Norwich professors earn ATHENA® and Pilot awards, leadership academy entry

Norwich University’s faculty not only teaches its passions, it lives them. During 2021, several faculty members received recognition for excellent work.

Dr. Min Li, an associate professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in social sciences for the 2020-21 academic year. Her research proposal, “Develop Quality of Life Measures in Chinese and Apply to Chinese Children with Cerebral Palsy” will contribute to a National Institutes of Health’s push to improve life quality for children with cerebral palsy. 

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Three professors each earned a $25,000 Pilot Award from the Vermont Biomedical Research Network (VBRN) in support of research at Norwich University for 2021-22. 

Dr. Natalie Cartwright, an assistant professor of mathematics, won for her project, “Youth Firearm Violence: A Machine Learning Approach.” Dr. Helene Sisti, an assistant professor of psychology, won for her project, “The Neural Dynamics of Real and Imagined Movement Using a Bimanual Learning Task.” Dr. Connie Hassett-Walker, an assistant professor of criminal justice, won for her project, “Impact of Criminal Conviction & Incarceration on Long-Term Health & Substance Use.” Read the story; hear Sisti discuss taking one thing at a time on the “Roads Taken” podcast.

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In November, Dr. Page C. Spiess, a lecturer in Norwich’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, received the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®, a statewide honor hosted by the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce. This award recognizes a woman, 40 or younger, who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in their own business or profession; works to improve others’ quality of life and serves as personal and professional role model for young women.

Kulkarni spiess
Norwich University professors Dr. Tara Kulkarni, left, and Dr. Page C. Spiess were finalists for ATHENA® Awards; Spiess won in her category. (Photos by Mark Collier/Norwich University

Spiess joined Dr. Tara Kulkarni, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, as an ATHENA Award finalist. She was up for an ATHENA Leadership Award®.

Finalists receive a $1,500 honorarium to give to charity. Kulkarni, who directs the university’s Center for Global Security and Resilience, will donate hers to Burlington’s Steps to End Domestic Violence;  Spiess will give to Winooski’s Vermont Works for Women. 

Read more about Spiess, Kulkarni and the awards.


Norwich University English Professor Dr. Lea Williams earned a spot in the 2021-22 Council of Independent Colleges and the American Academic Leadership Institute’s Senior Leadership Academy. Williams is one of 41 participants chosen to participate in this nationally competitive program, which offers midlevel leaders at independent colleges and universities leadership training for future promotions in cabinet-level positions.

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BITS AND PIECES: Dr. Seth Frisbie, an associate professor of chemistry, and his wife and research partner, Erika Mitchell, Ph.D., continued their life-saving crusade of studying arsenic, manganese, and other toxic heavy metals found in drinking water and, more recently, infant formula. … History professor Dr. Emily Fisher Gray continued her tradition of making a resonant introduction to her Reacting to the Past-based class. … Criminology professor Dr. Elizabeth Gurian in September published a new book, “Serial and Mass Murder: Understanding Multicide through Offending Patterns, Explanations, and Outcomes.” … Mathematics Department Chairman and math professor Dr. Robert Poodiack, received the 2022 Mathematical Association of America Certificate for Meritorious Service Award for the Northeastern Section.

To learn more about Norwich University’s faculty, visit our program pages.

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