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AHS College Award Recipients

AHS recognized the outstanding accomplishments of faculty and staff with the 2020 College Awards for Excellence. The recipients were:

Staff Excellence Award

Terri DanielsTerri Daniels

Business Administrative Associate, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

Terri joined RST in 2015, bringing her positive attitude, professionalism, and outstanding work ethic to bear on supporting a new department head. She unfailingly takes initiative and goes the extra mile, often assuming demanding new responsibilities while providing financial and business support services to the department. Terri seeks out opportunities to improve and augment her professional skill set. She recently completed a master’s degree in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership with a focus on human resources and development. Her outstanding academic work led to her induction into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and an invitation to join the Golden Key International Honor Society. She also completed the campus HR Series for Supervisors and Managers and is currently enrolled in the Office of Business and Financial Services’ Business Administrator Certification Program. Terri also is active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

Academic Excellence Award

Dr. Jeannette ElliottJeannette Elliott

Physical Therapist, Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services

As the full-time physical therapist for the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services since 2004, Jeannette manages the daily operations of the DRES Wellness Gym, provides support services to the Adapted Varsity Athletics Program, teaches classes for the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, and serves as clinical instructor for doctoral students coming to DRES from physical therapy programs around the country. In addition to providing more than 1200 hours of physical therapy sessions herself, Jeannette supervises about 1200 additional hours given by approximately 60 volunteers each year. She also has overseen at least one Doctor of Physical Therapy student intern every semester since 2008. Jeannette has collaborated on a number of research projects around campus and currently serves on the PURE innovation team that is developing an innovative wheelchair, a project that was recognized by Toyota’s Mobility Challenge. In 2006, the Illinois Physical Therapy Association named her PT of the Year.

Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research Award

Dr. Naiman KhanNaiman Khan

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

Since joining AHS in 2015, Naiman has mentored about 12 undergraduate students per semester in his Body Composition and Nutritional Neuroscience Lab. During data collection on a large-scale study, he worked with more than 30 undergraduate students in his lab. Three of his undergraduate research assistants have received undergraduate research grants, four have been co-authors on primary research papers, four have presented at national conferences, and 10 have presented at the University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Symposium. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of his research, Naiman’s undergraduate research assistants gain experience with a variety of research techniques, including recording EEGs, analyzing dietary intake, conducting aerobic fitness testing, and assessing body composition using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. He meets with his undergraduate research assistants each week, giving them the opportunity to engage in critical evaluations of primary research articles and to discuss research methods related to exercise, nutrition, and cognition.

Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring

Dr. Jacob SosnoffJake Sosnoff

Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

A member of the AHS faculty since 2005, Jake provides an excellence environment for PhD students to acquire essential skills for an academic career in the rehabilitation sciences in his Motor Control Research Lab and the Illini Fall Prevention Clinic. In their first year, he guides students in conducting and publishing literature reviews, followed in the second year by pilot investigations that serve as preliminary data for their dissertation proposals. In order to demystify the grant-writing process, he has students write their dissertation proposals in the form of a National Institutes of Health grant proposal. On average, his PhD students graduate with 10 peer-reviewed publications. He has mentored several Carol L. Chittenden Fellows, two Paul D. Doolen scholars, an MS Run the US Scholar, and several departmental award recipients. His students have gone on to tenure-track positions at research-intensive and teaching-intensive universities, research scientist positions, and specialized faculty positions.

Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching


Sandraluz Lara-CinisomoDr. Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

Since joining AHS in 2015, Sandraluz has appeared on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent seven times. As one of the few scholars focused on mental health among racial and ethnic minorities, she is highly sought after to serve on national and international thesis and doctoral committees. She is contributing to the diversification of the mental health profession by attracting students to her research program from Nigeria, Colombia, and Mexico. Her graduate students have won prestigious awards from the American Psychological Association and the Marcé of North America. Sandraluz’s contributions to improving graduate education also include developing a new course on health disparities across the lifespan and adapting an existing course to meet the needs of two distinct graduate student populations in alternate semesters. Students she has mentored in summer research programs have presented their work at the Illinois Graduate College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summer Symposium and the Illinois Summer Research Symposium.

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award: Teaching Assistant

Liselle MilazzoLeslie Milazzo

PhD Student, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

Liselle is a conscientious teacher who devotes considerable attention to developing her courses and working with students. She lectures, grades assignments, manages students, and deals with technology services and countless other challenges while remaining focused on and making progress in her own studies. She has taught both on-campus and online courses with 35 to 750 students per section. Even in the large courses, she creates the learning environment of a small course. She complements her lectures with carefully selected videos, weblinks, audience surveys, and personal experiences to explain and illustrate course concepts. She makes a concerted effort to engage students on a personal level and accommodates diverse learning styles and abilities in class assignments as well, using exams, collaborative group projects, personal reflections, and other evaluation tools. She is sought out by students for guidance, as evidenced by her involvement with James Scholar projects every semester she has taught.

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award: Instructional Staff

Justine KaplanJustine Kaplan

Clinical Assistant Professor/Interim Director, Master of Public Health Program, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

Since joining AHS in 2013, Justine has taught more than 8500 students in more than 50 classes, including large and small, required and elective, on-campus and online, 100- to 500-level courses. She has been included on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent for every in-person class she has taught. She makes a difference in the education of AHS students by guiding them into community outreach projects, job opportunities, and graduate programs. She also ensures the quality of undergraduate education by preparing graduate teaching assistants for the classroom. Justine brings more than 10 years of experience as a public health practitioner and educator to bear on her work as interim director of the MPH program, through which she works closely with undergraduates enrolled in the BS-MPH program. She also works extensively with students in the Edmund J. James Scholar program, mentoring more than 25 student projects last year alone.

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award: Faculty

Dr. Justin AronoffJustin Aranoff

Associate Professor, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

Justin joined the College of Applied Health Sciences in 2013. He co-developed a new foundational course in the required undergraduate curriculum that focuses on communication neuroscience. He mentors undergraduate students in all aspects of research in his Binaural Hearing Lab, from concept development and experimental design to data collection, analysis, and dissemination. Justin has mentored 10 undergraduate research projects, included undergraduates in more than 20 conference presentations and six refereed journal articles, sometimes as first authors, and taken undergraduate students with him to national meetings where he introduces them to scholars from other institutions. He incorporates a variety of teaching techniques in his classes to keep students engaged, including using the virtual reality lab to convey the complex, three-dimensional anatomy of the brain. In addition to soliciting student evaluations at the end of his classes, Justin seeks out midterm feedback, which he quickly incorporates in order to improve the class.

Campus Recognizes Faculty Excellence

Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching

Dr. Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

Sandraluz joined the AHS faculty in 2015 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a research fellow in biomedical research in the UNC School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor in the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Special Education and Child Development. As one of the few scholars whose research focuses on mental health among racial and ethnic minorities, Dr. Lara-Cinisomo is highly sought after by graduate students from a variety of disciplines and institutions. She involves her students in all aspects of research, from conceptualization to dissemination, and has developed and designed graduate-level courses on health disparities, public health, and health behavior theory. Her students have won prestigious awards from national and international organizations. Dr. Lara-Cinisomo also received the Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching Award from the College of Applied Health Sciences.

Chancellor’s Senior Survey

Four members of the College of Applied Health Sciences faculty were among only 38 faculty members across campus to be recognized by the Illinois campus and the Chancellor’s Senior Survey for making a positive impact on graduating seniors. The honorees were singled out by recent graduates of the University of Illinois for making “a positive impact on their experience at Illinois.” More than 900 faculty and staff were mentioned at least once, but the 38 who were honored were identified by 10 or more graduating seniors.

The four AHS faculty are:

Susan Farner, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

Over the course of her career, Susan has taught and mentored thousands of undergraduate students, prepared Community Health students for their required internships through a course that focuses on such things as interviewing skills and resumes, and supervised them during their internship experience. In 2018, she received both the college and campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching: Specialized Faculty.

Don Hardin, Adjunct Instructor, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

Don has taught classes on sports ethics and leadership to hundreds of students and regularly appears on the list of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, based on student evaluations. He joined RST as an instructor in 2008 after retiring from more than 30 years as an NCAA volleyball coach, including 13 years as head coach of the University of Illinois women’s volleyball team. A 1984 graduate of what was then the Department of Leisure Studies, Don he received the AHS Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2017.

Justine Kaplan, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

Justine is the interim director of the MPH and MSHA degree programs. She has taught more than 8500 students in more than 50 classes in KCH since joining the college in 2015. She has mentored numerous James Scholar students and regularly helps undergraduate students find hands-on learning opportunities on campus and throughout the surrounding community.

Steve Petruzzello, Professor and Associate Department Head, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

Steve has mentored about 100 students in the Edmund J. James Scholar program, providing them with unique learning opportunities and helping them to improve their skills in critical thinking, data collection, and analysis. His students typically report that his positive impact is felt not only during their undergraduate years, but also beyond. Steve received the 2013 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching: Faculty from the college and the campus and the AHS Phyllis J. Hill Faculty Award for Exemplary Mentoring in 2018.

College Committees 2019-2020

Faculty who serve on AHS committees provide an invaluable service to the College, and we thank them for their selfless service.

Alleged Capricious Grading:

  • Fatima Husain (SHS – 2018-2020)
  • Chung-Yi Chiu (KCH – 2019-2021)
  • Jon Welty-Peachey (RST – 2019-2021)


  • Lynn Barnett-Morris (RST – 2018-2020)
  • Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo (KCH– 2019-2021)

Educational Policy:

  • Andiara Schwingel (KCH – 2018-2020)
  • Laura Hahn (SHS – 2018-2020)
  • Laura Payne (RST – 2018-2020)
  • Robyn Gobin (KCH – 2019-2021)
  • Naiman Khan (KCH – 2019-2021)
  • Liza Berdychevsky (RST – 2019-2021)
  • Justin Aronoff (SHS – 2019-2021)

Elections and Credentials:

  • Pasquale Bottalico (SHS – 2018-2020)
  • Nick Burd (KCH – 2019-2021)
  • Neha Gothe (KCH – 2019-2021)
  • Jules Woolf (RST – 2019-2021)
  • Mary Flaherty (SHS – 2019-2021)
  • Toni Liechty (RST – 2019-2021)
  • Manuel Hernandez (KCH – 2019-2021)

Executive Committee:

  • Jake Sosnoff (KCH – 2018-2020)
  • Jon Welty-Peachey (RST – 2018-2020)
  • Marni Boppart (KCH – 2019-2021)
  • Monika Stodolska (RST – 2019-2021)
  • Marie Channell (SHS – 2019-2021)
  • Brian Monson (SHS – 2019-2021)

Grievance Committee:

  • Marni Boppart (KCH – 2018-2020)
  • Fatima Husain (SHS – 2018-2020)
  • Laura Payne (RST – 2019-2021)

Promotion and Tenure:

  • Monika Stodolska (RST – 2018-2020)
  • Steve Petruzzello (KCH- 2019-2021)
  • Jake Sosnoff (KCH – 2019-2021)
  • Kim Shinew (RST – 2019-2021)
  • Pam Hadley (SHS – 2019-2021)

CHAD Senior Faculty Committee:

  • Marni Boppart (Chair)
  • Pam Hadley (SHS)
  • Toni Liechty (RST)
  • Andi Schwingel (KCH)
  • Kim Collins (DRES)
  • Jake Sosnoff (Ex-officio)
  • Jeni Hunniecutt (Ex-officio)

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