Alumni Achievement Awards Presented to Five Graduates
(Posted June 20, 2011)
HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College presented five alumni-related awards Saturday, June 11, during Alumni Assembly, part of Juniata's "Alumni Weekend 2011." Pasadena, Calif. resident Kunio Sayanagi, postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, was awarded the Young Alumni Achievement Award; Wallingford, Pa. resident John Stauffer, a retired executive at Rohm and Haas Co., received the William E. Swigart Jr. Alumni Humanitarian Award; Woodbury, N.J. resident Joan Van Note, a retired guidance counselor, received the Harold B. Brumbaugh Alumni Service Award; East Lansing, Mich. resident Christopher Peterson, professor and Nowlin Chair of Consumer-Responsive Agriculture at Michigan State University, was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award; and Dr. William Olstein, a resident of Nantyglo, Pa., received the Health Professions Alumni Appreciation Award.
Kunio Sayanagi, a 2000 Juniata graduate, has been a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA since October 2010 and currently researches atmospheric jetstreams and turbulence on Saturn and Jupiter.
The planetary scientist also maintains a side career as a freelance science writer for Ars Technica and serves on the executive board of the UCLA Society of Postdoctoral Scholars. Before moving to UCLA, he worked as a researcher at the University of Louisville from 2007 to 2008, and then at the California Institute of Technology from 2008 to 2010.
While at CalTech, Sayanagi was named as one of 50 scientists nationwide to be part of the National Academies Planetary Science Decadal Survey, a team of researchers tasked with making recommendations to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on the planetary exploration strategy in the coming decade from 2013 to 2023. He was one of 10 experts on the panel specializing in the gas-giant planets. He was the youngest member of the survey team, which had 71 scientists from the U.S. and abroad.
Sayanagi earned a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics from Juniata and went on to earn a master's degree in 2004 and a doctoral degree in 2007, both in physics, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz.
John Stauffer, a 1966 Juniata graduate and a native of Wallingford, Pa., retired as the technical director for the Paint Quality Institute of the Rohm and Haas Co., a supplier of raw materials to paint companies based in Spring House, Pa.. He started with the company in 1968, specializing in the marketing of raw materials to paint manufacturers. He eventually became market manager for the company's acrylic latex business for exterior paint. As director of the Paint Quality Institute, he created training manuals, sales CDs and conducted training sessions for sales staff and professional painters.
Before joining the corporate world, Stauffer served as a Peace Corps volunteer immediately after graduation from Juniata. He spent two years teaching science, English and art to youngsters in Eritrea, then a province in northern Ethiopia. He returned to the United States in 1968.
Over time, Stauffer lost track of his Eritrean students as he concentrated on his career and with is wife, Darleen, rearing their son Tad, a 2001 Juniata graduate, and daughter Amanda. He retired from Rohm and Haas in 2006.
In 2003, Stauffer received several phone calls from former students in Eritrea and learned of the newly established nation of Eritrea. After a 30-year civil war with Ethiopia, the country declared independence in 1993. Although the country ratified a constitution, an ongoing war with Ethiopia has meant Eritrea has been under martial law since declaring independence.
After talking to more of his Eritrean students in 2005 Stauffer and some Eritrean friends started The America Team for Freedom for Eritrea "to eliminate, through peaceful means, the practice of the current regime, of cruel
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