USM Board of Regents Announces Winners of Annual Faculty Awards

System’s Highest Faculty Honor Recognizes Outstanding Teaching, Research, Service and Mentoring

Baltimore, Md. (March 9, 2021) – The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents is honoring 16 members of its faculty at institutions across the system as recipients of the 2021 USM Regents’ Faculty Awards.

The awards are the highest honor presented by the board to exemplary faculty members. The awards honor excellence in the following four categories: Teaching; Public Service; Mentoring; and Scholarship, Research or Creative Activity.

Institutional faculty nominating committees make recommendations to the institutional presidents, who review nominations and supporting material and forward recommendations to USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. The Regents Faculty Review Committee makes the final recommendations before review and acceptance by the full board.

Chancellor Perman and Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden will recognize the winners as part of the scheduled Zoom meeting of the full board on April 16.

“We look forward to recognizing these outstanding faculty members next month,” Chair Gooden said. “Particularly as we address the challenges of the pandemic, it is a pleasure to celebrate their commitment and achievements with the individual institutions throughout the USM.”

“It’s an honor to recognize these faculty members, whose impact on their students is so profound. And while these awards recognize years of dedication, we know that the past 12 months have involved extraordinary challenges unique to COVID,” Chancellor Perman said. “Systemwide, our faculty have worked hard to maintain instructional quality under circumstances none of us wanted, and I’m grateful for that. But the efforts of these honorees are especially impressive and contribute so much to the USM’s resilience and strength.”

Each award carries a $2,000 prize provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation.

Towson University—Professor Karen Day: Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. Professor Day’s approach to teaching integrates scientific principles and clinical application to ensure that students are equipped with the knowledge and experience they need to be successful speech-language pathologists. She augments her classroom teaching by supervising undergraduate and graduate students in the Speech and Language Center. This past year—in response to COVID—Professor Day collaborated with the Speech and Language Center Director to shift normal face-to-face clinical teaching to telepractice and clinical simulations.

Coppin State University—Dr. Crystal Day-Black: Associate Professor in the College of Health Professions and the Helene Fuld School of Nursing. Dr. Day-Black—the first Coppin nursing faculty member to achieve both the Certified Nurse Educator and Certified Nurse Educator Clinical designations—engages her students through multiple technologies and evidenced-based learning strategies. Her work has resulted in an improvement in Coppin’s National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses pass rate from 79% to 86%.  In addition, as both an educator and advocate, Dr. Day-Black is increasing the pipeline of minority nurses entering the mental health field.

University of Maryland, College Park—Dr. Elizabeth Duke: Clinical Professor in the School of Public Policy. By establishing a supportive and collaborative classroom environment, Dr. Duke encourages students to extend beyond their comfort zones as they learn about leadership strategies and techniques.  As a scholar and practitioner of policy, she delivers keynote speeches and presentations on issues of leadership and public policy at major conferences. After being named the Norman and Florence Brody Foundation Public Policy Forum Professor in 2018, she hosted speaker events on campus with notable scholars.

Towson University—Dr. Katherine Holman: Associate Professor and the Graduate Program Director for the Teacher as Leader in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) M.Ed. program. Dr. Holman led the development of the Teacher as Leader in ASD graduate concentration and continues to coordinate this growing graduate program, both advising students and maintaining a professional learning community for faculty.  Her dynamic teaching approach was rewarded with the 2017-18 USM Wilson H. Elkins Professorship. She used the Professorship to establish the Connection Immersion and Training Classroom, providing students the opportunity to gain experience implementing evidence-based practices for young children with ASD.

University of Maryland, College Park—Dr. Robert T. Grimm: Professor of Practice in the School of Public Policy & Academic Director, Nonprofit Management and Leadership Graduate Certificate Program. Dr. Grimm is founder of the “Do Good Institute,” which pioneered the Do Good Campus model and developed leaders, innovators, and individuals who produce extraordinary public service outcomes. Highlights of the Do Good model include mentoring students from refugee families, addressing food insecurity, building schools in Honduras, and helping families in Uganda and Liberia stay safe from COVID.  Do Good-related work has raised tens of millions of dollars to help change the world for good.

University of Baltimore—Dr. Seema Iyer: Research Assistant Professor & Associate Director of the Jacob-France Institute in the Merrick School of Business, a part of the Urban Institute's National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership. Dr. Iyer developed the Real Estate Fellows Program, providing University of Baltimore students and alumni unique access to all aspects of the development process in Baltimore. Her program culminates with the Pitch for a Million Competition, in which the fellows publicly make their best case to investors.  The winner can be awarded a line of credit of up to $1 million.  This project has injected $3 million into Baltimore neighborhoods and has helped citizens become real estate entrepreneurs.

Towson University—Dr. Natalie Scala: Associate Professor of Business Analytics and Technology Management. Dr. Scala is a nationally recognized expert in election security.  Her research is the first academic work to holistically define election threats as coming from cyber, physical, and insider sources. Her research is critical to improving security at polling places. Dr. Scala has involved students from multiple USM institutions into her research projects. This work has led to the creation of training models that question, acknowledge, and bring to light election security vulnerabilities.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore—Dr. Hoai-An Truong: Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration. On the Eastern Shore, Dr. Truong has worked as a Fellow at the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, acting as on outreach ambassador. At the state level, he serves on Governor Hogan’s Advisory Committee on Minority Health.  At the national level, he has chaired committees for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and American Public Health Association.  Internationally, he has created opportunities for his students to provide care for patients in Haiti, Vietnam, and South Africa.

Towson University—Professor Elizabeth Crusse: Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing. Over her 17 years at Towson University (TU), Professor Crusse has established a strong record centered on mentoring students, practitioners, faculty, and community partners. Through the Nurse Education Support Program, Professor Crusse teaches a nurse leadership course, mentoring and advising up to 450 nursing students. Beyond her mentoring impact at TU, she positively impacts nursing programs and professionals in the greater Maryland community, working with Good Samaritan Hospital, Stevenson University, and the Community College of Baltimore County.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County—Dr. Laura Hussey: Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. As coordinator of the department’s internship program, Dr. Hussey has placed more than 100 undergraduate students in public service internship positions. As Director of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Sondheim Public Affairs Program, she provides extensive mentoring and career preparation opportunities for students.  And as Faculty Advisor for the 2019 Alternative Spring Break Experience, she helped lead undergraduate students in service-learning projects in Baltimore. Beyond UMBC, she served as the advisor to nearly 80 students in the Governor’s Summer Internship Program.

Salisbury University—Dr. Ani Mathers: Associate Dean in the Perdue School of Business and Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance. Dr. Mathers is faculty advisor for the university’s Financial Management Association. The association connects students with finance professionals and industry-leading companies to foster professional development opportunities and career preparedness. She is also faculty advisor for the Student United Way, encouraging students to volunteer and to learn essential skills beyond the classroom and their major. Dr. Mathers is also the founding director of the Business Honors Program, which—driven by her enthusiasm and advocacy—has grown to over 100 students.

Salisbury University—Dr. Kristen Walton: Professor in the Department of History and Director of the Salisbury University (SU) Nationally Competitive Fellowship Office (SNCFO). As Director of SNCFO, Dr. Walton has built a successful infrastructure for the recruitment and mentorship of students (nearly a third of whom are first-generation, represent racially or ethnically diverse groups, or have been diagnosed with a disability) to win nationally competitive fellowships like the Fulbright, Gates Cambridge, and Goldwater. Since 2017, she has advised and mentored more than 280 fellowship applications that have resulted in nationally competitive fellowships awards for 46 students, including 14 Fulbright Scholars.

Salisbury University—Dr. Céline Carayon: Associate Professor of History. Dr. Carayon has established herself as a leading colonial America scholar through her investigation of the methods by which European explorers and Indigenous peoples communicated. This research culminated in “Eloquence Embodied: Nonverbal Communication Among French and Indigenous Peoples in the Americas,” the first comprehensive study of interpersonal communication between Indigenous Americans and Europeans in the Americas. This work earned Dr. Carayon the 2020 Gilbert Chinard Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore—Dr. Kausik Das: Associate Professor of Physics in the Department of Natural Sciences. Dr. Das has secured $1.4 million in extramural funding and is known for involving undergraduate students—many from underrepresented minority groups—in his research, writing, and presentations.  His research includes work on nano fluidics (study of manipulating fluids in extremely small spaces), efforts to create on-chip graphene-based nano-inductors, and work on light-activated resistive switches. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and assisted by students, he built a payload that flew a zero-gravity parabolic flight to collect data that will be valuable in future space missions.

University of Maryland, Baltimore—Dr. Robert Ernst: Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Dr. Ernst is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in immunization therapy and diagnosis of microbial pathogens that holds the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives annually. Dr. Ernst and colleagues created a startup company, Pataigin, to commercialize the technology that identifies infections by developing a “barcode” for each pathogen strain. He is also helping develop the next generation of professionals, having successfully mentored and trained graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Towson University—Associate Professor Joel Moore: Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences. Dr. Moore’s work expands Critical Zone Science—the study of the surface and near-surface environment—to urban and urban-fringe areas, where land use and land management can cause rapid changes. This work has implications that include sustainable agriculture and forestry, water quality, ecosystem evolution, and climate change. Dr. Moore is a respected lecturer who is published in top journals in his field. He helps inform public works and public policy, and he facilitates significant student research opportunities.


The USM comprises 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. The USM also includes three regional centers—the Universities at Shady Grove, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland—at which USM universities offer upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses.

Systemwide, student enrollment exceeds 172,000. The USM and its institutions compete successfully nearly $1.5 billion in external grants and contracts annually. USM institutions and programs are among the nation's best in quality and value according to several national rankings. To learn more about the University System of Maryland, visit


Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719