College of Arts and Sciences Awards

Recognizing the recipients of The Barbara Cooke Staff Appreciation Awards, Outstanding Faculty Awards, and Board of Advisors Alumni Awards. 

Barbara Cooke Staff Appreciation Awards

The Barbara Cooke Staff Appreciation Awards recognize leadership, competency, enthusiasm, dedication, and a positive attitude in interactions with others.

2022 Staff Honorees

Sean CongdonSean Congdon’s hard work and dedication to our students, his collegial approach to working with faculty and staff, and his boundless energy and enthusiasm for science make him deserving of the Barbara Cooke Staff Appreciation Award. Sean originally joined us as a part-time faculty member teaching several biology courses, and by fall 2019, he was selected as our full-time laboratory supervisor for Anatomy and Physiology labs.

Sean prepares weekly labs, revises curriculum in consultation with faculty, and supervises teaching assistants. In 2020, he took on the challenge of abruptly shifting all lab sections to remote learning and he redesigned all summer labs to a fully online format. He planned for remote and in-person versions of labs, kept track of students in quarantine, and students shifting from in person to fully remote status. Sean successfully applied for funds to purchase zSpace laptops, which use augmented reality to teach anatomical structures, and for the purchase of biopacs, which allow students to measure their own physiological parameters, such as EKGs.

Zachary HainesZachary Haines goes above and beyond in every instance and finds creative ways to solve complex problems. He joined the School of Communication in August 2020 and oversees the School’s computer-based classrooms, editing facilities, and production equipment and ensures necessary supplies and equipment are purchased, maintained, and stored.

Zachary teaches production courses in the Cinema program and supervises student lab monitors and equipment room workers. He also works with faculty on securing technology for course content and assists with updating curriculum and purchasing new equipment and software. He recently researched the best items that would meet technology needs for the new student-run agency Crested Communications, the expanded audio production studio, and the School’s collaboration with The Hartt School. Last summer, Zachary oversaw the relocation of the equipment from the Cinema and Digital Media & Journalism programs to a new centralized location near the TV studio. He also implemented the new inventory tracking system for students to use when borrowing equipment for video and film production projects.

Karen SchermerhornKaren Schermerhorn will celebrate 20 years of working at the University of Hartford this year and is in her 17th year of teaching for the School of Communication. Karen has worked various roles in academic and student affairs including academic advising, health education and wellness, career services, and student services. 

Karen is also an academic advisor. When the University abruptly shifted to remote instruction in spring 2020, Karen played a critical role in our successful navigation through all these challenges including making the transition to remote advising. Karen took on the responsibility for maintaining advising forms and information on Blackboard sites. Going forward, the School of Communication will keep this online material on Blackboard because of its convenience to students and advisors. In her varied roles at UHart, Karen strives to encourage students to explore their passions and interests, gain confidence in their abilities, make positive and healthy lifestyle choices, and become resilient and forward focused in the pursuit of their professional and personal goals and dreams. 

2020-21 Honorees

  • Mary Dowst, Office Coordinator, Departments of Biology and Chemistry

  • Nancy Dudek, Office Coordinator, Department of English and Modern Languages

  • Donna Galin, Office Coordinator, Departments of Computing Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics (Currently Office Coordinator in the Department of English and Modern Languages)

  • Susan Gottlieb, Office Coordinator, School of Communication and Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies

  • Sharmon Kennedy, Office Coordinator, Department of Psychology

  • Cindy Oppenheimer, Office Coordinator, Departments of History and Philosophy; Politics, Economics, and International Studies; and Sociology and Criminal Justice

2019-20 Honorees

  • Shelley Fischer, Office Coordinator, Department of Mathematics (Currently Office Coordinator, Department of Education, College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions)

  • Pamela Masi, Office Coordinator, Department of History (Currently Executive Assistant, Dean's Office)

Outstanding Faculty Awards

The Outstanding Faculty Awards recognize extraordinary achievements and outstanding contributions in any of or all three categories: teaching, scholarship/professional productivity, and/or service.

2022 Faculty Honorees

susan-grantham-640x640.jpgSusan Grantham is being recognized for her outstanding research. She joined the University in 2003, was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2009, and was promoted to professor in 2015. She has published dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles that analyze how companies report their social responsibility activity and the messaging they provide. An article published in Health Marketing Quarterly addresses the important health communication issue of college-age students' adoption of HPV vaccines.

In 2021, Susan also published a co-written book chapter on social responsibility communication. Her published book chapter in Public relations for social responsibility: Affirming DEI commitment with action, examines the pharmaceutical industries' DEI practices. The book has been nominated for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Tankard Book Award, which recognizes the most outstanding book in the field of journalism and communication. Susan has served as the chair of the public relations division in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and in addition to several service commitments, she continues to mentor several female faculty members in the public relations discipline. 


Aime Levesque is being recognized for her outstanding teaching and dedication to students. She joined the University of Hartford faculty in 2006 and was granted tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2013. She has served as chair of the Department of Biology since 2018.  

In the classroom, Aime applies innovative teaching practices and she has published three articles on the scholarship of teaching and learning, with two more in development. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she taught fully remotely and employed innovative practices to engage students in the remote environment. These included the use of a “flipped” classroom model where students watched pre-recorded lectures before class and engaged in group problem-solving activities in class.

Aime has published nine peer-reviewed journal articles since joining the University, five of which have been published in the last three years. Notably, many of these articles and abstracts included undergraduate and graduate students as co-authors. She is committed to involving undergraduate students in her research and has mentored over 30 undergraduate and graduate students since joining the University.


Hashini Mohottala is being recognized for her teaching and dedication to stuents. She joined UHart’s Department of Physics in 2008 and was promoted to associate professor in 2014. Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Hashini is a teacher-scholar, always bringing her mainstream research into the classroom and involving students in her research. As an active mentor, Hashini has worked with students studying engineering, chemistry, computer science, and physics. She has been especially supportive of women and students of color, who are often underrepresented in physics.  

Before the pandemic, Hashini made several trips to UConn research facilities with her students to get them involved in research. The students became authors on some of the papers she published, and some attended conferences to present their work. Hashini has published several papers on her teaching. One important concept she has studied is “just in-time teaching," which uses out of class "warm-up assignments” and puzzles to prepare students for in-class problem-solving. She has used this to great advantage in conjunction with wiki-spaces to help students actively participate in building their skills and knowledge.

2020-2021 Honorees

  • Robert Decker, PhD, Professor of Mathematics

  • Kelly Weber, PhD, Associate Director, Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology, Clinical Teaching Associate Professor of Psychology

2019-20 Honorees

  • Bin Zhu, PhD, Associate Professor, Biology; Director, Environmental Studies Minor

  • Lynne Kelly, PhD, Professor, School of Communication

  • Nicholas Ealy, PhD, Professor, Department of English and Modern Languages 

Board of Advisors Alumni Awards

The Board of Advisors Alumni Awards celebrate the value of a liberal arts education and recognize the significant achievements of Arts and Sciences alumni who make a difference in their profession and/or their community.

2022 Alumni Honorees

ThomasPrior to founding Brand Equity Ventures, Tom served as Chair of TBWA/Worldwide Inc. in New York City, a top-10-ranked global advertising network with 307 offices in 99 countries. He served as its President and Chief Executive Officer, and his prior positions with that firm were Vice Chair and President of the Americas.  As an entrepreneur, leader, and creative visionary, Thomas spearheaded the transformation of TBWA from an independent, creative shop into one of the most effective networks in the world. Under his leadership, TBWA evolved relationships with global clients such as Gatorade, McDonald’s, Nissan, and Pepsi, and he helped recruit clients Johnson & Johnson and GSK. 

Prior to TBWA, Tom has worked across a range of global brands at other advertising firms and served clients such Guinness Import Company, Citibank, and Rossignol. Earlier in his career, he was at the Chiat\Day advertising firm, serving as Vice President and Management Supervisor in New York City, working on the U.S. launches of Perrier and Moosehead beer. Tom regularly appears at industry, business, and academic events, including speaking at Advertising Week 2013, co-hosting on Bloomberg Surveillance TV, and speaking to college students. He was named Advertising Age’s Executive of the Year in 2008. 

After losing his father to ALS in 1973, Tom began his service with The ALS Association as a member of the Board of The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter. He is also the co-chair of the chapter's Lou Gehrig Sports Award Benefit and a member of the National Board of Trustees of the ALS Association. 

TangieTangie McDougald is a Hartford, Connecticut native and received an associate’s degree in Social Services at Capital Community College. She earned an undergraduate degree with a double major in Psychology and Sociology at UHart and a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of St. Joseph. After completing graduate school Tangie worked for a nonprofit organization where she obtained certification as a Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapist.

Led by her passion to bridge the gap of inequalities in mental healthcare, in 1997 she founded Community Matters, LLC. Based on the needs of the community, Tangie’s group practice has focused primarily on adults. She went on to form Community Matters Outpatient Psychiatric Clinic for Children in 2020 with a mission to focus primarily on the impact that trauma has on children.

Tangie is a bestselling author, award-winning business leader, life member of the NAACP and Community Service Chair of Theta Alpha Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho, Incorporated. Tangie describes her quest to change the stigma surrounding BIPOC and mental health as PERSONAL. In addition to running two mental health clinics, Tangie serves as a counselor, coach, and consultant to other inspiring clinicians who are looking to start, grow and scale their clinical practices. 

PedroPedro Segarra was nominated by Governor Ned Lamont to serve a five-year term as Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. Previously, he was sworn in to serve as the Mayor of the City of Hartford on June 25, 2010, and again on January 3, 2012, after he was overwhelmingly selected by Hartford voters.

Pedro was born the oldest of six children in Maricao, Puerto Rico. He moved to Hartford with his family from New York as a teenager. While his arrival in the city did not result in an immediate escape from the extreme poverty his family faced, it fueled his determination to succeed and not be defined by his circumstances. After graduating from the former Greater Hartford Community College (now Capital Community College), Pedro earned a full scholarship to the University of Hartford and earned a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Government. He went on to attend the University of Connecticut Schools of Social Work and Law, where he was a founding member of the Latino Law School Organization and served as its first President. He is currently admitted to the Connecticut state and federal bars (1986) and was admitted to the Bar of the State of Florida (2000).

Pedro was the youngest person to serve as Corporation Counsel for the City of Hartford when he was appointed in 1991. His public service includes his appointment as a member of the Court of Common Council in 2006 and re-election in his own right to that seat the following year. As Mayor, Pedro was active in the United States Conference of Mayors where he held several positions including Trustee.

Aside from his political involvement, Pedro has served as the co-founder of the Hogar Crea Drug/Alcohol Treatment Center, the Connecticut Latinas/Latinos Achieving Rights and Opportunities, and the Hispanic Health Council. He is involved in the community by marching in the local Puerto Rican Day and LGBTQ pride parades.

2020-21 Honorees

  • Robert Ellis ’72, Vice President, Director of Marketing, The Wyatt Company (Retired)

  • Latoya Nichole Hampton ’03, Mitigation Specialist, Federal Community Defender Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

2019-20 Honorees

  • Marcy Campbell ‘82, Vice President, Global Professional Services, Digital & In-store Commerce, SME Sales PayPal, Inc.

  • James C. Rovella ’80, M’82, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection