Honors & Awards

Pacific University faculty are great teachers — and great researchers and authors.

Michael Burch-Pesses, Music, received the 2018 John C. McManus Distinguished Teacher Award from the Oregon Music Education Association. The award recognizes lifetime service to music education and notable professional accomplishment. Burch-Pesses is Pacific’s longtime director of bands, as well as the musical director of the Oregon Symphonic Band. This spring, he will conduct during the university’s 70th anniversary Music in May festival, which attracts the finest high school musicians from around the country.

Stacey Halpern, Biology, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar Fellowship to study factors that contribute to a plant’s invasiveness in a non-native habitat. Beginning in June, Halpern will spend seven months in Japan working alongside other researchers studying Carolina horsenettle, a plant native to the U.S. but invasive in Japan. Halpern, an evolutionary ecologist, has studied Carolina horsenettle in Florida since 2005 as part of a long-term collaboration with ecologists there.

Brent Norris, Physician Assistant Studies, received a grant worth $36,000 from Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon to help train PA students in suturing and wound closure in simulated emergency, surgical and hospital settings. The funds will allow the School of Physician Assistant Studies to update its equipment and provide sufficient suture supplies to ensure students are proficient in this skill at the time they enter their clinical rotations.

Matthew Minicucci, English, is one of just 18 writers to have received a 2018 Oregon Literary Fellowship. Fellows are awarded a grant to help initiate, develop, or complete a literary project. Minicucci teaches writing and literature courses and is the senior poetry editor of Silk Road Review, a literary magazine published by the university. He is the author of two collections of poetry, and his work has also appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.

Mike Charles, Education, received an Endeavor Executive Fellowship from the Australian government to lead a professional development project at the Australian Science and Mathematics School (ASMS) at Flinders University in Adelaide. For three months this year, Charles led a team, which included Pacific’s Steve Rhine, Education, Rich Van Buskirk, Biology, and James Butler, Physics, that enhanced the teaching skills of Flinders faculty. The project also connected ASMS students with the Forest Grove High School students of Pacific alumna Briana VanRoekel ’16, MAT ’17.

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