Presidential Awards of Excellence 2018 winners exemplify Kentucky State University's talented employees
Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II recently announced the Presidential Awards of Excellence 2018 winners during the State of the University Assembly. Winners affecting all aspects of the University were honored.
Dr. Fariba Bigdeli-Jahed, associate professor of mathematics, received the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Bigdeli-Jahed has served the University for 27 years and is the principal investigator and co-principal investigator of several funded grant projects such as the Appalachian Mathematics and Science Partnership (AMSP), Mathematics Achievement Funds and Co-Requisite Education.
The Iran native said her favorite part about Kentucky State is working with her colleagues and our students.
“It is a great honor to receive the Presidential Award of Excellence in Teaching,” Bigdeli-Jahed said.
Donna Carter, administrative assistant within the School of Humanities and Performing Arts, received the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Community Service.
The Frankfort native said she was overjoyed, thankful and grateful when she found out she was receiving the award. Tears filled her eyes, she said.
Carter has served the University for nearly 25 years and strives to serve students any way she can. Carter devotes time outside of work to visit infirmed and residents who may be confined to the indoors.
Dr. Buddhi Gyawali, associate professor of geospatial applications, received the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Research.
The Lexington resident said he was extremely thrilled and pleased when he found out he was receiving the award. His favorite part of working at Kentucky State is serving the diverse group of students and supporting them beyond the classroom.
Gyawali has experience developing and securing multidisciplinary competitive grants from the USDA and National Science Foundation (NSF), securing over $2.9 million in the last six years. Gyawali is president-elect of the Southern Rural Sociological Association (SRSA) and was recently appointed by Governor Matthew Bevin as a member of the Geographic Information Advisory Council.
Louie Rivers Jr., director of county operations, received the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Cooperative Extension.
The South Carolina native has served the University for 23 years. His favorite part of his job is providing research-based information to small farmers across the Commonwealth.
Rivers also received the 2017 Excellence in Extension Award, which is a prestigious national recognition for visionary leadership, excellence in programming and positive impact on the community. Rivers has also helped secure more than $12 million in extramural funding to enhance Kentucky State’s work with the small, limited-resource, minority and women farmers of the Commonwealth.
Sonia P. Sanders, director of public engagement and community outreach, received the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Community Engagement.
The Madisonville native has served the University for nearly a decade. Her favorite part of the job is interacting with the students who love to volunteer and make a difference in Frankfort and Franklin County.
Sanders said she felt overwhelmed and humble when she found out she was receiving the award.
“I share it with everyone, because it takes a village to breed success,” Sanders said. “By the grace of God, my time, talent and tenacity are used as an instrument to move forward with the brightest and the best students, faculty and staff on this hill.”