The 2016 Gamma Sigma Delta Faculty Award recipients were recognized at the College of Agricultural Sciences and Gamma Sigma Delta Celebration of Excellence Celebration on March 30, 2016 in 112 Forest Resources Building.

2016 GSD Faculty Award Recipients (l to r: Drs. Dennis Decoteau, Mark Brennan, Jeffrey Peters and Jan Scholl.

2016 GSD Faculty Award Recipients (l to r: Drs. Dennis Decoteau, Mark Brennan, Jeffrey Peters and Jan Scholl.

The Outstanding Research Award

Dr. Jeffrey Peters completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in nutrition, and postdoctoral training in toxicology at the University of California Davis. He joined the National Cancer Institute in 1995, was recruited to Penn State in 2000, and was named a Distinguished Professor in 2010. He’s received the Society of Toxicology Faculty Achievement Award, and is the only Penn State faculty to deliver the NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon lecture. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences. Dr. Peters develops genetically engineered mammalian models to determine how natural, dietary and synthetic compounds prevent cancer, by activating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. His discoveries are directed at preventing many diseases, including cancer, liver toxicity, diabetes, and obesity. As Principal Investigator, he has obtained more than $10 million dollars in research funding, and is an internationally recognized expert in his field with more than160 peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been cited over 17,000 times.

The Outstanding Extension Award

Dr. Jan Scholl, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, received her PhD in Home Economics from Iowa State University in 1986 and joined the faculty of Penn State in 1994. Her scholarship centers on 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences where she applies research in curriculum development, educational methods, and foods and nutrition, to produce 4-H project and resource materials. She has developed instructional digital video productions, You-Tube presentations, webinars, and national 4-H and Extension Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) databases that document more than 5,000 studies from 1911-2015. She has published more than forty refereed articles, several books, and hundreds of fact-sheets. She has made major contributions to documenting the history of 4-H and Cooperative Extension. The excellence of her extension program has been widely recognized by numerous regional and national awards.

The Outstanding Teaching Awards

Dr. Dennis Decoteau is Professor of Horticulture, and has a joint appointment between the Plant Science and the Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Departments. He has a long history of excellence in the classroom and in the pedagogy of teaching, and has taught a wide variety of Horticulture classes. Dr. Decoteau has also taught in the Environmental Resource Management program since 2007. In several classes, Dennis makes use of the Air Quality Learning and Demonstration Center, which has a full array of plants and air quality monitoring equipment, giving students a rich, hands-on learning experience. Dennis was recently selected as a Distinguished Honors Faculty, which allows him to share disciplinary, enrichment and educational activities with Schreyer Honors scholars. Perhaps the best testament to Dr. Decoteau’s outstanding teaching abilities comes directly from the students themselves. One said, “Dr. Decoteau was a wonderful instructor. He really wanted us to learn. I loved how he took us to Conemaugh and the air quality center. I learned a lot and did well simply because he taught well.”

Dr. Mark Brennan is the UNESCO Chair for Community, Leadership, and Youth Development and Professor of Leadership and Community Development. He is one of only 19 UNESCO Chairs in the United States, and the only one at a land grant institution. This appointment allows for unprecedented opportunities for Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences to be at the forefront of applied teaching and research globally. Dr. Brennan’s teaching and research areas focus on the role of community and leadership development in global youth, community, and rural development. Since 2009, he has taught 32 courses (24 undergraduate and 8 graduate). All courses have received exceptional student and peer evaluations. Dr. Brennan is very active in student mentorship. At the graduate level, he has served on 73 graduate student committees and has chaired 16 PhD and 16 MS students. He currently advises over 30 undergraduate students enrolled in Agricultural Sciences, AEE Leadership Option, and the Leadership Development minors. His work has resulted in over 120 publications in leading peer-reviewed journals, books, and outreach publications.

Back to Top