News from university of Delaware

For the Record, Friday, Sept. 1, 2023

University of Delaware community reports new awards, promotions and honors

For the Record provides information about recent professional activities and honors of University of Delaware faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Recent awards, promotions and honors include the following:

The following members of the UD Police Department have received promotions and awards:


Sergeant Bryan Thomas was appointed to UDPD in 2007. He was promoted to master corporal in September 2011 and sergeant in July 2022. He has received a department commendation in 2008 and a distinguished unit citation in 2022. 

Master Corporal Shannon Hummel was appointed to UDPD in 2016. She was promoted to training coordinator in 2020 and master corporal in 2022 and became a cadet coordinator in 2023. She has received three department commendations, two distinguished unit commendations and several letters of appreciation. 

Master Corporal Richard Leary was appointed to UDPD in 2010. He has served on the USMS Task Force since 2016, field training officer since 2015 and K9 explosive detection handler since 2019. He has received the Police Chief’s Commendation in 2021, two department commendations and four letters of appreciation. 

Master Corporal Jessica Zeilman was appointed to UDPD in 2019. She has served in the patrol division, community engagement team (2019-2020), Delaware State Police TAC (DSP Academy, 2022), Police EMT unit (2022), Critical Incident Response Team (2023) and is the recipient of the Distinguished Unit Award. 


Detectives J Protz and Patrick Ramone were recognized by the UDPD as 2023 Officers of the Year. When a 29-year-old student at a German university began allegedly cyberstalking two former Blue Hen classmates, the detectives spent years and countless late nights tracking down the perpetrator’s various IP addresses. In the process, they helped uncover another crime: The man had also established five fictitious companies in order to defraud the U.S. government for $1.4 million in COVID-relief funding, according to the FBI. In May, UDPD officials flew to Germany for his extradition, and he’s now in federal custody.

Master Corporal Robin Tsang received the 2023 Foundation Award. Tsang established the Police EMT Program, the first of its kind in the state. The initiative allows members of UDPD to cross-train as emergency medical technicians through the Delaware State Fire School. Now, when these nationally certified officers arrive on a scene to treat anything from a rolled ankle to a motor vehicle accident, they are able to triage a situation immediately. So far, Tsang and his colleagues have saved lives both off-duty (administering CPR to a child drowning at a community pool, for example) and on-duty (treating a motorcyclist after a major crash near Old Baltimore Pike). 


Barbara Sheer, professor emeritus for the School of Nursing, recently received the Fellow of American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP) Legacy Award. This award was established in 2020 to recognize a fellow’s lifelong career with a lasting and profound impact on the field of nurse practitioners. Sheer was one of the first fellows when the program began in 2000, which has now expanded to over 900. Additionally, she recently published “Evolution in Healthcare: The Journey from a US Demonstration Project to an International Concept”, a chapter about the history of nurse practitioners in the S.L. Thomas, J. S. Rowles book titled: Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Anesthetists: The Evolution of the Global Roles. Sheer started UD’s nurse practitioner program in 1993, around the same time that the U.S. and U.K. were collaborating on expanding nurse practitioner programs globally. Since then, it has grown rapidly to 143 countries. As a result, she plays an important role in the International Council of Nursing Advanced Practice Network, where she helped develop a universal definition of nurse practitioners that could be used across many countries. Many nations have used this to help develop their own nurse practitioner master’s programs, preparing new generations of professionals to best serve patients throughout the world. “We want to recognize what has been done in the past and use this for our future leaders,” Sheer said. “We’re doing everything we can to preserve the history of our original nurse practitioners through interviews and surveying. History is only as good as its recording.” 

Vijay Parashar, assistant professor in the Department of Medical and Molecular Sciences, has been selected for a University of Delaware Research Foundation, Inc. (UDRF) grant award of $50,000.  The award will be used to support a graduate student for one year as well as an undergraduate student from the Research Experience for Undergraduates program to conduct research for 10 weeks in the summer of 2022. The grant proposal was evaluated by external experts from disciplines in similar fields and then reviewed and confirmed by members of the UDRF Board of Trustees. The research will be focused on targeting the metabolism of second messengers in bacterial cells for advancements in antibacterials. Vijay’s goal is to identify and develop small molecules that address the signaling of these messengers to regulate multiple bacterial behaviors. New approaches like this are critical to counter drug resistance as enhancements of existing antibiotics.

Leonard J. Cimini, Jr., professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in UD’s College of Engineering, is receiving the 2024 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Eric E. Sumner Award. The IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award recognizes individuals or teams of up to three for their outstanding contributions to communications technology. It is one of IEEE’s Technical Field Awards, which are prestigious recognitions of technical contributions or leadership in specific fields of interest of IEEE. Cimini was recognized alongside Stephen B. Weinstein and Geoffrey Ye Li for their work on technology that enables the high data rate capabilities in modern cellular and Wi-Fi systems.

Laure Kayser, assistant professor with appointments in the College of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is a member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) 2023 class of Young Observers. IUPAC is an international organization focused on chemical nomenclature and terminology. Because chemicals are complex, having consistent ways of describing their unique structures is crucial, especially as automated tools like machine learning become more prevalent in chemistry research. The goal of IUPAC’s Young Observers program is to introduce the organization’s work to a new generation of distinguished researchers and provide them with an opportunity to address international science policy issues. The program has supported more than 230 scientists under the age of 45 from industry, academia, and national laboratories. Kayser was one of ten U.S. Observers who attended the 52nd IUPAC General Assembly and 49th World Chemistry Congress, which took place in The Hague, Netherlands from Aug. 18-25. During the conference, Kayser attended the IUPAC and Polymer Division general assemblies and participated in projects from the Subcommittee on Polymer Terminology (SPT). She plans to continue volunteering for the IUPAC by contributing to the guide (and brief guide) to polymer semiconductors and other SPT projects.

Ayham Ghith, an undergraduate student in the Department of Medical and and Molecular Sciences, was recently selected to serve as chapter president for the UD chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. NSCS is a national honors society across 300 colleges and universities in the country that recognizes high-achieving students. As president of the UD chapter, Ghith will maintain communications between other chapter leaders and advisors, as well as manage local activities and ensure all chapter members are properly registered and in good standing. He is also a rising junior in the medical diagnostics program and was recently accepted into the 4+1 accelerated master’s degree program. 

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