Three STEM professors to receive NISOD Excellence Awards

From left: Dr. Gokarna Gharti-Chhetri, Dr. Tod Fairbanks and Alex Opritsa

Palm Beach State College science professors Dr. Gokarna Gharti-Chhetri and Dr. Tod Fairbanks and math professor Alex Opritsa have been chosen to receive an Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.

They will travel to Austin, Texas to receive their medallion award at the NISOD’s annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence set for May 25-28.

NISOD presents the awards to all faculty, staff and administrators nominated nationwide by their respective institutions to attend the conference each year. There are 873 honorees this year.

PBSC leaders chose the three honorees for “being highly regarded by their peers and students and for demonstrating a commitment to student learning inside and outside of the classroom,” said Dr. Roger Yohe, vice president for academic affairs.

Gharti-Chhetri teaches biology, microbiology, environmental conservation, biofuels and sugar technology courses at multiple campuses. He also served as an advisor to the Biology Club in Lake Worth for about two and half years.

“It is my honor and privilege to receive this award from NISOD,” Gharti-Chhetri said. “This inspires me to continue working for the betterment of my students and the community.”

 Fairbanks teaches biology, microbiology and biotechnology at the Palm Beach Gardens campus. He is also the Biology Cluster Chairperson, a member of the General Education Council, and the faculty adviser to the PBSC Medical Professions Association Club, which hosts guest speakers to discuss careers in healthcare.

“I am honored to receive the award, and I look forward to attending the NISOD meeting in Austin to pick up some new ideas about teaching at the state college level,” Fairbanks said.

Opritsa, who teaches mathematics at the Lake Worth campus, is the adviser to the PBSC Math Club he founded in collaboration with his students in 2010.  Aside from its various outreach programs and community service initiatives, the club also hosts special events and seminars for those who seek to enhance their knowledge and understanding of mathematics beyond the curriculum.

“It is a veritable privilege and honor to be nominated and selected for this award,” Opritsa said. “I am deeply and forever grateful to my colleagues and community at Palm Beach State for their continuous inspiration and inestimable role in my professional development over the years.”

In 1989, in connection with a University of Texas at Austin national study of teaching excellence, NISOD hosted its first ceremony honoring NISOD Excellence Award recipients.

“Recognizing those individuals who have contributed to student success and their colleges’ mission is something we look forward to doing each year,” said Dr. Edward J. Leach, NISOD’s executive director. “The extraordinary work of these men and women includes not only what they do for their students and colleagues, but what they do for the communities in which they live and work. We’re honored to be able to play a part in celebrating their achievements.”

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5 comments on “Three STEM professors to receive NISOD Excellence Awards”

  1. I am so panther proud of all these marvelous professors. Our student are so fortunate to have educators of your caliber. Congratulations!!

  2. Three gems in our PBSC Crown, Congrats! Enjoy NISOD and Austin (especially the river walk, bats under the bridge, and the Capitol Building)! been there thrice, an awesome global education conference. Thanks for all you do.

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