Stonehill College Announces Academic Awards in Recognition of Exemplary Contributions
Five faculty and staff in Academic Affairs were honored for their outstanding service.
Before the start of the 74th academic year at Stonehill College, academic leadership, faculty and staff gathered in celebration and appreciation of their colleagues’ outstanding work. Five employees received distinguished awards.
Outstanding Faculty Service Leadership Award
Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry Louis Liotta earned this year’s Outstanding Faculty Service Leadership Award, given annually to a full-time faculty member whose service and leadership have significantly advanced the mission of Stonehill College.
Over the past three decades, Liotta has mentored over 110 students in his lab conducting synthetic organic and bioorganic chemistry. To support the work of his students and colleagues, the faculty member has also managed to accrue more than $4 million in external grant funding—the most funding secured by any faculty member in the College’s history.
Liotta played a major role in the establishment of the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) in 1996. Since then, he has chaired the SURE Review Committee over its entire 25-year history. More than 600 SURE scholars have engaged in full-time research through this initiative over the past two decades. SURE’s success has led to additional student research opportunities funded by grants from organizations like the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, Research Corporation, American Chemical Society (ACS), and the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society.
Outstanding Faculty Advising & Mentorship Award
Associate Professor of Biology Rachel Hirst received the 2022 Outstanding Faculty Advising & Mentorship Award. This prize is bestowed upon a full-time faculty member who not only demonstrates Stonehill’s commitment to the academic, professional and personal development of each student but has also had a markedly positive influence on advisees through their mentorship.
Since coming to Stonehill, Hirst has distinguished herself by creating academic opportunities for underrepresented, first-generation and community college transfer students. She successfully obtained scholarship funding from the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM Program, the Balfour Foundation, and the Xerox Foundation. These grants have made it possible for STEM community college students to pursue four-year degrees at Stonehill.
Hirst’s work advising and mentoring STEM students also extends beyond the Stonehill community. She has worked with community organizations and educational institutions that encourage students to consider entering the science and technology fields.
Michael Horne Award for Distinguished Faculty Scholarship
Professor of Political Science & International Studies Anna Ohanyan is this year’s recipient of the Michael Horne Award for Distinguished Faculty Scholarship. This honor is given to a faculty member whose scholarship has brought distinction to the College.
Ohanyan’s groundbreaking research on regionalism and conflict resolution has significantly advanced these fields of study. Her work has taken her across the globe, from Northern Ireland to the Balkans, Russia, and the South Caucasus. She has consulted for the United Nations Foundation, the World Bank, the National Intelligence Council Project, the U.S. Department of State, the Carter Center, and USAID, among many others.
Ohanyan has authored and co-authored five manuscripts. Her work has also appeared in publications like International Studies Review, Nationalities Papers, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Peace and Change, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and Global Governance. She has contributed (both in print and in media appearances) to The Washington Quarterly, Washington Post, National Interest, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, and Wilson Quarterly.
Outstanding Staff Advising & Mentorship Award
Director of Academic Advising Shannon Balliro was honored with the Outstanding Staff Advising & Mentorship Award, given to an Academic Affairs staff member who demonstrates Stonehill’s commitment to the academic, professional and personal development of each student.
Balliro was nominated for this award by her colleagues, many of whom highlighted her dedication to meeting the needs of all students. A champion for marginalized voices, she is known for tackling challenges head-on and working tirelessly to better the Stonehill community. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Balliro played an instrumental role in helping faculty adjust to new modes of pedagogy while continuing to provide encouraging counsel to students.
Outstanding Staff Service Leadership Award
Interim Registrar Lisa Tressel was named the winner of this year’s Outstanding Staff Service Leadership Award. This prize is given to an Academic Affairs staffer whose record of public service and leadership have significantly advanced the mission of the College.
Nominated by her fellow Stonehill community members for this award, Tressel is recognized by her colleagues as a compassionate and knowledgeable employee who always puts students and faculty first. She supports these populations with timely communication, a spirit of flexibility and an attention to detail that ensures courses run smoothly. During course registration, she acts nimbly to resolve unforeseen challenges as they arise.