March 28, 2013Vol. 43, Issue 1

Celebrating Outstanding Faculty and Staff

Celebrate the Stars honorees included (from top left) Maria Moreno, Cheri Taylor, DingXin Cheng (whose bio is found in the Outstanding Awards article in this issue), Alan Gibson, and Jenny Sharkey, and (bottom left) Sara Cooper and (bottom right) Katie Milo. Also pictured are (from top right) Vice Provost for Research E.K. Park and Faculty Recognition and Support Committee Chair Wendy Diamond, and (bottom center) Provost Belle Wei. Photo by Erik Aguilar.


On Feb. 28 at this year’s Celebrate the Stars Luncheon, sponsored by the CSU, Chico Research Foundation and the Office of Sponsored Programs, seven faculty and staff members were honored by the University for outstanding performance.

Professional Achievement Honors

Sara Cooper, Chicano Studies/Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, is founder of Cubanabooks, an independent press dedicated to publishing literature by Cuban women writers, as well as founder of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Discussion Group on Cuban and Cuban Diaspora Cultural Production. In 2012, she received the National Endowment for the Arts Translation award.

Cooper has published six major collections of essays in the last three years. She is a recipient of an MLA Florence Howe Award for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship in Foreign Languages. In recognition of her work on Cuban humor and graphic novels, Cooper delivered the keynote address at the Seventh Annual UF Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels at the University of Florida, Gainesville. This is her second Professional Achievement Honors recognition; the first was in 2008–2009.

Alan Gibson, Political Science, is a Franklin’s Opus Fellow for the American Institute for History Education (2010 to present). In the summer of 2011, Gibson was a visiting scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He is a leading scholar on the American founding and on James Madison, about which he has been invited to speak throughout the country. Gibson has held fellowships from the International Center for Jefferson Studies in Charlottesville, Virginia, the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Gibson has published articles in Polity, History of Political Thought, The Review of Politics, and The Political Science Reviewer. Most recently, he is the author of two books on the historiography of the American founding, both published by University Press of Kansas. The first book, Interpreting the Founding: Guide to the Enduring Debates over the Origins and Foundations of the American Republic, provides a broad overview of the post-Beardian study of the American founding; the second book, Understanding the Founding: The Crucial Questions, examines four central debates generated by the modern study of the American founding.

Outstanding Project Directors

Katherine J. Milo received the Lifetime Achievement award in this category. She is professor emerita in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations. Milo served as department chair for 11 years, leading the program to its first national accreditation. For seven years she served as vice provost for research, working with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Research Foundation to further engage Chico State faculty and staff in research and grant work.

Before joining the CSU, Chico faculty in 1981, Milo worked in radio news, public relations, and advertising. Throughout her campus career, she continued her practice of public relations through her project work for the State of California, directing outreach programs for various state agencies including the Departments of Fish and Game, Child Support, and Social Services. Project staff has included students and graduates of the public relations program.

Milo’s current sponsored project dealing with family planning for CalWORKS recipients has run through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for more than 16 years. During that time, this project has brought a total of $9.2 million in contracts to the University while serving more than 600 organizations statewide and distributing more than 8.1 million family-planning publications.

Maria Moreno is director of Upward Bound Projects. After graduating from CSU, Chico in 1998 with degrees in Spanish and Latin American studies, she began to work for Migrant Head Start. She found advocating for migrant families in Head Start extremely rewarding, since that was the first preschool she attended as a child. In 2001, Moreno joined Upward Bound in 2001 as the academic coordinator. She has held nearly every position in Upward Bound, first as a student, then as a student worker and task team supervisor while attending college. As a staff member at Upward Bound, she has held the position of academic coordinator, program coordinator, assistant director, and director.

Jenny Sharkey received the Debut Award in this category. She is CalFresh Outreach director, providing support to 11 subcontractors in 12 Northern California counties, including Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Modoc, Plumas, Sierra, Shasta, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Siskiyou, and Yuba. She earned a bachelor of arts in child development from CSU, Chico and a master of arts in human development from Pacific Oaks College. Sharkey has many years of experience working with nonprofits and public entities in developing family and community programs and resources.

Outstanding Project Staff Member

Cheri Taylor has been the grants coordinator for the College of Communication and Education since spring 2011 and oversees the newly formed office of Outreach, Research, and Grants for the college. She and project staff provide support in proposal development as well as project administration to funded grant projects. The majority of the proposed and funded projects have focused on providing services and support to underrepresented CSU, Chico students as well as preparing future educators to provide services to children and youth in the CSU, Chico service region.

Taylor has assisted CME faculty in the development and submission of 28 major proposals to federal, state, and private agencies since 1994. To date, 20 of these 28 proposals have been approved for funding exceeding $21 million. Since her 2011 appointment as CME grants coordinator, CME grant proposal activity has experienced a significant increase with 16 proposals developed for funder consideration exceeding $8.5 million. Of these 16 proposals, 4 proposals are currently under review and 10 have been awarded for a total of more than $6.1 million.