Trinity Announces Recipients of 2021 Distinguished Achievement Awards
Five faculty are recognized for excellence in teaching and service
Monday, June 28, 2021

Trinity recently announced the latest recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Awards. The Distinguished Achievement Awards recognize faculty members who have shown outstanding dedication and accomplishments at the University. Faculty have been recognized for excellence in areas including distinguished research and teaching; distinguished advising and mentoring; distinguished university, community, and professional service; and distinguished scholarship, research, creative work, or activity. This year’s recipients include Christina Cooley, Lauren Turek, Dania Abreu-Torres, Amy Stone, and Maria Pía Paganelli. 

Early Career Faculty Awards for Distinguished Research & Teaching

  • Christina Cooley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry
    The awards committee recognized Christina Cooley as an enthusiastic teacher who infuses the classroom with energy and that she emphasizes the importance of knowing how something works and going about the process of solving the problem while encouraging students through the learning process. Cooley has mentored 17 research students since starting at Trinity, many of whom have appeared as co-authors and have given presentations at regional and national conferences, and she has obtained funding from the Welch Foundation, the San Antonio Area Foundation, and the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. She was also a co-investigator on a Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation. Most recently, she received a National Science Foundation  Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant, being recognized as an example of excellence in research at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution.
  • Headshot of faculty member Lauren Turek
    Lauren Turek, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History
    Lauren Turek is recognized by the awards committee as an exceptionally gifted teacher who employs an innovative mix of pedagogical tools that foster student-centered success and promote inclusivity. An advocate for public history and experiential learning, she created a public history internship and recently developed an interdisciplinary minor in museum studies, which she directs. In 2020-21, she became the director of the Mellon Initiative, which supports undergraduate research in the humanities and the arts. Since coming to Trinity, Turek has published one monograph, three peer-reviewed articles, several book chapters, five essays, and a dozen book reviews. The monograph, To Bring the Good News to All Nations, analyzes the role of Christian evangelical groups in shaping U.S. foreign policy with regard to human rights during the Cold War. Her work has been praised as rigorous, insightful, multidisciplinary, and grounded in extensive and original archival research.
  • Trinity University Award for Distinguished Advising and Mentoring

  • Dania Abreu-Torres

    Dania Abreu-Torres, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures
    Dania Abreu-Torres is regarded by students and colleagues as a tireless advocate for student success and for opportunities within and beyond the classroom. Students have described her as diligent, intentionally inclusive, patient, kind-hearted, and a true advocate. She listens well and gives transformative advice. 

    “I had been searching for a community, a deeper understanding of my culture and heritage,” one student says. “Without taking a class yet with her, [Professor Abreu-Torres] invited me into the Latino community on campus and opened the doors for me to meet people who had the same interests and passions as I did.”

Trinity University Award for Distinguished University, Community, and Professional Service

  • Amy Stone
    Amy Stone, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
    Amy Stone served as co-chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies faculty advisory committee and as faculty adviser of the LGBTQ+ student group PRIDE. They have been twice elected to the Commission on Promotion and Tenure and have served as a mentor in the McNair Scholars Program. Stone has a long history of community-based research in the LGBTQ+ community of San Antonio, including work with the Pride Center San Antonio on the Strengthening Colors of Pride research project for the past three years. They also served on the advisory council of the TransForward Texas transgender health initiative as the coordinator for the San Antonio region. They were a member of the advisory board for the TransAmerican exhibit at the McNay Art Museum. For four years, Stone served as the deputy editor of the journal Gender & Society, and they have been involved in the Sociology of Sexualities section of the American Sociological Association, including serving on the council for three years, chairing awards committees, and mentoring early career faculty.

Trinity University Award for Distinguished Scholarship, Research, or Creative Work or Activity

  • Maria Pia Paganelli
    Maria Pía Paganelli, Ph.D., Professor of Economics
    Maria Pía Paganelli has published 43 refereed papers, including forthcoming works, and her scholarly record also includes 12 invited papers, two co-edited volumes, and a commissioned Routledge Guidebook to Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. Specializing in Adam Smith, David Hume, and other theorists of the Scottish Enlightenment, Paganelli works to understand how self-interest interacts with other motivational drives, with systematic biases, and with the surrounding institutional environment, the monetary one in particular. She has presented 66 papers at national and international conferences, and she counts 114 invitations to present their work in North, Central, and South America, as well as Europe and Asia. Paganelli is the current President of the International Adam Smith Society, and beginning this June, she will be the President-Elect of the History of Economics Society. She is currently a Fulbright Scholar in Chile.

Sydney Rhodes '23 helped tell Trinity's story as a writing intern for Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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