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Two Historians, Chemist Honored with 2007 Teaching Awards

(Posted May 7, 2007)

The recipents of the 2007 teaching awards are as follows: From left, Thomas Kepple, president of Juniata, David Sowell, professor of history; Richard Hark, associate professor of chemistry; David Hsiung, professor of history; and James Lakso, Juniata provost.


HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Three Juniata College faculty members were honored Tuesday, May 1, with distinguished teaching and service awards during the College's Spring Awards Convocation in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. Honored for their work were David Sowell, professor of history; David Hsiung, Knox Professor of History; and Richard Hark associate professor of chemistry.
The convocation was held in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.
Sowell, a Huntingdon, Pa. resident, was honored with the 18th annual Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service, and Hsiung, also a Huntingdon resident, was named the 40th recipient of the Beachley Award for Distinguished Teaching. Hark, a Huntingdon resident, received the Henry and Joan Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching (by a faculty member with fewer than six years of service).
The Beachley Awards were established by the late Donovan R. Beachley Sr., a 1921 graduate of Juniata; the late Mrs. Grace Rinehart Beachley; Donovan R. Beachley, Jr., a member of the class of 1947 and an emeritus member of the Board of Trustees; and Mrs. Mary Ellen Beachley, all of Hagerstown, Md. Additional support for the awards is provided by Donovan R. Beachley Jr. and David C. Beachley, a 1977 Juniata graduate and current president of the Beachley Furniture Co. of Hagerstown, Md.
The Beachley Award for Distinguished Teaching provides a $5,000 stipend to a professor who contributes to the development of the nominee\'s department and the college as a whole. Teaching effectiveness, scholarly activities, service beyond the campus, and length of service to the college also play roles in the process.
The Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service also provides a $5,000 stipend. The award is made to a professor showing outstanding service to students through advising, counseling or development of student-related activities, and outstanding service to the college through curriculum or department development, committee activities, or collegewide activities.
The Henry and Joan Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching recognizes excellence in teaching among faculty members who have been at Juniata College for fewer than six years. The recipient receives with the honor a $2,500 stipend. The award is sponsored by Henry H. Gibbel, president and chief executive officer of Lititz Mutual Insurance Company, and his wife, Joan.
Nominations for the awards are received from students, faculty, administrative personnel, alumni and trustees. The college president, the provost, the student government president, and the three most recent recipients of the award make the final selections.
The last three Distinguished Teaching Award recipients were Judy Katz, associate professor of English (2006); Jack Troy, associate professor of art (2005); and Peter Goldstein, professor of English (2004). The first academic service award was presented in 1989 to the late Mary Ruth Linton, professor emerita of music. Last year's recipient was Jack Barlow, professor of politics. The recipient of the 2005 Gibbel Award for Distinguished Performance was Lynn Cockett, assistant professor of communication.
As he introduced Professor Sowell, Juniata President Thomas R. Kepple said, "David Sowell is the personification of the well-rounded scholar. In addition to writing several books in what amounts to his spare time, he has been one of Juniata's best advisers, a person deeply committed to faculty service and one of the college's most outspoken advocates of international experience and education."
Sowell\'s research interests focus on the social history of Latin America, focusing mainly on labor history and the history of medicine. He has written two books exploring these topics, including "The Tale of Healer Miguel Perdomo Neira: Healing, Ideologies, and Power in the Nineteenth-Century Andes (2001)" and "The Early Colombian Labor Movement: Artisans and Politics in Bogotá, 1832-1919" (published in 1992). He also is researching another book that focuses on the history of public health in Mexico and the Yucatan.
Sowell joined the Juniata faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor of history. He was promoted to associate professor in 1992 and was promoted to full professor in 2001. From 1996 until 1999, Sowell served as assistant academic dean and director of international programs. Sowell received the Junior Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1994.
He earned an A.B. degree in history from Western Kentucky University in 1975, and a bachelor's degree in history from Grand Valley State College in 1976. He earned a master's degree in 1980 and a doctorate in 1986, both from the University of Florida.
He is a member of the American Historical Association, the Latin American Studies Association, the Southeastern Conference of Latin American Studies and the Conference on Latin American History. The 2005 recipient of the Beachley Award for Distinguished Teaching, David Hsiung joined the Juniata faculty in 1991 as assistant professor of history. In 1997 the college awarded him the W. Newton and Hazel A. Long Chair in History. He was named a Dana Professor of History in 2003 and was named Charles R. and Shirley A. Knox Professor of History in 2005. He received Juniata College\'s 1995 Junior Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was promoted to associate professor in 1996 and to full professor in 2001. In 2000, he was named Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University in 1983 and went on to earn a master's degree in 1985 and a doctorate in history in 1991, both from the University of Michigan. Hsiung teaches a wide variety of courses at Juniata, including U.S. history survey courses and courses on environmental history, the history of 20th century wars, the American West, the history of civil rights protest songs and a new course on comic books and culture. The Appalachian Studies Association and the University Press of Kentucky jointly conferred the 1996 Appalachian Studies Award to his book, "Two Worlds in the Tennessee Mountains: Exploring the Origins of Appalachian Stereotypes," which was published in 1997. He is currently working on another book on the environmental history of New England in the colonial era.
"Dave has been an inspiration for countless students and faculty here at Juniata, whether he is wearing a bunny suit on Halloween, helping a student improve a senior research project or mentoring a newly arrived junior faculty member. He is a diligent scholar, an enthusiastic booster for Juniata's educational experience and a superb teacher," Kepple said.
Richard Hark, the recipient of the Gibbel Award for Distinguished Performance, came to Juniata in 2001 after working at Marietta College as assistant professor of chemistry from 1993 to 2000. He was promoted to associate professor at Marietta in 2000. At Juniata, he teaches such courses as introductory and advanced Organic Chemistry, Synthesis and Spectroscopy, Chemistry Seminar, Forensic Science Laboratory and Chemistry of Art.
Hark's research interests focus on designing ninhydrin analogs for visualizing latent fingerprints on porous surfaces (such as paper, leather and other surfaces). His work in developing new reagents for latent fingerprints has been recognized by the United States Secret Service, the London Metropolitan Police Laboratory in London, England and Queen\'s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
He also widened his research program by using an X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer and a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) as part of his analytical chemistry research and as part of his work in the forensic and chemistry of art course. He is currently researching how to use the LIBS instrument to analyze pigments and substances used in works of art. He also has worked with students to research antibacterial peptide inhibitors.
Hark earned a bachelor\'s degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., in 1984. He went on to earn a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. He received Marietta College's Outstanding Faculty Award in 2000 and received the Edward G. Harness Fellowship for Distinctive Teaching from 1998 to 2001. He also received the University of Pennsylvania Department of Chemistry Teaching Award in 1987.
His work has been published in a variety of journals, including the Journal of Organic Chemistry, the Canadian Journal of Chemistry, Journal of Forensic Identification and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
He has served on a number of professional and academic committees. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, Organic and Chemical Education Division, the American Academy of Forensic Science and the International Association for Identification. In the Huntingdon community, he is a trained EMT and a HAZMAT technician.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.