CHaSS Awards 2021
Every year we honor students, faculty, staff, and alumni from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. This year, we have seen exceptionally talented individuals of the CHaSS community have rise above and beyond the challenge of a global pandemic. Read on to learn more about these individuals and be sure to tune into the live event on March 24th to honor them and find out the winner of our Dean's Giraffe Award.
Teacher of the Year
| Political Science
Researcher of the Year
| Journalism and Communication
Lecturer of the Year
Undergraduate Research Mentor
| Communication Studies
Faculty Undergraduate Mentor of the Year
| Journalism andd Communication
Graduate Faculty Mentor
Ed Glatfelter Faculty Service
| Public Relations
Scholar of the Year
| Political Science
Graduate Student Instructor of the Year
Master’s Student Researcher of the Year
Doctoral Student Researcher of the Year
True Blue Award
| History Staff
Light of Old Main Award
Light of Old Main Award
| English Staff
CHaSS Inspiration Award
Dion-Jay (“DJ”) Brookter, Executive Director of Young Community Developers Inc. (YCD) & San Francisco Police Commissioner.
YCD is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community-based service education, training, and employment placement service provider to San Francisco’s underserved (Bayview/Hunter’s Point) community residents. In 2018, YCD served 1,040 customers and secured placement for 443 program participants across several industry sectors. Mr. Brookter’s extensive public and private experience includes Exec. Director of the Southeast Community Facility and management positions within World Savings and Fresno Career Development Institute. Mr. Brookter serves on San Francisco’s Police Commission; he holds a B.S. in Speech Communication (Utah State Univ.) and an MBA from the Univ. of Phoenix.
Friends of CHaSS
Edgar J. Lewandowski
Edgar J. Lewandowski was born and raised in Logan, Utah by German immigrant parents. His late father was the first in his family to attend college and graduate from U.S.U., followed by both of Edgar’s older siblings. After graduating from Logan High School in 1996 as a co-valedictorian, Edgar continued his education at Columbia University in New York City where he graduated in 2000 with a B.A. in History, magna cum laude, and was a member of the lightweight varsity rowing team. Edgar also attended the New York University School of Law, where he graduated in 2003 with a J.D., and has since practiced corporate law in New York, with brief stays in Denver, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Singapore. Edgar is currently a partner at the New York City-based law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett where he counsels companies and private equity sponsors on securities offerings (such as the IPOs of Hilton and Bumble) and general corporate matters. Edgar lives in Chappaqua, New York with his wife and two young children and is looking forward to spending more time in Utah after construction on their new home in Hyde Park, Utah is completed in the next year. In his free time, Edgar enjoys photography and spending time with his family.
CHaSS Distinguished Alumni
Jared Farmer is Professor and Chair of Graduate Studies in History at the University of Pennsylvania. Born and raised in Provo, Utah, Farmer graduated from USU in 1996. He retains fond memories of Hazel’s Bread, Aggie Ice Cream, Old Main Hill, and Logan Canyon. His freshman year, he took a course that changed his life: an honors seminar on the Colorado River taught by Jack Schmidt, world-class geomorphologist. Over his college years, Farmer researched and drafted his first book, Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon County (Univ. of Arizona, 1999). At USU, he received mentorship from an incredible group of western scholars: Clyde Milner, Carol O’Connor, David Rich Lewis, Ross Peterson, Tom Lyon, Barre Toelken, and the late Anne Butler. He also credits Dan McInerney, then director of the Honors Program, Norm Jones, long-time chair of History, and Joyce Kinkead, Associate Dean of CHaSS, for their encouragement. Farmer went on to earn his Ph.D. in History from Stanford. His dissertation became On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Harvard, 2008), which won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians. His third book was Trees in Paradise: A California History (Norton, 2013). In 2014, the Dallas Institute presented Farmer the Hiett Prize in the Humanities; in 2017, the Carnegie Corporation of New York named him an Andrew Carnegie Fellow; and in 2018, the American Academy in Berlin awarded him a Berlin Prize. His forthcoming book is Survival of the Oldest: Ancient Trees in Modern Times. In addition, Dr. Farmer has self-published three e-books on LDS and Utah history. On Instagram, he posts @geohumanist.
Lyle Hillyard attended Utah State University and graduated in pre-law with honors in 1965. He went on to attend the University of Utah and graduate with his J.D. in the top 25% of his class in 1967. At the beginning of his career, he established his own firm and continues be of counsel with the law firm of Hillyard, Anderson & Olsen. After spending time from 1981 to 1984 as a Republican Member of the Utah House of Representatives, he served as a Utah State Senator from 1985 to 2020. In his professional career, Hillyard has received over 40 different honors, awards, and recognition for his professional work and service.
RonNell Andersen Jones
Professor RonNell Andersen Jones is an Affiliated Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project and the Teitelbaum Chair and Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.
A former newspaper reporter and editor, Professor Jones is a First Amendment scholar who teaches, researches and writes on legal issues affecting the press and on the intersection between media and the courts. Her scholarship addresses issues of press access and transparency and the role of the press as a check on government. She is also a widely cited national expert on reporter’s privilege and newsgathering rights and a regular speaker on emerging areas of social media law and defamation and privacy issues as they affect the media. She is an adviser on the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law Third Torts: Defamation and Privacy. Her scholarly work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Northwestern Law Review, Michigan Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and the Harvard Law Review Forum. She is also a regular public commentator on press freedom issues. Her op-eds have been published in several major news outlets, including CNN and The New York Times, and her research has been quoted in Newsweek, the Washington Post, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, and other national publications.
Professor Jones graduated first in her law school class and clerked for the Honorable William A. Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the United States Supreme Court. Prior to entering academia, she was an attorney in the Issues & Appeals section of Jones Day, where her work focused on Supreme Court litigation and included major constitutional cases.
Paul A. Jones is the 10th president of Fort Valley State University
Recognized for being a visionary leader and strategic thinker with an extensive background in higher education. With nearly 35 years of higher education experience, President Paul Jones was appointed to take Fort Valley State's helm in December 2015 following a career that included leadership positions in Georgia, Colorado, Maryland, and Utah.
Dr. Jones, an astute and affable administrator who is committed to the transformative power of higher education, has spent the last several years advancing FVSU’s standing as one of the nation’s most respected institutions of higher learning; including its consistent ranking as the top public historically black college and university (HBCU) in Georgia by U.S. News and World Reports.
Before joining FVSU, President Jones served two years as interim president at Darton State College (2013-2015) in Albany, Georgia. Throughout his higher education career, he served in numerous senior leadership roles at Georgia College & State University (2002-2013), including senior vice president for finance and administration, vice president and chief of staff, vice president for institutional research and enrollment management, and several interim roles including interim vice president of academic affairs and president. President Jones was also a Professor of Educational Administration at Georgia College.
In 2019, President Jones established a university-wide steering committee to begin an inclusive and collaborative comprehensive strategic planning process to chart the University’s next five years. This 2020-2025 plan, Unleashing 21st Century Innovation, Transformation and Excellence, is currently in the implementation phase and will focus on four priorities: Exceptional Student Experience, Operational Excellence, Organizational Identity, and Engagement and Collaboration.
During President Jones’s stabilizing tenure at FVSU, he expanded the academic offerings on the campus and online, bolstered innovative programs focused on student success, and renovated and modernized aging campus structures. He also has increased retention and graduation rates, and FVSU experienced its highest enrollment since fall 2013.
During his investiture, President Jones launched a needs-based campaign to support students. Since its establishment, the program has dramatically increased funding for need-based aid. During this same period, FVSU also experienced consecutive years of increased fundraising and new donors. Under his leadership, several renovation and construction projects have also been completed or are underway, including the Junia J. Fambro Dining Center, Amphitheatre, Center for Agribusiness, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Davidson Hall, and numerous other essential projects.
Dr. Jones is also a member of several boards including, The Medical Center of Peach County, Navicent Health Board of Directors, Fort Valley State University Foundation, Middle Georgia Goodwill Industries Education Committee, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Council of 1890s Officers, USDA-1890 Task Force, Museum of Aviation Foundation Board of Governors, and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Executive Board.
Dr. Jones and his wife Sylvia were named 2012 Alumni of the Year at Utah State University, where President Jones earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The Los Angeles, California-native also earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. In 2007-08, President Jones served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at the University of West Florida.
President and First Lady Jones have two adult children: Isaiah and Daphne.
Olivia Hoge is a senior from Blackfoot, Idaho, majoring in Political Science with minors in art and English. She is gearing up to graduate this Spring. In her time at Utah State, Olivia has had the honor of being involved in many different organizations on campus. She has served on the President's Cabinet, worked as the networking director for the Student Alumni Association, co-chaired the Service Center's marketing team, has been an active member of Kappa Delta, and served on CHaSS council her Junior year. In addition to this, she has worked closely with the Institute of Government and Politics (IOGP). Through the IOGP, she has interned for Congressman Mike Simpson in Washington, D.C., as well as a state legislator internship for Representative Dan Johnson. She says her greatest joy in her time at Utah State has been serving as the 2020-2021 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Senator. Although this year has been different due to COVID, she has enjoyed working with students, faculty, and staff. She especially gives thanks to Dean Ward, Natalie Archibald, Tom Liljegren, and all of the professors within CHaSS who made her time serving during COVID easier.
Recognition of Student Leadership
- Abby Palfreyman
- Alyssa Hill
- Anny Spencer
- Braden Morrill
- Carlee Clark
- Claire Wever
- Darcy Ritchie
- Lauren Pack
- Madison Okumura
- Augusta Scott
- Mikayla Cook
- Chase Harward
- Abby Hine
- Kelsie Holman
- Heather Hopkins
- Holly Johnson
- Meagan Oltman
- Colton Richmond
- Celeste Rodriguez
- Collin Tanner
- Emma Thorton
- Stephanie Tuckett
- Claire Weve
Students of the Year
Daniel R. Porter
Broadcast & Multimedia Journalism
Utah Public Radio
Interdisciplinary Studied & General Studies
"Étienne" Raine Owens
Cadet Seth Robert Ward
Law & Constitutional Studies
Faculty and Staff Recognition
Ross Peterson Distinguished Lifetime Service Award
Dr. Steve Simms
Steven R. Simms is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Utah State University, Logan, Utah, He conducted archaeological field work across the United States and in the Middle East for over 45 years. His areas of specialty are the prehistory of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau, evolutionary ecology, archaeological method and theory, history and theories of anthropology. Simms has authored over 100 scientific publications. His books, Ancient Peoples of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau was published in 2008, and the award-winning Traces of Fremont: Society and Rock Art in Ancient Utah was published in 2010 (Society for American Archaeology Book award public audience category and Utah Book Award nonfiction). He has directed over 60 archaeological research projects. He served as President of the Great Basin Anthropological Association and editor of the journal Utah Archaeology, and is a Fellow of the Utah Professional Archaeological Council. He served on the Government Affairs Committee and as annual meeting Program Chair of the Society for American Archaeology. He served on numerous government committees including the Utah Governors committee to draft the Utah version of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. He served as an expert witness for the Bureau of Land Management in the case of Spirit Cave Man, Nevada. In retirement Professor Simms continues to write papers, serves as the Editor for the “Pioneers” section of the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology. He lives with his partner Judy Nelson, a ceramicist and artist, in their home on “Piney Island” at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains in Story, Wyoming.
Outgoing Department Heads
Derrik Tollefson, SSWA
Derrik Tollefson is Professor of Social Work, director of the I-System Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (home of Mind-Body Bringing), and head of the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology at Utah State University. He previously was the founding director of the Master of Social Work program at Utah State University and served as interim dean and associate dean of Utah State University’s Uintah Basin campus. He teaches graduate and undergraduate social work courses and holds a clinical social work license from the State of Utah. He received a bachelor’s degree in social work and sociology from Utah State University, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver, and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Utah.
Tammy Proctor, History
Tammy M. Proctor is Distinguished Professor of History at Utah State University, where she has served as Department Head since 2013. Proctor is a specialist in modern European and gender history with an emphasis on the history of youth, gender, and conflict. In addition to studies of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, women in espionage, and civilians, she has more recently published World War I: A Short History (2017), Gender and the Great War (with Susan Grayzel), and An English Governess in the Great War: The Secret Brussels Diary of Mary Thorp (with Sophie de Schaepdrijver). She is presently completing a book, Saving Europe: Food, War, and American Intervention, on the history of US relief in Europe during and after the First World War.
Bradford Hall, LPCS
Brad Hall is a Professor of Communication Studies. He served as Department Head of Languages, Philosophy, and Communication Studies from 2006-2021. He is grateful to have had the good fortune of working with a department whose staff, faculty, and students are patient, talented, and supportive. He teaches primarily in the areas of intercultural communication, communication theory, and the link between our talk, thoughts and actions. In his own words, his teaching style is best described as “intensely laid-back,” “confusingly clear” and “routinely varied.” He believes that learning is best accomplished through consistent effort and the serendipity of unexpected insights. His research deals with issues of culture, identity, membership, conflict and everyday conversation. His work has been published in journals such as Communication Monographs, Research on Language and Social Interaction, Communication Theory, Human Relations, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, and Human Communication Research. He is working on the fourth edition of his textbook, Among Cultures: The Challenge of Communication.
Paul Crumbley, English
Professor Paul Crumbley arrived at Utah State University in 1995 and has taught in the English Department ever since. His undergraduate degree is from Willamette University and he has master’s degrees from the Claremont School of Theology, Reed College, and the Bread Loaf School of English. He completed his PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he wrote his dissertation on Emily Dickinson. Over the course of his career he has published six books: two single-author monographs on Dickinson, Inflections of the Pen: Dash and Voice in Emily Dickinson; Winds of Will: Emily Dickinson and the Sovereignty of Democratic Thought, and four edited collections of essays on topics including May Swenson, environmental writing, and Dickinson’s manuscripts. He has also published over twenty-five scholarly essays on Swenson, Dickinson, Jack London, and Jack Kerouac. Professor Crumbley’s teaching has focused on American poetry, with an emphasis on women’s poetry. He has also taught exhibit-oriented courses in coordination with Special Collections at Merrill-Cazier Library and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art that utilized archival holdings related to Jack London, Beat poetry, and May Swenson. Professor Crumbley held administrative roles in the American Studies program between 1997 and 2009 and has actively promoted recognition of May Swenson from 1999 to the present. Professor Crumbley plans to continue pursuing his various research interests during retirement, including finishing his current book project on May Swenson.
Evelyn Funda, English
Evelyn Funda retires as a Professor of English and Associate Dean of CHaSS. She came to USU in the Fall of 1995, after receiving a PhD from University of Nebraska. Over her career, she served as the Director of the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, the English Department’s Director of Graduate Studies, and Book Review Editor for Western American Literature. In 2014, she was awarded the Western Literature Association’s Rosowski Award for Outstanding Teaching and Creative Mentoring. She has published numerous essays on American author Willa Cather, a critical biography on Montana writer Mary Clearman Blew, the award-winning memoir Weeds: A Farm Daughter’s Lament, and, with co-authors Joyce Kinkead and Lynne McNeill, a general education textbook about the culture of agriculture entitled Farm: A Multimodal Reader. In retirement, when she isn’t gardening, she has plans to complete a book on Willa Cather’s interest in Czech culture, prepare a 4th edition of the textbook, and author a book about interpreting and writing about family artifacts. She remains active in the Western Literature Association and the Czech Genealogical Society International, where she is a board member.
Keith Grant-Davie, English
Dr. Keith Grant-Davie joined USU’s English Department in Fall, 1991. He has taught courses in editing, rhetorical theory, and crisis communication. In 1997, he helped develop the department’s online Master of Technical Communication program, one of the first such online programs in the country, and he has taught graduate seminars online since 2003. He also helped develop the department’s PhD program in Technical Communication and Rhetoric, and he directed four doctoral dissertations in that program. He served as the English department’s Director of Graduate Studies for 12 years, from 1999 to 2011, and he has resumed that position as Interim DGS for the current academic year. Over his 30-year career at USU, he has managed the graduate degrees of over 500 students. He co-edited two scholarly books about teaching online, one of which won a national award. His publications and conference papers have applied rhetorical theory to a wide range of topics, including the memorial plaques at the Bear River and Mountain Meadows Massacre sites, property disputes in a southern Utah polygamous community, and the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster in central Utah. His forthcoming publications are on using image repair tactics to advance social justice causes and on risk communication strategies used by sex workers to keep themselves safe on the streets. In retirement he hopes to resume kayaking in Cache Valley and volunteering for the National Park Service at Lake Powell as a Trash Tracker.
Paige Smitten, English
Paige Dayton Smitten received her BA degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983. In 1987, she was awarded an MA degree in rhetoric and composition from Texas Tech University. Moving to Utah, she was appointed as lecturer and began teaching at Utah State University in 1991. Over her 30 years of service, she taught a wide range of courses in addition to those in rhetoric and composition, including the Elements of Grammar, American Short Story, children’s literature, and remedial writing. With grants from the Women and Gender Research Institute she developed new courses in Southern Women Writers and Women and Madness. She often taught Creative Non-Fiction, and her work was enhanced in 2005 by a summer grant from USU to study memoir writing with Patricia Foster in Barcelona. Outside the English Department, she taught medical writing for pre-health majors, and she held a teaching appointment in the Aggies Elevated program in Special Education.
H. Bert Jenson, History
Professor Jenson started with Utah State University in Oct 1993, serving as Associate Librarian at the USU Uintah Basin Campus. His teaching career began in 1995, when he was asked to teach library skills classes. He then started teaching courses in Folklore and US History in 2008. While teaching, he was still serving as Associate Librarian. In 2011, when it was decided to close that library, disbanding it totally, Bert was moved into full-time teaching, and the tenured title of Associate accompanied that change. His graduated studies marked him as an ‘Americanist’, and this put Professor Jenson in the English Department. He resided here, teaching mostly US History and Folklore, until early in 2020 when he was appointed to the History Department as Associate Professor of History, his terminus appointment. His retirement date is June 30, 2021.
Peg Petrzelka, SSWA
I have spent 20 wonderful years at Utah State, as a professor of Sociology. I couldn’t have “landed” at a better spot—for both my research on the interrelationships between the social and physical environments—both here in Utah and in far flung areas such as Morocco--and for the incredible colleagues and awesome friends I have made. As I move back to the Heartland, and start new adventures, what I am most thankful to USU for is the wonderful opportunities it has provided me.
Melanie Rock, Advising
I started working for CHaSS September 26, 2006. From the moment I walked in I knew I was in the right job! I have been very fortunate to work for 2 of the most amazing bosses, Mary Leavitt & Tom Liljegren. I have been married to the same crazy man for 38 years. We have 2 daughters 1 son, 2 son-in-laws and a daughter in-law. I have been blessed with 3 amazing granddaughters that are my world. I love to hunt & fish and I have a horse that I look forward to riding. I also like to crochet and have been making and selling pixie hats. I am so excited to retire and do what I want whenever I want.
Giraffe Award Nominees
This year has provided a chance for many of the CHaSS community to shine. Check out our Giraffe Award nominees below.
Founded the Utah Prevention Science Institute.
Creatively organizing HIST 1700 as a “choose your own adventure course.
Offered free instruction during the summer break to help students in the Chinese program transition smoothly to their second year.
Tim Curran & Kaitlin Phillips
Taking on the role of co-directors for the new Communication Studies graduate program.
Planned and executed this year’s Social Work Practicum Fair and his hours spent helping determine recipients of the Make it or Break it fund.
Devotion to issues of diversity and racial inclusion on campus and the surrounding community.
Inviting weekly guests to attend the graduate seminar.
Jisung Lee, Joanna Trujillo and Maria Lindsay
Creating a learning experience known as the AnthroPak for families at home to replace the Family 1st Saturdays at the Museum of Anthropology due to COVID-19.
Response to community needs with the onset of COVID-19.
Strengthening the Religious Studies program with a number of various initiatives.
Outstanding work in the area of sustainability-related classroom education, her research in environmental humanities, and her efforts to foster a more pronounced culture of sustainability in the college.
Recognizing a curricular gap in the SW program regarding traditional practices with the Navajo Nation.
Expanding his area of research by adding the area of Spanish Graphic novels.
Outstanding work on the Ethics Slams early in 2020 and the Ethics Bowl.
Creatively helping the Intensive English Language Institute handle the impact of COVID-19 on international enrollment.
Robert Ross & Steve Sharp
Experimenting with a contemporary U.S. constitutional convention classroom simulation.
Submitting a study for the USU CARE award and always making extra commitment to students.