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Founders Week Award Winners

7 October 2011 No Comment

Kathleen Holtz Deal

Teacher of the Year
Kathleen Holtz Deal, PhD, MSW

Kathleen Holtz Deal found she loved working with students even before becoming an associate professor at the School of Social Work. A clinical social worker for 19 years in community mental health and substance abuse treatment, Deal says, “I supervised social work interns and found working with students so rewarding that, when I was in my late 40s, I entered a doctoral program with the goal of obtaining a faculty position.”

It’s proved a good fit.

By combining her experience with her love for teaching, Deal has flourished, instructing advanced-level MSW and doctoral courses, serving on 10 dissertation committees, and updating School curricula.

For 11 years she also has helped design and implement workshops for the School’s field instructors. This, too, grew out of her two decades of clinical work. “When I served as a field instructor, I wished for more information about how to perform in my new role as an educator,” Deal says. “In the Field Office, I’m able to help others make this transition.”

Deal has drawn rave reviews from participants. “As a result,” says Barbara Brown, MSW, assistant dean and director of field education, “many of the field instructors enrolled in additional continuing education courses taught by Dr. Deal.”

In addition, Deal created online training last year “to increase the knowledge of our field instructors without taking them away from their workplace,” says colleague Nakiya Schurman, MSW.

Whether it’s in the field or in the classroom, Deal is just grateful for the opportunity. She loves applying theory to practice, introducing innovative teaching techniques, and researching social work education. But most of all, she likes interacting with the students.

“The feedback from students that I find most rewarding is that I care about their learning, have high expectations, and treat them fairly,” Deal says. “I continue to find teaching both rewarding and challenging.”

Gary Fiskum

Researcher of the Year
Gary Fiskum, PhD

As the vice chair for research and the Matjasko Professor for Research in Anesthesiology at the School of Medicine, Gary Fiskum has learned to master some complex issues. His work pertaining to mitochondrial dysfunction associated with brain injury and optimizing cerebral resuscitation, in particular, has made him a speaker in demand internationally.

But to fully appreciate Fiskum, his colleagues say, one must look beyond the research. For instance, Margaret McCarthy, PhD, associate dean for graduate studies and interim chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the School, points out that the task of Xeroxing, collating, and stapling isn’t beneath Fiskum.  

Told that his stature—which includes being principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on five grants supported by $7 million in funding—would preclude him from such menial chores, Fiskum replies simply, “No task is unimportant when working on very complicated projects.”

David Hovda, PhD, director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, adds, “Dr. Fiskum displays the very best in character. He has always been a humble colleague who is enthusiastic about science; but, more importantly, he values friendships and ethical standards.”

Fiskum also finds time to mentor young researchers and host monthly neuroprotection seminars and periodic meetings and lectures of the UM Mitochondrial Research Interest Group, which he is happily opening to Johns Hopkins researchers this year.

Says colleague and former University Researcher of the Year J. Marc Simard, MD, PhD, “what has been especially noteworthy has been the collaborative nature of his work and the tremendous efforts that he has put into the lecture series.”

Despite performing research weighty enough to change American Heart Association guidelines, Fiskum has a simple answer when asked what is the nicest compliment you can get as a researcher. “Honesty,” he says. “I also believe that being recognized as an effective mentor is very important and gratifying.”

Jean Marie Roth

Public Servant of the Year
Jean Marie Roth

For someone who describes herself as “not an ‘out-in-front’ kind of person,” Jean Marie Roth certainly has become a leader of the Community Outreach Committee since joining the Staff Senate in 2005.

On behalf of the less fortunate, she has collected coats and gloves, school supplies and toiletries, paper goods and food staples, to name a few, for the likes of Our Daily Bread, the Ronald McDonald House, and our military veterans.

And that’s just inside the University. Nearer to her home in northern Baltimore County, Roth, an academic program specialist in the School of Medicine, tirelessly helps her parish and the Hereford Optimist Club. She also volunteers at the Hippodrome Theatre.

All recommended her for the award.

She brushes off any praise, saying “We should do as much as we are able to and then some.”

University President Jay A. Perman, MD, recognized her work for the Virtual Food Drive and the Cell Phones for Soldiers initiative with a note that said, “I thank you for going above and beyond your charge and I applaud you for setting such a high standard of selflessness that others throughout the campus would be proud to follow.”

Roth humbly says joining the Staff Senate and becoming involved with the Community Outreach Committee was just something she wanted to do. “I am thankful to the committee for working to inject that spirit of giving back to others on this campus,” she says.

Elaine Hagner, parish administrator at Our Lady of Grace, tells a story that sums up the selfless side of Roth.

“A week ago, I called her requesting a coffee cake as we say farewell to a beloved member who is leaving Our Lady of Grace,” Hagner says. “Not only did Jean Marie offer to bake, she also found volunteers to help with the event. Jean Marie Roth is truly a special person.”

Scott Strome

Entrepreneur of the Year
Scott Strome, MD, FACS

It may sound strange coming from someone just named Entrepreneur of the Year, but Scott Strome wasn’t always an advocate of translational research.

“When I started my research career, I espoused what I considered as ‘true academic ideals’—that academic research should be completely distinct from industry,” says Strome, chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery at the School of Medicine. “Over time, I came to realize that the only way research can impact the lives of our patients is through clinical translation. This award reaffirms my belief that meaningful academic industrial collaboration provides value in a University setting.”

Ideas developed in Strome’s lab formed the basis of a startup company, Gliknik Inc. Founded in 2007 with CEO David Block, MD, MBA, and located in the University of Maryland BioPark, Gliknik is creating novel biotechnology drugs for treating autoimmune/inflammatory diseases and cancer.

In 2009, Gliknik was named “Best Incubator Company of the Year” by the Daily Record. In its short history, Gliknik has raised more than $10 million, licensed two patents and applied for several more.

Strome praises the state biotech tax credit and the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program in College Park for contributing to Gliknik’s success. In addition, “Jim Hughes and the entire staff at the Office of Research and Development have really done a terrific job in guiding me through this process,” he says, “and the offices of President Perman and Dean Reece have also been incredibly supportive.”

Meeting the definition of a true entrepreneur, Strome sees this award as fuel for further translational discoveries. “It is my goal for our lab and our department to remain active in discovering new biologic pathways and in working collaboratively with industry to create new therapeutic interventions to help patients across a wide range of disorders,” he says.

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