The Social Entrepreneur
Dena Mekawi ’15, MS Publishing, was named an Arab America Foundation 40 Under 40 awardee for her work in advocating for representation of the Arab community and other underrepresented communities in media and advertising. A “social entrepreneur,” Mekawi engages brands and advertisers with communications strategies that incorporate social impact into their business models through her company Style & Resilience (also known as Mekawi Impact). Mekawi has also advised several United Nations agencies and was selected to moderate and develop peace strategies for the International Day of Peace in 2016.
Young New Yorkers on the Rise
Dylan Tragni ’15, Political Science, and Nicholas Novak ’15, Political Science, were named to City & State New York’s NYC 40 Under 40 for 2022. Tragni, vice president at leading government relations firm Bolton-St. John’s, currently advocates for clients in city government, after spending a decade working for Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez, rising to roles as her chief of staff and senior strategist. Novak has worked for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association for eight years. In his current role as development manager, he organizes fundraising events and handles outreach to elected officials, with an aim of ensuring that workers have access to a robust criminal justice system.
Stem Students Shine
Eight students from behavioral neuroscience, biology, chemistry, and forensic science—accompanied by Associate Professor of Biology Daniel Strahs, PhD, and Assistant Professor of Biology Wei Fang, PhD—attended the 2023 Eastern Colleges Science Conference at Sacred Heart University.
Noor Aayla ’23, Behavioral Neuroscience, received the Chemistry Poster Presentation Award for her work with Strahs, titled “A Method to Analyze Electrostatic Interactions Between Ethacridine and Topoisomerase IA in E. coli.”
Denia Diaz ’23, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Anastasiia Kirdiianova ’26, Behavioral Neuroscience, who both conducted research with Associate Professor of Biology Jeanmaire Molina, PhD, received the Ecology Poster Presentation Award for their poster, “A Symbiotic Trifecta: The World’s Largest Parasitic Flowers, Their Host Plant, and the Microbes That Live Within.”
Chemistry Students Honored by American Chemical Society
Ethan Grimes ’23, Biochemistry (NYC), Sara Hubbi ’23, Biochemistry (PLV), Angelina Italiano ’23, Chemistry (PLV), and Valerie Malachin ’23, Chemistry (NYC) received New York Section Awards Certificates of Excellence from the American Chemical Society (ACS) at the Middle Atlantic Region Meeting this spring, selected as part of a group of 50 college students from the region recognized for their academic excellence in chemistry. Additionally, the New York City chapter of the Pace Chemistry Club was honored as a commendable student organization by the ACS and received a Green Chemistry Award, which recognizes student chapters that have completed at least three “green” chemistry initiatives in an academic year.
Turning Real-Life Research into Meaningful Advocacy
In partnership with the Westchester Children’s Association (WCA), Sydney Moraitis ’22, MPA, and Associate Professor and former Director of MPA Gina Scutelnicu-Todoran, PhD, spearheaded “Digital Access Survey: Perceptions of Parents in the K–12 Schools of Westchester County, New York,” which surveyed families on their digital access, skills, and knowledge. Moraitis and WCA then presented the findings of the survey at a press conference on Pace’s Westchester campus in October.
Dyson Students Honored at Commencement
The Dyson Class of 2023 was nothing short of impressive, and several Dyson students were recognized at commencement with University-level honors.
Marisa Medici ’22, Communication and Media Studies and Political Science (NYC), and Tinuade McClish ’23, Psychology (PLV), were honored with the Trustee Award, presented to “students whose positive contributions to University life and academic accomplishments exemplify the highest level of achievement attainable for an undergraduate.” Medici, who graduated with a 3.98 GPA, was an active volunteer in voting engagement with the Center for Community Action and Research and interned for Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. McClish served as an excelsior scholar mentor, a writing consultant in the Learning Commons, a resident assistant, and vice president of communications of the Student Government Association while maintaining a 3.83 GPA.
Tasfia Rahim ’23, Economics and Political Science, was awarded the 2023 Community Service Award for New York City. As student projects coordinator for CCAR, Rahim worked on initiatives relating to student voter engagement, immigration justice advocacy, and Social Justice Week programming. Rahim was also co-founder of Fare Trade, a student-run initiative to combat food insecurity on campus.
Additionally, Cameron Maruszewksi ’23, Art and Psychology (NYC), served as the valedictorian speaker at the University-wide main ceremony at commencement, and Jeremiah Williams ’23, Political Science (NYC), served as the student speaker for the Dyson ceremony.
Joseph C. Morreale, PhD, Honored with Inaugural Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award
Presented to the full-time faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary dedication to teaching, service, scholarship, and excellence in their discipline and a commitment to the Pace University community, the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award was given, in its inaugural year, to Distinguished Professor of Economics Joseph C. Morreale, PhD. Morreale has 51 years of experience in academia at seven institutions, including 21 years in higher education administration. As a member and chair of the Pace Economics department, Morreale developed new courses that centered around experiential learning, including a study abroad course to China and a senior research capstone. In addition to his own research in public finance and administration, healthcare economics, environmental economics, and higher education development and planning, Morreale mentored hundreds of students who presented their scholarly work at internal and external conferences, continued their studies at prestigious graduate schools, and built successful careers. Morreale’s work in strategic planning, his commitment to pedagogical innovation, and his dynamic and effective teaching style have left a lasting impact on the Pace University community.
Elmer-Rico Mojica, PhD, Receives Kenan Award for Teaching Excellence
NEW YORK CITY CAMPUS
Elmer- Rico Mojica, PhD, associate professor of Chemistry and Physical Sciences, has been beloved by his students since he joined Pace in 2011. Mojica is known for incorporating pop culture into teaching chemistry—or “chemtertainment,” as he calls it— engaging students in a unique way in notoriously challenging courses. A researcher of analytical chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, food science, and environmental science, Mojica has 36 publications in peer-reviewed journals and emphasizes the importance of undergraduate research, leading a 75-member research group called Mojica Research Group. Additionally, Mojica serves as the program director of the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP), a grant from the New York State Education Department that provides resources, workshops, and scholarship funding for STEM students from economically disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds.
Three Dyson Professors Selected to Participate in Fulbright Programs
Seong Jae Min, PhD
Communications and Media Studies: South Korea
Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies Seong Jae Min, PhD, has received a Fulbright Award for 2023–24 to research and teach in South Korea. Min’s project, “Practicing Alternative Journalism to Bridge Political Divides,” will involve studying journalism practices intended to reduce political polarization, specifically how citizen-produced and public-oriented journalism can encourage democratic attitudes in Korea.
In addition to conducting research, Min will consult on curriculum at Hanyang University, teach Introduction to Journalism and Citizen Journalism courses, and explore collaboration opportunities between Pace and Hanyang.
Nancy Reagin, PhD
Through the US Fulbright Program, Professor of History Nancy Reagin, PhD, will spend the 2023–24 academic year in Iaşi, Romania. Reagin’s research through the program will examine gender in fascist movements in a transnational context. Romania’s Iron Guard, which had close connections to Germany’s National Socialists, is among the most important fascist movements in interwar Europe.
In addition to her research, Reagin will teach a history course and a gender studies course, as well as consult on curriculum, at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, the oldest university in Romania. Reagin was granted Pace University’s President’s Award for Scholarly Leave to pursue her work through the Fulbright Program.
Anna Shostya, PhD
Associate Professor of Economics Anna Shostya, PhD—who is known for innovative courses at Pace, including an interdisciplinary course that combines photography and economics—spent three weeks at the American University of Moldova this spring, serving as a Fulbright Specialist.
Through her project, “Pedagogy, Curriculum Transformation, and Global Challenges,” Shostya shared her expertise in innovative teaching practices to aid in a transformation of the university’s business and economics sciences curricula. With a particular focus on promoting undergraduate research experiences, Shostya helped to develop a culture of experiential learning at the university.
Shamita Dutta Gupta, PhD, Presented with Mathematical Association of America Distinguished Teaching Award
Professor of Mathematics Shamita Dutta Gupta, PhD, was presented with a Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Distinguished Teaching Award at the organization’s Metro New York Section Annual Meeting, which was held this spring at Pace. Dutta Gupta, who has been a member of the Mathematics department at Pace since 2000, earning tenure in 2002, was recognized by the MAA for her innovative curriculum development, prolific research, and dedication to student success. At Pace, Dutta Gupta has launched several learning communities, including interdisciplinary programs with the English and Women’s and Gender Studies departments. Dutta Gupta’s courses center on experiential learning, and she employs effective strategies to promote student success and retention in calculus sequence courses. She also serves as faculty advisor to undergraduate students conducting research.
Vyshali Manivannan, PhD, Honored with Rutgers School of Graduate Studies Distinguished Scholarly Achievement Award
Deemed the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies’s most prestigious honor, the Distinguished Scholarly Achievement Award is presented to “a student who demonstrates the highest possible level of academic excellence and achievement.” Clinical Assistant Professor of Writing and Cultural Studies Vyshali Manivannan, PhD, was this year’s recipient, selected from all School of Graduate Studies Doctor of Philosophy candidates. Manivannan earned her degree in Communication, Information, and Media from Rutgers last fall.
Maria Iacullo-Bird, PhD, Named President of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)
Assistant Provost for Research and Clinical Associate Professor of History Maria Iacullo-Bird, PhD, has been named president of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), the leading national organizational voice on undergraduate research, for 2024–25. In addition to her internal service as the former chair of the Society of Fellows and the inaugural director of Pace’s Center for Undergraduate Research Experiences, Iacullo-Bird has served in leadership roles with CUR since 2013, including councilor, Arts and Humanities Division chair, and member of the executive board. She will serve as president-elect for 2023–24 before rising to president the following term.
MPA Professors Co-Author Report on Community Needs
Professors of Public Administration Gina Scutelnicu-Todoran, PhD, and Rebecca Tekula, PhD, co-authored a report—in partnership with the Helene T. and Grant M. Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University and the Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester, and Tuckahoe—that identified growing needs in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention services in lower Westchester. The survey, which took place over 18 months, consisted of interviews with local nonprofits, service providers, and stakeholders. The Pace faculty presented the findings this spring at the Bronxville Public Library, while offering recommendations for how the results can inform the work of the Community Fund and other local organizations.
We send our best wishes to these dedicated faculty on their retirement!
Ellease Ebele Oseye, MFA
48 years of service
distinguished professor, English
Joseph C. Morreale, PhD
34 years of service
distinguished professor, economics
Joshua Yarmish, PhD
52 years of service