NSC Faculty members receive awards, recognition from peers

Nevada State College faculty members are receiving awards and recognition on a national level, from alumni awards to national committees and academic journals.

Assistant Professor of English Dr. Leila Pazargadi recently received The Erica J. Murray 01 Young Alumna Seal Award from her alma mater, Occidental College. The Alumna Seal Award recognizes those members of the Occidental community who have distinguished themselves and, therefore, brought honor to Occidental College.

Leila's accomplishments since her Oxy graduation are truly admirable and remarkable, said Dana Valk Brandsey, Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement at Occidental College. The committee reviewing nominations were blown away by Leila's work after Occidental. She embodies the ideals and mission by serving as a leader in an increasingly pluralistic world.

Dr. Pazagardi accepted the award at an Occidental College Alumni Reunion Weekend event this past June. She thanked Nevada State College for supporting her endeavors. It was a dream come true, Dr. Pazargadi said. I m just so honored.

Dr. Pazagardi is the co-founder and director of NSC's Nepantla Summer Bridge Program, a six-week intensive summer program that prepares incoming first generation college freshmen for the rigors of college life. What I try to do is replicate this personal experience that I had here, that one-on-one mentorship, with my students there [at NSC], she said.

Students in the Summer Bridge participate in three courses: CEP, foundational math, and English composition, based upon individual placement testing. I m really proud of the Summer Bridge program, Dr. Pazargadi said. These are students who walk in, and they say, we never thought college was for us. The Summer Bridge gives those students hope; it is the beginning of a four-year cradle to career program at NSC, providing students with scholarships, resources, networking and guidance to ensure the completion of their undergraduate studies.

Her work with the Summer Bridge Program, her teachings at Nevada State College and her authoring of her book all represent the ideals for which this award is given, Brandsey said.

Dr. Pazargadi also recently attended the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Annual Meeting & Conference in Washington, D.C., where she was elected to the (AAUP) Assembly of State Conferences as an At-Large member of the Executive Committee. The Assembly is a national group under the AAUP that trains and supports state activities on issues related to government relations, academic freedom and tenure, membership development, and communications.

Dr. Pazargadi is not the only faculty member receiving acclaim/recognition from her colleagues. Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Gwen Sharp received an award for educational and teaching technology through Cal State's MERLOT Consortium. Additionally, Dr. Kevin Graziano was appointed to the Innovation & Technology Committee from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

NSC faculty members have also been published in several journals, such as the Journal of the American Chemical Society (Dr. Zach Woydziak), the Journal of Geoscience Education (Dr. Larry Rudd), the Journal of Creative Library Practice (Mr. Ernesto Hernandez), and the Journal of Estuaries & Coasts (Dr. Bryan Sigel).

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