Recognition of Faculty & Staff

Each fall the Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics recognizes the outstanding scholarship, teaching and service of its faculty and staff. Recipients of the 2021 awards are listed below.

aisha ali-gombe

Dr. Aisha Ali-Gombe, Excellence in Scholarship Award

Dr. Ali-Gombe has established a very strong cybersecurity research record since arriving at TU in 2017.  Her research expertise and interests are in malware analysis, memory forensics, and platform privacy.  In this short period of time, Aisha has received three external research grants from the National Science Foundation, National Security Agency, and the Center for Inclusive Computing totaling $463,000.  Her early Career grant addresses the importance of detecting malicious malware on smart mobile devices.  An overall outcome of her research project is to develop techniques and tools that will allow cybersecurity investigators to easily identify user actions and strategies and better understand malware attack strategies to secure mobile devices.  Aisha’s project has broader impacts that target the ability to advance cybersecurity techniques in digital forensics and the incorporation of undergraduate and graduate students in her research and courses.  In her own department, she has established a Malware and Forensic Technology (MFT) research group.  The quality of Aisha’s research is recognized by the scientific community.  She has been very productive and published 25 papers in total and some of these journals have a paper acceptance ratio of only 20%.  She has built an international reputation and established both internal and external collaborations.  Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, as she has been asked to serve on program committees for panels such as NSF.

heather bohle

Ms. Heather Bohle, Staff Performance Award

Ms. Bohle works as a Student Services Coordinator in the Computer and Information Sciences department. Her main duties include overseeing scheduling and advising.  She monitors and updates enrollment, plans course offerings, modifies, and creates curricula, manages graduation clearances, and handles letters pertaining to academic integrity, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Post Enrollment Checking Rosters and reports. If these duties were not enough, she also is the point of contract for onboarding course materials to adjunct and doctoral faculty, helps with training advisors, and has created very helping faculty and student advising workshops, as well as the creating of advising guides.  Lastly, Heather has worked to increase and constantly update the social networking presence of her department.

andrea chenowith

Ms. Andrea Chenowith, Staff Performance Award

Ms. Chenowith joined TU in 2017 and serves as the program coordinator for the MS in Applied Information Technology, School of Emerging Technology, and CIS Graduate Coordinator.  She has taken on additional responsibilities for the MS program in Computer Science and the D.Sc. in Information Technology program.  Andrea takes on a leadership role in transfer and FYE advising, student outreach, coordination of student applications, scheduling of courses, faculty compensation, coordinating annual data, submission of program assessment, graduate assistant hiring, overseeing Graduation Clearance Forms, Transfer Petition Forms, departmental website editing, and managing the SET budget.  She is in charge and very efficient in overseeing purchasing and procurement, reimbursement processing, student hiring and student payment management, faculty additional compensation processing, and staff employment requisition.  She also assists the director in managing the different Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that operate within the aegis of SET.

min deng

Dr. Min Deng, Outstanding Faculty Award

Dr. Deng is currently the Director of Actuarial Science and Risk Management (ASRM) program since her arrival at TU in 2016.  She has led the ASRM program through several changes and through a reaccreditation as a Center of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries (SOA).  For those of you who do not know, keeping this designation is hard work. The program must graduate a certain number of students every year and the program needs to meet a measurable standard as determined by the SOA.  In addition, the faculty involved in the program need to meet established criteria, including producing publications in specific rigorous peer-reviewed journals.  Alumni must be productive members as well. Min has published six research papers in the last five years, often collaborating with faculty in her department.  The results of Min’s superb leadership and administration of the ASRM program has resulted in higher percentages of students taking and passing actuarial exams.  She managed to build on the success of undergraduate ASRM program by developing and implementing a new Master’s program in Actuarial Science and Predictive Analytics.  Min does a vast amount of service for the Department and University.  She has served on numerous committees not related to ASRM, including search committees, the Resource Planning and Advisory Committee, Faculty Salary Review Committee, and the Academic Senate.  Min has excelled in teaching.  Many of her students have expressed appreciation for her enthusiasm.  She has received excellent student evaluations.  Several students commented that the courses that they have taken from her have prepared them well for the actuarial exams and many more express their appreciation for how she is always available to help them.


elana ehrlich

Dr. Elana Ehrlich, Mentoring Award

Dr. Ehrlich joined the faculty at TU in 2011.  In her time at TU, she has made a tremendous impact on students through her mentoring activities.  Elana is the co-PI on two NIH grants focused on engaging students through her mentoring activities as a research supervisor, Co-Director (co-PI) on the Bridges to Baccalaureate grant, Co-Director on the Bridges to Doctorate grant, and as a member of the TU-Women in Science Steering Committee, an affiliate of a national organization.  As Co-Director of both Bridges programs, she oversees recruitment and outreach activities, admissions, and program activities.  She plans weekly cohort meetings, coordinates participation in activities, helps students with enrollment in coursework, arranges for students to participate in peer mentoring, and ensures that students are prepared to present their research at meetings.  When Elana is not busy co-directing the Bridges programs, she serves as research supervisor to her own research students with her own NIH grant, helping them to have a deeper understanding of science, troubleshooting failed experiments, and strengthening their analytical skills.  Elana’s commitment to mentoring students within our college, topped with her enthusiasm and dedication, makes her a most deserving candidate for this award.

kelly elkins

Dr. Kelly Elkins, University & Professional Service Award

Dr. Elkins came to TU as an Assistant Professor in 2012 from Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she served at the Forensic Science Program Director.  She has distinguished herself with her service, particularly in the American Chemical Society where she serves currently as the Secretary of the Professional Relations Division and was Chair of the Ethics Subdivision. In addition, she has chaired the Handbook subcommittee of the ACS Ethics Committee and organized several symposia.  She serves on the Executive Committee of the Maryland Local section and is currently a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, where she has been a member of the Criminalistics Ad Hoc Committee and Session Moderator for several meetings.  As a member of the Council of Forensic Science Educators, she is one of three editors for the Journal of Forensic Science Education.  It is apparent from Kelly’s CV that she loves to write and review articles and books for many major scientific publishers.  She has served on review panels for the National Institute of Justice and the National Science Foundation.  At the college level, Kelly has served as the Chair of the FCSM College Council for two years and is currently a member of the Undergraduate Research Committee and a Faculty Academic Center of Excellence at (FACET) Research Fellow.  Kelly remains an active member in her department.  She serves currently on the Curriculum Committee, Undergraduate Programs Committee, and Executive Committee and has been involved in some faculty searches.  There is little doubt as to why she is thought of as an Energizer Bunny in her department who is always willing to help!

sarah haines

Dr. Sarah Haines, Business & Community Outreach Award

Dr. Haines has been a member of the TU community since 2000.  Throughout the years, her teaching and research foci on environmental education and outreach have been fundamental components of her work.  She has been very successful in integrating both her teaching and research with businesses and the community at the local, state, and national levels. She has disseminated her passion for outreach by making close to 40 presentations at regional and national conferences in the past five years.  Sarah has developed workshops with Project Learning Tree and served on the Baltimore City Public School’s Green Teaching Action Team.  She is a very familiar face at the Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, as well as other organizations which develop and bring STEM educational outreach activities to students.  Especially noteworthy is her Biology 304 course where she assisted the Irvine Nature Center in their programming development during the pandemic.  She gave both live Zoom presentations and made pre-recorded videos for families who had to remain at home during the pandemic.  She has partnered with the Baltimore National Aquarium as part of her TU-BTU activities and as a member of a larger think-tank which serves community and corporate partners to raise awareness, identify opportunities for growth and expansion, evaluate impacts and outcomes, and develop working teams to address strategic initiatives or challenges.  At the National Aquarium, Sarah has involved her own students to develop and provide field experiences for grade 6 city students.  Sarah has revised the state environmental literacy standards, worked to provide professional development opportunities, and created a career guide that are available in Maryland.  At the national level, Sarah works with the National Environmental Education Advisory Council to provide the Environmental Protection Agency with a better understanding of the needs of schools, universities, and state departments focused on education and national resources and educational organizations.

rajeswari kolagani

Dr. Rajeswari Kolagani, Mentoring Award

Dr. Kolagani joined our TU family back in 2001.  When you think about describing Raj’s mentorship qualities and strengths, quite a few things come to mind.  Raj is selfless, constantly providing encouragement to her students, persistent, kind, caring, an educator, a scholar, a professor, and mentor.  I wanted to share what one faculty member in her department said.  “Dr. Kolagani is as a successful researcher and mentor. Her dedication and hard work have greatly impressed and inspired me. When I was frustrated by rejected grants, Dr. Kolagani encouraged me to keep going and to never-give-up.  Her continuous dedications and great service to the whole department and college are an invaluable asset that deserves the respect and gratitude from us.  Dr. Kolagani met with me almost every week to answer my questions and discuss her own effective strategies to improve classroom teaching.  I benefited a lot from her effective suggestions and significantly improved my teaching. She has not only mentored me to become an excellent teacher, but also helped me to become a successful researcher.  Her dedication and hard-working have greatly impressed me and inspired me.” Well, I think that these comments just about sum up why Raj is so deserving of this award.

stanley max

Dr. Stanley Max, Outstanding Lecturer Award

Dr. Max began teaching at TU in the Mathematics Department as an adjunct back in 2011.  Four years later, he was hired as a fulltime lecturer. In a nutshell, Stanley has had an enormous impact on mathematics education in his department.  He has been described as a phenomenal colleague.  His main contribution over the years has focused on the redesign of Math 115, now called College Algebra.  This course is a prerequisite for Calculus for Applications and is one of the two largest math courses with ~800 students in 28 sections and with 19 different instructors during a single semester!  In order ensure that this course runs smoothly and is taught consistently between instructors, Stanley has served as Course Coordinator and has gone out of this way to hold training sessions for adjuncts to ensure that they deliver top-notch lectures.  He has created a new syllabus, homework assignments, and common exams for this course. Additionally, Stanley prepared the ground for a new course devoted to Trigonometry and other advanced Precalculus topics that was adopted in spring 2021 and had much impact in improving the teaching of Math 100.  As a noteworthy aside, Stan’s Ph.D. is actually in History, but decades later, he obtained not one, not two, not three, but four Masters Degrees! The fourth degree was in Statistics, while one of the others was in business!  Having said this, he took on teaching Math 330 (Probability and Statistics).  In addition to all of this, Stanley has published six articles.  Not surprising, Stanley’s quantitative scores are typically in the mid 4’s and he always gets glowing remarks from his dedicated students.  In short, they simply love him!

james overduin

Dr. James Overduin, Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Overduin began his/her career at Towson University in 2009. One of James’ nominators indicated that he was a “master teacher” and that his “teaching was extraordinary.” James loves teaching and over the years, has taught many courses and created many demonstrations to clarify complex physical concepts. He takes the time to write his own creative homework problems, often involving popular movie themes, to not only engage, but to challenge his students. His student evaluations are generally in the high fours out of five. As we all know when COVID hit, the switch to remote instruction proved to be challenging for most faculty members. James was ingenious and came up with a very creative way to meet virtually with his students and to keep them fully engaged. He converted his basement into an innovative online teaching studio with two computer screens. He displayed all students on one screen, so it was like having a live class in front of him. He mailed out packets of electronic lab equipment to his students so that they could all perform the laboratory experiments together. So, it was like a simulated in-person class.  He was able to perform highly creative lecture demonstrations, such as welding with a car battery, making pickles glow, and accelerating magnets. In the spring, he took his class to the Baltimore Harbor to visit the reciprocating steam engine in operation and this event was highlighted as a TU News story. Some of his colleagues feel that his greatest contribution may be in teaching individual students to do research. James has demonstrated his teaching effectiveness and outstanding mentorship by involving those students in independent research projects. He has attracted research students not only from PAGS, but from other majors, including the dance department!  Many of these students have ended up presenting their research at conferences and being co-authors on journal articles. During the past year, he has published six articles: four of which with TU student co-authors. He is a widely recognized educator and became an Advisory Board member for the Physics Educator in 2019.

mark profili

Mr. Mark Profili, Staff Performance Award

Mr. Profili joined our TU family 15 years ago as an adjunct professor teaching Forensic Chemistry.  At the time, Mark was the supervisor of the Trace Evidence Unit at the Baltimore City Crime Laboratory.  Following his retirement from Baltimore City, he became the full-time Director of Towson’s Forensic Science Program. Mark has developed a FEPAC accredited program and only a handful of such accredited undergraduate and graduate programs in the country.  Mark has led the second reaccreditation of both undergrad and grad programs.  Because of his leadership and dedication, the Forensic Science program has grown to encompass 50% of the Chemistry major population and the graduate program celebrates the success of approximately 20 graduate students who complete the program each year.  Statistics show that 90% of our majors find employment within the first year after their graduation and over the years, Mark has instrumental in helping students find not only internship, but job opportunities.

cheryl warren

Dr. Cheryl Warren, Outstanding Lecturer Award

Dr. Warren began teaching at TU in 2014 as an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences. In 2016, she was hired as a Lecturer.  Over the next seven years, she taught a wide array of classes, such as Introduction to Cell Biology, Genetics for Biology Majors, Introduction to Biology for Health Sciences, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Medical Terminology and the upper-level Molecular Biology Lab class.  She volunteered to be Course Coordinator of the Molecular Biology lab course, which as you can imagine, has added responsibilities including monitoring other sections of this course, ordering supplies, supervising undergraduate learning assistants, and developing experimentations.  This course, like other course-based undergraduate research pedagogy (CURE) courses, move students out of their comfort zone and encourage them to think on their feet, ask questions and learn new laboratory techniques while conducting authentic research experiments.  The cool thing about these courses, is that neither the instructor nor students know the results of any experiments ahead of time.  Cheryl teaches her students that negative experimental results may lead to paths of success and exciting new discoveries.  Cheryl is considered by her students as having a positive, caring, and considerate attitude and is willing to go beyond to ensure that all her students learn the course material.

kerry spence

Ms. Kerry Spence, Exceptional Service Award

Occasionally, the Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics recognizes a colleague outside of the college who has had an unusually positive impact.  Examples from the past include Mary Louise Healy (Research Office), John D’Army (Smith Hall operations and maintenance), and Kanji Takeno (University photographer).  This year, the college recognizes Ms. Kerry Spence, Facilities Planner, for her exceptional service and dedication to the completion and occupation of the new Science Complex.  Ms. Spence has gone well above and beyond in devoting her time and talent to this very complex project with her steadfast, professional management skills.

2021 Faculty and Staff Retirees

The college honored faculty retirees:

  • Mr. Howard Kaplon (Department of Mathematics)
  • Dr. Richard Seigel (Department of  Biological Sciences)
  • Dr. Houshang Sohrab (Department of Mathematics)
  • Dr. Alex Storrs (Department of Physics, Astronomy & Geosciences)

In Memoriam

virginia anderson

Dr. Virginia Anderson

Ph.D., University of Maryland.  Professor of Biological Sciences (1982–2017).  Passed away on May 29, 2021.

art yarbrough

Mr. Art Yarbrough

M.S., Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University).  Professor of Physical Science, then Chemistry, 1957–1991.  Passed away on August 11, 2021