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Three receive Meyerson mentoring awards

Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, center in blue blouse, with students (from left) Rebecca Wagner, Mercy Palomque, Theresa Yera and Katie Damian at the Department of Anthropology’s recent undergraduate student poster competition. Wagner, who was supervised by Bacigalupo, took second place for her poster, “Anime: Escapism and Consumerism in U.S. Youth.” Photo: Douglas Levere

By SUE WUETCHER

Published April 23, 2015

UB faculty members Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, Lance Rintamaki and Mark Swihart are the recipients of the 2015 President Emeritus and Mrs. Martin Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring.

The Meyerson award, UB’s highest award given specifically for undergraduate mentoring, honors faculty members for the outstanding guidance and support they provide undergraduates to help them develop the skills necessary not only for research and creative activity, but also for critical thinking and innovation.

It was established by the late UB President Emeritus Martin Meyerson and his wife, Margy Ellen, to recognize exceptional teaching at the university. Martin Meyerson, who served as UB's 10th president from 1966-69, was the first president appointed after UB's merger with SUNY.

The recipients will be recognized in the fall at the annual Celebration of Faculty/Staff Excellence.

Lance Rintamaki

“Each year, the Meyerson award recognizes the impact quality mentoring has on the student experience and academic achievement,” Andrew Stott, dean of undergraduate education, said in announcing the winners. “As UB strives to deepen and enrich student involvement across the campus, we look to our faculty to cultivate rich opportunities that will give students an advantage in their chosen fields.”

Bacigalupo, associate professor of anthropology, is a noted scholar of shamanism among the indigenous Mapuche of south-central Chile. The Mapuche, and in particular their shamanic practices, have been the subject of 34 of Bacigalupo’s refereed articles in ethnology and anthropology journals, 10 refereed book chapters and five books or monographs, including “Thunder Shaman: Making History with Mapuche Spirits in Patagonia,” forthcoming from the University of Texas Press.

She has received numerous fellowships from, among others, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the School for Advanced Research (Santa Fe), Harvard Divinity School and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

She will be on leave for the 2015-16 academic year at the Max Planck Institute for Religion and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany, where she will conduct enthographic research on the Mapuche with a fellowship from the prestigious Max Planck Society.

Mark Swihart

Bacigalupo is the recipient of numerous UB awards, including the Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellowship; the Outstanding Young Investigator Award; the UB 2020 Award for Excellence in Cultural, Historical and Literary/Textual Studies; the Milton Plesur Excellence in Teaching Award from the undergraduate Student Association; the Faculty Internationalization Research Grant and the Gender Institute’s Faculty Research Award.

Rintamaki, associate professor of communication, focuses his research interests in health communication.

He has conducted extensive research into the problems the deaf confront when seeking health care and information, and the ways in which they use or don't use the Internet to get either.

He also has studied how social stigma serves as a barrier to key health behaviors among people managing chronic illness, including those who are HIV-positive.

He is a member of the National Communication Association, the International Communication and the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare.

Rintamaki, who also holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, received a BA from Michigan State University, an MA from Ball State University and a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He did postdoctoral training in general internal medicine and health services research at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Swihart, UB Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, also serves as executive director of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics. His research, funded primarily by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and industry, is focused on the creation of new nanomaterials with applications in optoelectronics, such as light-emitting diodes and solar cells; in biomedical imaging and therapy; and in diverse energy-related applications.

Swihart has been selected four times as “Professor of the Year” by undergraduates in his department and has been honored by the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program and the NSF-SUNY Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

Since joining the UB faculty in 1998, he has served as research adviser to more than 50 graduate students and more than 90 undergraduate researchers.

He was the 2013 recipient of the Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal, given annually by the Western New York section of the American Chemical Society to honor individuals from the Buffalo Niagara region for outstanding work and service in the fields of chemical engineering or chemistry. He was presented the medal in “recognition of his pioneering research in the field of inorganic nanoparticle synthesis and processing, and for his outstanding record of accomplishment in scholarship, teaching and service in the field of chemistry in Western New York.”