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Outstanding faculty

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Sharon Rozovsky honored for excellence in advocacy

Sharon Rozovsky

​Sharon Rozovsky

Sharon Rozovsky, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has received a 2020-21 College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) award for excellence in advocacy.

She was among nine faculty award recipients selected throughout the College in a variety of categories. CAS Dean John A. Pelesko recently surprised each of the honorees with an in-person or virtual visit during a class or event to announce and present the award.

Following are more details about Rozovsky and the tribute Pelesko offered.

Sharon Rozovsky is known as a collaborative colleague with a flourishing research career who has contributed to many service roles within the department and beyond.

With Prof. Karl Booksh, she has successfully led a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program that provides students with disabilities the mentoring and experience that is important for success in graduate school. The program works to build a supportive community and provide role models for future generations of students.

The 10-week program provides students with a state-of-the-art chemistry research experience across five sub-disciplines. In addition to research, the students engage in four areas of mutually supportive career development activities. Students who have participated in the REU program have gone on to earn Goldwater Scholarships and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, highlighting the success of this program.

Rozovsky has also received a Unidel Grand Challenges Grant Award, “Designing Inclusive Futures: Disability, Diversity, and Innovation,” which also has the goal of increasing participation of students with disabilities in STEM-based research. She is often interviewed for her experience on inclusiveness and teaching students with disabilities in STEM.

At UD, she shepherded Disability Support Services and the Chemical Hygiene Committee to agree upon and adopt guidelines for allowing service dogs into labs. Other institutions have since reached out to her for guidance in crafting their service dog policy.

“I have found that the best advocates are undoubtedly the people themselves, but often they are either not really listened to or are outright excluded from certain parts of life,” Rozovsky said. “This is almost immediately self-evident when working with students with disabilities. … Thus, in my experience, efforts to improve diversity and inclusion really means to listen to the affected people and to act as the conduit for their voices and executioner of their ideas.

“This sometimes-challenging openness to differing, individual perspectives and the observation of a large variety of student-faculty mentor pairings had a deep impact on my ‘everyday’ work as a biochemist. It really changed how I mentor undergraduate and graduate students in my lab and my efforts to give them an active voice in their scientific work.”

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About the awards

The honorees were selected by the college’s Faculty Awards Committee, chaired by John Jungck, professor of biological sciences, with members Richard Cunningham, professor of theatre; Jennifer Lobasz, associate professor of political science and international relations; and Brenda Shaffer, instructor in fashion and apparel studies.

To read more about all the award winners, see this article.

Article by College of Arts and Sciences communications staff

Published Oct. 29, 2021

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