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Faculty & Staff Activities

Faculty/Staff Activities – January 2023

Read about the work and awards of Drs. Bremer, Catepillan, Downey and Sikora, along with awards for Desa Fry and Barry Kornhauser.

Here are recent faculty and staff activities, including awards and recognition.

Francis J. Bremer is Professor Emeritus of History at Millersville University of Pennsylvania and Coordinator of New England Beginnings.

Dr. Francis Bremer, professor emeritus of history, recently addressed close to 300 French students preparing for exams for the French Society for English and American Studies, 17th and 18th centuries.

Puritanism: Webinar 1, ‘Puritans and Puritanism in Europe and America: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia’ was a talk by Francis J. Bremer and organized for the Agrégation program of 2022-2023 by Anne Page (LERMA, Aix-Marseille Université) and Sandrine Parageau (HDEA, Sorbonne Université). You can watch the recording at –

Dr. Ximena Catepillán, Emerita Professor of Mathematics at Millersville University.

Dr. Ximena Catepillan, professor emerita of mathematics, recently gave a presentation to the Aztlander group of archaeologists. The presentation, on January 9, 2023, was “Maya Numbers and Computations.” Catepillan is passionate about Precolumbian-era mathematics. As a Chilean with ancestral roots throughout South America, she seeks to celebrate and memorialize indigenous peoples through the study of the relationship between mathematics and culture – ethnomathematics – systems which allowed ancient civilizations to describe, manage and understand reality.

Catepillan is the Chair for the History of Mathematics Special Interest Group of the Mathematical Association of America, HOM-SIGMAA and an Associate Editor of the Convergence Journal of the MAA. She is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Mathematics and Culture, Revista Latino Americana de Etnomatemáticas, Revista Latino Americana Mathemáticas y Educación, and Revista Morfismo.

Dr. Dennis B. Downey, professor emeritus of history

Dr. Dennis B. Downey, professor emeritus of history, will receive the 2023 Hervey B. Wilbur Historic Preservation Award from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The award is for his work as editor and contributing author of the summer 2022 special issue of “Pennsylvania History” titled “Exploring Disability History in Pennsylvania.”  The 180-page volume emphasizes original research, advocacy and resources in the Commonwealth. The AAIDD is the largest international organization of its kind and Downey will receive the award at a special banquet during the annual convention in Pittsburgh in June.

AIDD announced its 2023 awards earlier this month –

Each year, AAIDD honors select individuals, organizations, or media who have made outstanding contributions to the field. A call for award nominations is issued in the fall of each year and awards are presented at the annual meeting of the Association.

Desa Fry was recently named as recipient of a “Never Quit Service Award” by the national AFSCME union.

Desa Fry, a custodial worker at Millersville, was recently named as recipient of a “Never Quit Service Award” by the national AFSCME union. Fry is originally from Malaysia and began her service to Millersville in 2004, working in food service, but transferred to housekeeping last year after applying for a job.

“Desa is a force for good on our campus,” says Kelly Davis from the Office of the Dean of Education and Human Services. “She embodies our union’s strong work ethic and also brings a kindness and encouragement to those who encounter her throughout the day. As a housekeeper on a busy university campus, she interacts with so many people and leaves them with a smile. Since she started in our building, we are welcomed each day by a fresh and sparkling space – her attention to detail and drive to do better is evident in all she does.”

For her outstanding service, Fry, a member of AFSCME Local 2421 (District Council 89), is a winner of our union’s Never Quit Service Award, which recognizes public service workers who go the extra mile to benefit their communities.

You can read more about Desa Fry here.

Barry Kornhauser, recently won an award for his play, “BALLOONACY.”

Barry Kornhauser, assistant director of Campus & Community Engagement, recently won an award for his play, “BALLOONACY.” It was the winner of the American Alliance for Theatre & Education’s “Distinguished Play Award.” BALLOONACY is performed frequently throughout the U.S. and in countries as diverse as Albania and Australia.

The play had its African premiere at the National Children’s Theatre of South Africa in December, playing for about a month in-house before touring to preschools and orphanages across the country. Being a wordless play, BALLOONACY has been noted for its inclusivity as it is designed to be enjoyed by all children, including those who are Deaf or have other language barriers as do some refugee/immigrant kids.

Dr. Todd Sikora, professor of meteorology, was recently named a Fellow by Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Dr. Todd Sikora, professor of meteorology, was recently named a Fellow by Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. It’s the 125th Anniversary of the Fellows.

In selecting Sikora and the other Fellows, the college said, “Fellows shall be graduates who are at the prime of their careers in academia, the private sector, government, and public service. Of particular attention are those graduates who have demonstrated strong leadership in their respective communities, who have been pioneers in diversity, and who have contributed substantially to the welfare of humanity using the skills and knowledge the college equipped them with upon graduation.”

Sikora joins the august group of alumni previously selected as Centennial Fellows in 1996. Fellows were honored at the Celebration of Accomplishment: 125 Years of Earth and Mineral Sciences weekend festivities last fall.


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