Loyola Marymount University Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering honored two faculty and a staff member with college awards at Seaver’s end of the year meeting for 2023.
Nancy Fujishige, associate professor of biology, won the 2023 Elizabeth and Michael Rudinica Award for Teaching and Advising. This award recognizes her ability to effectively engage students in course material, as well as her direct interest in the academic well-being of the students and active participation in their advisement.
Fujishige joined Seaver College in 2013. Students rave about her care, empathy, kindness, as well as her enthusiasm and passion for her subject matter. One incident that exemplifies Fujishige’s care and dedication happened relatively early in the Covid lockdown, when we were all at home, teaching and learning online. To aid a student who encountered difficulty with an assigned at-home experiment, she drove to the student’s house, peered through the window to see what was happening with the experiment and provided feedback by speaking and gesturing through the window.
Todd Shoepe, professor and chair of the Health and Human Sciences Department, won the 2023 Rudinica Prize for Student-Faculty Research. This prize celebrates his effectiveness in developing research projects for students, guiding them in their work, as well as Shoepe’s command of his discipline and continuous growth in his field of study.
Shoepe joined Seaver College in 2005. In one recent year, he guided 36 students in research projects. Shoepe can often be seen dashing back and forth between working in his office to helping a student in one of the labs or in the study lounge. Many of these students go on to be involved as co-authors on journal or conference proceedings publications. These publications have gone on to be recognized with awards such as Best Original Student Research Project, or Publication of the Year. Shoepe also serves as a journal reviewer and as a co-editor.
Leticia Stassi, senior administrative coordinator who supports the Physics Department, Environmental Science Program and Coastal Research Institute, won the 2023 “Outstanding Staff Award. This award recognizes a Seaver staff member who goes above and beyond to support fellow colleagues, students and the Seaver community in ways that demonstrate service, dedication, initiative and professionalism.
Seaver community members who have worked with Stassi say that the amount of support she provides to both faculty and students is immeasurable and that she goes out of her way to engage with all students who pass by her office. Her department said that she is the “driving force”, “heart and soul” and “backbone” of the department.
In 2007, Elizabeth ’79 and Michael Rudinica ’75, M.S. ’79 established an endowment to recognize two meritorious faculty members each year. Mike shared that his motivation for the endowment stemmed from the profound difference faculty members made in his education. Both awards honor the recipients’ ability to inspire independent and creative thinking in students and to encourage their intellectual interests and curiosity. The awards recognize advising and mentorship that enriches Seaver students’ academic experience. Congratulations to our 2023 winners!