Career Center Honors Inaugural Toppel Award Winners

By By Bárbara Gutiérrez
UM News


Christian Garcia and Roberta Goode

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 4, 2016)—Often it takes a village to get an internship, a job, and a career. That was the message behind the Toppel Career Center’s inaugural Toppel Awards, which were presented Thursday during a ceremony in the BankUnited Center’s Hurricane 100 room.

Toppel honored nine people, companies, and organizations that are promoting and encouraging professional development among themselves and others during the luncheon that drew more than 100 invited guests.

“It is clear that career education does not only happen within the walls of a career center,” said Christian Garcia, associate dean and executive director of the Toppel Career Center. “It happens across campus, inside classrooms, at internship sites, and more.”

Wearing her Iron Arrow jacket, honoree Roberta Goode, a professor in the College of Engineering’s Biomedical Engineering Department, accepted the Excellence in Career Education Award for her outstanding work in mentoring students and preparing them to enter the workforce.

Goode, who founded a course to help students transition from the theoretical world of engineering into the practical, real-life biomedical field, said the honor was very personal to her.

“After graduating from UM 18 years ago, I found myself struggling in the first job because I did not know FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations or laws that govern the practice,” she said. “I was given the chance to teach a course (which included laws and regulations) to UM students, and now they’ll never struggle the way I did.”

Also tapped for an award was undergraduate Marian Li, who received the Student of the Year Award in the undergraduate category. Li, who majored in business administration and graduated in December with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science, credits the Toppel Career Center for her success. She worked there for two years, first as a receptionist than as a peer counselor who critiqued résumés and advised other students.

Following the advice of Toppel counselors, she participated in several internships in the health field that proved instrumental in her nabbing a full-time job at AON Hewitt, a human resources and outsourcing company.

“Going to work at Toppel every day kept me focused on my goal of getting a job,” said Li. “The professional staff there gave me wonderful opportunities and even provided great advice that I would have never imagined I needed.”

In the category of Private Employer of the Year, the Nielsen Company took the honors. Nielsen has partnered with UM for the past seven years and has hired more than 20 UM graduates. Their program fosters relationships between their employees, many of whom are UM graduates, and UM students. Through the internship program they provide mentoring and career coaching to all participants.

During the luncheon, each winner received a plaque with an inspirational quote designed by Gapingvoid, the agency that created the inspirational cartoons that grace Toppell’s walls.

Garcia also recognized the invaluable contributions of Patricia and Harold Toppel, whose generous donations established the center and allowed it to transform into one of the nation’s leading career centers.

The Toppel Awards were judged by a selection committee made up of students, University staff and faculty, and recruiters who could provide unbiased reviews of the nominees, said Garcia.

The winners in other categories were:

Distinguished Administrator: Susie Picar, UM assistant director of student employment

Student Group of the Year: Student Government

Student of the Year (Graduate): Alexander Kreymerman

Internship of the Year: Estefan Enterprises

Recruiter of the Year: Steve Hunsicker, from the Peace Corps

Employer of the Year (Not-for-profit/public): U.S. Marine Corps

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Senate Taps Two Faculty for Top Honors

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 3, 2015) — Two of the Miller School’s most esteemed practitioners — Laurence R. Sands, M.D., M.B.A., a renowned colorectal surgeon at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Eugene R. Schiff, M.D., one of the world’s leading authorities on liver diseases — have been unanimously selected by the Faculty Senate to receive two of its most prestigious awards, the Outstanding Teaching Award and the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award.

Among the University’s highest honors, the awards will be presented along with two previously announced awards at the 2016 Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 11.

Laurence R. Sands

Laurence R. Sands

 Sands, professor of clinical surgery and chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, was selected as this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award for his distinguished record and commitment to providing students with the highest quality education and for inspiring them to strive for success.

A leader in the use of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer, Sands is involved in every element of surgical education for medical students and post-graduate trainees and is known for using his energy and talent to provide students with the best education at every opportunity. For example, in response to a major concern of residents and students about the balance of clinical service and educational opportunities, he reorganized clinical/surgical rotations to increase educational opportunities.

Demonstrating their gratitude for his inspiration and dedication to their education, the Miller School’s 2011 graduating class selected Sands for the 2010 George Paff Teaching Award.

A renowned gastroenterologist and hepatologist , Schiff, the director of the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases and Leonard Miller Professor of Medicine, will be honored at the April ceremony for his outstanding scholarly achievements. He will also present a short lecture on his research.

For decades, Schiff has led the University’s clinical research aimed at developing improved treatments and cures for hepatitis B, C and D, cirrhosis, and the entire spectrum of liver and biliary tract disorders.

Eugene R. Schiff

Eugene R. Schiff

In 2011, he became the first holder of the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair in the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases, the successor to the informal Center for Liver Diseases he and his late father, Leon, established in 1982.

Co-editor of the Eleventh Edition of Schiff’s Diseases of the Liver, Schiff has authored and co-authored more than 400 articles, books, and book chapters concerning liver diseases and related topics. He is a former president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (his father was the first president), past chairman of the Biliary Section of the American Gastroenterological Association and past governor of the American College of Physicians for the state of Florida, a post he held for four years. He was a member of the Gastroenterology Subspecialty Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine and former Chair of the FDA Advisory Committee on gastrointestinal drugs. He is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

The Faculty Senate previously voted to honor School of Law Professor Richard L. Williamson with its James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award and, for the first time, to bestow a Special Faculty Senate Award posthumously, honoring the life and work of Eckhard Podack, a distinguished cancer researcher and educator at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center who passed away October 8.

All members of the University community are invited to attend the awards ceremony, which will begin at 5 p.m. at Storer Auditorium at the School of Business Administration, and will be followed by a reception.

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Provost’s Research Awards Announced

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (January 25, 2016) — The Office of the Vice Provost for Research has announced the recipients of the 2016 Provost’s Research Awards, which will provide salary support and direct research costs to faculty for a wide range of research projects—from the Effects of Anthropomorphizing Nature on Perceptions of Climate Change to The Film Music of Alberto Ginastera during the Perón Years.

In all, 61 faculty representing 32 departments in seven schools and colleges on the Coral Gables and marine campuses were selected for the awards, which are designed to foster excellence in research and creative activity and increase the overall research portfolio at the University of Miami.

Applicants are reviewed by faculty subcommittees of the Research Council representing the arts, business, humanities, natural science and engineering, and social sciences. Funding is awarded in three categories based on discipline: the Max Orovitz Research Award in Arts and Humanities; the James W. McLamore Research Award in Business and the Social Sciences, and the Research Award in the Natural Sciences and Engineering.

Approximately 150 applications were evaluated based on their scholarly, scientific and/or creative merit, the likelihood that the work will lead to major peer-reviewed outcomes, and the opportunity for faculty career enhancement.

Read more about the awards and view a list of this year’s awardees.

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Iron Arrow Honor Society Seeks Nominations by January 27

Iron Arrow Honor Society, the highest honor attainable at the University of Miami, is accepting recommendations for induction for the spring 2016 semester. If you know a phenomenal ’Cane whose work and contributions exemplify leadership, character, scholarship, humility, and love of alma mater, please consider recommending him or her for membership. Write a brief description of their accomplishments (no more than one typed page) along with an explanation of why you feel they deserve this honor. You may also submit a resume along with your description. Remember to keep your recommendation confidential.

Email your recommendation(s) to ironarrow@miami.edu or via its website no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27.


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Holocaust Educator Honored for ‘Repairing the World’

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

miriamkassenoff137 (1)[1]

Miriam Klein Kassenoff

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 14, 2016) — Teaching the painful history of and lessons from the Holocaust is Miriam Klein Kassenoff’s passion. As an educational specialist for Holocaust studies for the School of Education and Human Development and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, she has trained more than 33,000 teachers over the past 15 years.

This month, Klein Kassenoff, a child survivor of the Holocaust who fled Nazi Europe with her parents, was honored for her passion with the 53rd Tikkun Olam Award by The Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project.

“I am humbled by every award that I have received,” said Klein Kassenoff. “But this one took me by surprise. It shows that if you do the work you love, rewards will come to you.”

Named for a fundamental Jewish principle that means “repairing the world,” the Tikkun Olam Award honors individuals who have made a considerable contribution toward that principle. It was granted by the founders and publishers of the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project blog, Bill and Harriet Mohr.

Established after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, the Mohrs’ project seeks to gather information about Haiti’s Holocaust history. Bill Mohr and his family were members of a group of 300 Jews who were given refuge by Haiti during the Holocaust.

“We wanted to recognize the outstanding contributions of a wide range of individuals who are working to raise awareness of important issues that need to be addressed in the context of Tikkun Olam,” Bill and Harriet Mohr said in a written statement. “They have moved forward to ‘repair the world’ and from their perspective, take action in ways that have beneficial results for society and can positively impact the general welfare of humanity.”

The Mohrs added that they had “tremendous respect for Klein Kassenoff’s viewpoint, which is to compellingly present to educators the lessons of the Holocaust so their students learn moral, ethical teachings that can be brought into their present lives in an empowering way.”

Klein Kassenoff studied at Yad Vashem, the International Center for Holocaust Studies in Israel, and is a graduate of the prestigious international Vladka Meed Teachers Program. In 2014, she was selected by the Miami Consul General of Germany for a tour of “Jewish Germany Today.”

Her many credits include being an author, writer, and lecturer on various topics on the Holocaust, including “Women in The Holocaust” and “Literature of The Holocaust,” as well as co-authoring, with Anita Meyer Meinbach, two books, Studying the Holocaust Through Film and Literature and Memories of The Night: A Study of The Holocaust.



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