given structure, to develop statistical methods that use these criteria to identify properties of sequences likely to fold to a target 3D structure, and to study synthetic folding of non-biological polymers. Dr. Saven's award is for $339,972 over a three year period. 


AJOB Editor: Dr. McGee

Dr. Glenn McGee, bioethicist at UPHS has been named Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB). "Bioethics has become job number one for many of the top medical centers," explained Dr. McGee. "Institutions who do not take bioethics seriously have had their entire research program shut down. The time has come for a major overhaul of publishing in bioethics, so that scientists, philosophers, theologians, physicians and social scientists can work together on the tough ethical issues as they arise."

Dr. McGee is also an author of three books and more than 100 articles in bioethics.

Eight Thouron Fellows

Seven outstanding Penn students and one recent Penn graduate have been chosen to receive Thouron Awards to pursue graduate degrees in the United Kingdom next year.

  • Mollie Gordon, of English in the College, will study English literature at King's College London.
  • Sujata Gosalia, of Wharton, will study politics of the world economy at the London School of Economics.
  • Michael D. Grubb, of SEAS/Wharton, will study economics at Oxford.
  • Michael B. Keeley, a Ph.D. candidate in cell and molecular biology, is planning to study philosophy and history of science at the London School of Economics.
  • Tony Regenstreif, of American History in the College, is planning to study economic history at the London School of Economics.
  • Emily Robin, of Wharton, plans to study either nationalism or social psychology at the London School of Economics.
  • Anastasia Schulze, of American History and History of Art in the College, will study Dutch art at the Courtauld Institute in London.
  • Omari S. Simmons, of Law, is planning to study European Community law at Oxford.

 From left to right: Sujata Gosalia, Tony Regenstreif, Anastasia Schulze, Michael D. Grubb, Emily Robin, Michael B. Keeley, Mollie Gordon.

Inset: Omari S. Simmons

 Nassau Winners

Nassau Fund Recipients in the College are:

  • Aaron Berger; Using JC Virus Genotypes as a Means of Tracing Human Population.
  • Kevin Compher; Chemical Characterization of Stiletto Fly (Diptera: Therevidae) Larval Venom.
  • Rajeev Dhupar; Defining Hippocampal Targets of PKA Using a Yeast Two Hybrid System.
  • John Li Hsiang Lin; Differential Binding Patterns of Ets-1 Protein on TNFa Polymorphic Site and Its Implication in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
  • Rania Margonis; Analysis of p63 as a Candidate Gene for the Cornelia deLange Syndrome.
  • Mark David Metzl; Sensitivity of Asthmatic Cats to Exhaust from Gasoline Engines: A Model for the Urban Asthma Epidemic.
  • Gerard Miley; Mini CNC Milling Machine.
  • Asif Khan Mustafa; Ultrasonic Induction of Protein Crystallization.
  • Robert F. Scheyder; The Physics of Gas Recovery in a Solar Neutrino Detector.
  • Samir S. Shaw; A Characterization of the Regulation of Endocytic Trafficking.
  • Mark Simone; The C-Terminus of the VirE2 Protein of Agrobacterium Tumefaciens is Potentially Necessary for VirE2 Protein Export.
  • Tania Treis; Evolutionary Perspectives on Bird Community Structure: Comparative Differentiation in Genetic, Morphologic, and Behavioral Traits.
  • Daniel Walker; The Robotic Motherboard.
  • Mio Yamamoto; Induction of Protein Crystallization.

Elizabeth Chertow and Christie Olsen, both in the school of nursing, are also Nassau recipients (Almanac February 29).

Student Honors

Duare Valenzuela, a junior in the College, was one of four students nationally who won the Howard Swearer Humanitarian Award given by Campus Compact.

David S. Neil Van Leeuwen, a senior classics major with minors in Philosophy and German, was awarded the 2000-2001 Pearson Award for work in Classical studies. Only one award is given to an American or Canadian senior. The award provides for a period of study at an Engilsh or Scottish university.

Jonathan Austrian, John Buchanan and Mike Silver of the Iota Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity have received Solon E. Summerfield Scholarships given by Phi Kappa Psi National. Mr. Austrian and Mr. Buchanan received $1,000 each and Mr. Silver was selected as the Outstanding Solon E. Summerfield Scholar and received $3,000.

Athletic Honors

Junior Diana Caramanico has been unanimously selected to the 1999-2000 All-Ivy League Women's Basketball Team. She was also selected for the second-straight year as the Ivy League Player of the Year and is Penn's first women's basketball player to ever be selected to the first team for three years.

Senior Mandy West was also unanimously selected to the 1999-2000 All-Ivy League Women's Basketball Team. She leaves Penn as the all-time leader in 3-point baskets made in a season. Both Caramanico and West led the Penn Women's team to its best record in the University's history 18-10.

The Women's Squash Team finished the season undefeated winning the Howe Cup National Championship for the first time in Penn's history. Senior Jessica DiMauro has been named to the first team All-American in squash for the fourth time in a row and was a four-time first team All-Ivy performer.

Senior Brett Matter won the NCAA wrestling championship in his weight class, becoming the first NCAA champion since Richard DiBatista in 1942.

Senior Andrei Rodzianko has finished his wrestling career as a three-time All-American. In 1999, Mr. Rodzianko won his second EIWA title in three years and was named both the EIWA's most outstanding wrestler and the John Fletcher Memorial Trophy Winner.

Sophmore Lauren Hittner won the All Around title at the ECAC Championships and was named ECAC Co-Athlete of the Year. Penn women gymnasts have won the 2000 Ivy Classic title for an unprecedented fouth consecutive year.

Senior Kirby Thorpe was also honored as the ECAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and is a double major in psychology and English.

The Penn Men's Basketball Team took the Ivy League title again this year and were undefeated in conference play. Michael Jordan was named Ivy League Player of the Year. Mr. Jordan and Matt Langel were named First Team All Ivy League. Ugonna Onyekwe was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year.

Access Achievement Award: Morris Arboretum

The Morris Arboretum & Gardens has been awarded an Access Achievement Award by the Mayor's Commission on People with Disabilities.

The Mayor's Commission on People with Disabilities is a 35-member commission appointed by the mayor that seeks to ensure that disabled individuals are afforded the same rights as all other citizens by facilitating cooperation, communication and coordination of citywide efforts and services.

The Morris Arboretum formed an Accessibility Committee comprised of volunteers and staff to study the facilities for accessibility. A number of improvements have been made including a paved loop path with 5% or less incline, accessible parking, eating areas and restrooms, additional benches in the garden with wheelchair spaces, and special training for volunteer guides.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 26, March 28, 2000

| FRONT PAGE | CONTENTS | JOB-OPS | CRIMESTATS | TAT: Distributed Learning | OF RECORD: Code of Workplace Conduct for Penn Apparel Licensees | TALK ABOUT TEACHING ARCHIVE | BETWEEN ISSUES | APRIL at PENN |