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Stearns Award boosts faculty projects


Anya Belkina and Irma Mann Stearns

Anya Belkina, assistant professor of Visual and Media Arts, with Irma Mann Stearns '67. On November 19, 2012, Belkina addressed faculty at a luncheon on the benefits of winning the Norman and Irma Mann Stearns Distinguished Faculty Award last year.

Two assistant professors were honored November 19 at the Norman and Irma Mann Stearns Distinguished Faculty Award Luncheon, held in the Beard Room.

Anya Belkina, assistant professor of Visual and Media Arts, won the award for the 2011–2012 academic year. She addressed attendees about the positive impact of receiving the recognition. This year’s winner is Ruth Grossman, assistant professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, who will speak at the annual luncheon next year.

The award was established in 1993 with a generous endowment from Dr. Norman Stearns and his wife, Irma Mann Stearns ’67, a former Emerson Board Chair and Trustee Emerita. It is presented to a full-time faculty member for outstanding scholarly or creative achievement and has a stipend of $3,000. The money may be used to enhance an ongoing project or for the development of a new scholarly or creative endeavor. Travel is strongly encouraged as part of the project.

Grossman will use her award for ongoing research of children with autism spectrum disorders. She will conduct an in-depth analysis of the relationship between facial movement patterns and perceived awkwardness by using three-dimensional infrared motion-capture, and will present her findings this spring at the meeting of the Society of Research and Child Development in Seattle.

Belkina used her award last year to help create Moston, a 12-foot-tall, suspended inflatable sculpture that conjures a technology-driven combination of Moscow and Boston. It includes a 3D form of mutated Russian nesting dolls and a 2D surface design of printed artwork and documentary footage projection. Moston was included in the 2011 Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques Conference in Vancouver. It was one of 16 artworks chosen from 300 submissions.

Previous recipients of the Stearns Distinguished Faculty Award include: Joshua Polster, Katie Youn, Cristina Kotz Cornejo, Cher Krause Knight, Robert Todd, Melia Bensussen, Jean Stawarz, Eric Schaefer, Maureen Shea, Scott Wheeler, Emmanuel Paraschos, and Lauren Shaw.

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