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Achievements: Summer 2020

Young Alumni Achievement 

Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipients with President Driscoll

In November, IUP recognized six recent graduates with the Young Alumni Achievement Award. Each academic college dean chooses one recipient:

Distinguished University Professor

Alida Merlo

Alida Merlo, professor of criminology and criminal justice, is IUP’s 2020-21 Distinguished University Professor. A member of the IUP faculty since 1995, Merlo is nationally known for her scholarship in juvenile justice policy. She has been recognized for her teaching and research and was twice honored by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences for her mentoring. Only the third woman to be elected the academy’s president, she has also received its Fellow Award for contributions to justice education and scholarship and its Founder’s Award for service.

At IUP, she has chaired nine dissertation committees and has served on another 12. She also chairs her department’s Speakers’ Committee, administers its internship program, and for many years coordinated its graduate program in criminology at IUP’s Monroeville Center (now Pittsburgh East).

During her tenure as Distinguished University Professor, she will assess educational programs for delinquent youth and explore implications of the 2019 legislation that authorized trauma-informed education in Pennsylvania public schools. Faculty members honored as Distinguished University Professor hold the title for life and receive a grant and a reduced teaching load for one year to assist with research and scholarship.

Senate Awards

The University Senate recognized four faculty members and a staff member in May:

Francisco Alarcón

Francisco Alarcón, professor and chair of the Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department, received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Service. Since joining the faculty in 1992, he has held leadership roles in the University Senate, in IUP’s chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, and in the Center for Statistics Education in Pennsylvania and other IUP and community entities. 

Stephanie Caulder

Stephanie Caulder, professor and past chair of the Music Department, received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Creative Arts. A member of the faculty since 2002, she is principal oboist with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra and Keystone Wind Ensemble and has performed with many orchestras and ensembles in southeastern states. She also toured Russia with the IUP Faculty Woodwind Quintet in 2015.

Dana Driscoll

Dana Driscoll, professor of English and director of the Jones White Writing Center, received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Research. Now in her sixth year at IUP, she researches how people learn to write and to transfer that knowledge to other circumstances and how to support research-based writing center practices. She is involved in the Writing Transfer Project and in a decade-long study of student writers.

John Lipinski

John Lipinski, professor of management, received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching. In his eighth year on the faculty, he coordinates IUP’s domestic MBA programs and codirects the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Leadership Center. From his corporate career, he brings a global perspective to the classroom. Through videoconferencing technology, he has welcomed international guest speakers and conducted a virtual study-abroad program. 

Julene Pinto-Dyczewski

Julene Pinto-Dyczewski ’87, M’89, associate director of Residence Life in the Office of Housing, Residence Living, and Dining, received the Distinguished Staff Award for Service. She has spent most of her 30 years at IUP training students for leadership roles. She is a Difficult Dialogues diversity facilitator; a Safe Zone co-coordinator; a trainer for Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) suicide prevention; and a Green Dot Bystander Intervention trainer. 

New Trustee

In January, Jennifer Hartman Baker ’05 of Armstrong County was appointed to a six-year term on the IUP Council of Trustees. A teacher at St. Luke Lutheran School in Cabot, Baker replaced James Miller, a council member since 2005.

Board of Governors

Last fall, Alex Fefolt, a history/pre-law and political science major from Indiana, was confirmed as a member of the board of governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. A student in the Cook Honors College, he is president of IUP’s Student Government Association.

International Scholarships

Khala Vines, an international studies and Asian studies major from Duncansville, has received three scholarships—the David L. Boren and Benjamin A. Gilman international scholarships and the Freeman Award for Study in Asia—to support her studies at Korea University next spring.

Goldwater Scholars

Vincent Thompson, a physics and mathematics dual major, and Arie Van Wieren, a biochemistry major in the Cook Honors College, were recently selected for the Goldwater Scholarship. This is the first time IUP has had two Goldwater recipients in one year.

Impact Awards

In February, IUP’s College of Education and Communications presented Impact Awards to six alumni for outstanding achievement in their professions: Scott Pitts ’92, owner of Spit Digital Creative; Laura Metz Crothers ’95, D’01, Duquesne University school psychology professor; Matt Curci M’02, D’12, Apollo-Ridge School District superintendent; Palmaann Darenkamp ’03, M’13, learning lab facilitator at IUP’s Career and Technical Personnel Preparation Center; Erin Clark ’14, director of the IUP Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic; and Henry Lewis III M’14, student services administrator at Virginia Commonwealth University.