Dr. Kathleen Moore FACULTY Excellence AWARD 

Our Faculty Excellence Award Program recognizes faculty research excellence in six separate award categories, each receiving a $5,000 research grant

  • Three Campus-Based Faculty Excellence Awards
    • One award per USF campus — USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee
    • Faculty members who hold a regular tenure-track appointment at an institution within USF at the level of assistant, associate or full professor.
  • One USF Junior Faculty Excellence Award
    • Faculty members who hold a regular, tenure-track appointment at an institution within USF at the level of assistant professor.
  • One Instructor Award
    • Non-tenured teaching faculty within USF at the level of Instructor I, II or III.
  • One Valerie D Riddle, M.D., Award in Health
    • Faculty members who hold a regular tenure-track appointment within USF Health (Morsani College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Public Health, School of Physical Therapy, School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Pharmacy) at the level of assistant, associate or full professor pursuing research in any topic related to women’s health.

To be considered, all applicants must submit an electronic packet including the following sections (please ensure responses are written in 12 point font and double spaced):

  • Section 1: Complete and sign cover page. Download Here 

  • Section 2: Discuss the impact, importance and meaning of one's research and creative scholarship as it relates to women and women’s issues within the university and beyond.  (500 words or less)

  • Section 3: Share how you plan to use the $5,000 award. (500 words or less)

  • Section 4: List your contributions to women through teaching, scholarship, professional associations, volunteerism, leadership activities and institutional welfare.

  • Section 5: Demonstrate activity in scholarly presentations at professional conferences, associations and learned societies and disseminates current knowledge to students.

  • Section 6: Provide a letter of nomination describing the nominee's overall achievement and its significance from a department chair or institute/center/program director with an endorsement by the dean.

  • Section 7: Include short vitae and any additional materials of support. (Maximum five pages)

The application packet must be submitted by Feb. 21, 2020, to be considered for the 2020 USF WLP Faculty Excellence Award Program. Please send your PDF application packet via email to wlp(at)usf.edu.

Application process:

  •  Application must be for a single individual, joint/team applications are not accepted.
  • Assistant professors may apply for the institutional-based award, the university-wide award, and the Valerie D Riddle, M.D. Award in Health. Applicants will be awarded in a single category.
  • The Dr. Kathleen Moore Faculty Excellence Award is an equal opportunity award, although preference will be given to female candidates.
  • Past applicants must reapply for consideration. 


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Diana M. Hechavarria, Ph.D.
USF Tampa Faculty Award

Diana M. Hechavarria, Ph.D.,  is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business. She teaches social and global entrepreneurship, strategic and technical entrepreneurship and business planning. Her work is published in journals such as Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Journal of Business Ethics, Small Business Economics, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research and a number of international journals.
At the broadest level, her research focuses on understanding the phenomenon of nascent entrepreneurship. This theme links all of her work regardless of its disciplinary base or approach. As an economic sociologist, she approaches the majority of her research in entrepreneurship from the viewpoint that venturing is a contextualized economic and social process. She also investigates strategic processes and aspects of organizational behavior linked to new firm emergence. Her goal is to offer practical insights for people actually engaging in the process of venturing, as well as providing evidence for, or against, prominent theories used in the management domain. The award will be used to advance research and scientific discovery linked to the economic prosperity of our local community. This project fits squarely into USF’s strategic objectives focused on improving the local economy, and advancing USF as a global research institution.
She holds a doctorate in business administration from the University of Cincinnati, a master’s in liberal studies from Florida International University and a bachelor’s
in sociology from University of Florida.

Jill McCracken, Ph.D.
USF St. Petersburg Faculty Award

Jill McCracken, Ph.D., is an associate professor of rhetoric and gender and sexuality studies at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and co-founder/co-director of Sex Workers Outreach Program (SWOP) Behind Bars, an organization that provides direct support for incarcerated sex workers and victims of trafficking in U.S. prisons and jails and connects
them to the sex worker rights movement. Having worked with sex workers and victims of trafficking for more than 14 years, her primary areas of research focus on sex work and trafficking in the sex industry, women and incarceration, and the impact of sexuality education on marginalized communities. Drawing on ethnographic and qualitative research methods, McCracken integrates community-based, participatory research into her work. This award will support her work on the Adolescent Sexual Health Education and Research (ASHER) Project with youth in high-risk situations to better understand
and prevent exploitation and violence.

She recently completed a Fulbright Specialist Project in collaboration with the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective to investigate the presence of violence and trafficking in the sex industry in a country where prostitution is decriminalized. She has conducted trainings for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)-supported organizations, public defenders, human trafficking coalitions, and nonprofit organizations. Her work has been recognized through many awards and honors including the USF Outstanding Faculty Award, a prior Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Faculty Research Award, and Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Service.

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Sunita Lodwig, Ph.D.
USF Sarasota-Manatee Faculty Award

Sunita Lodwig, Ph.D., is an information technology (IT) faculty member in the College of Business at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee where she has been for the last 14 years. Over this period, Lodwig and her colleagues have worked to develop a baccalaureate IT program with a strong cybersecurity slant from the ground up. Additionally, Lodwig has been instrumental in developing relationships with local industry and businesses to support an internship capstone program.
Prior to this, Lodwig was in the corporate arena for more than 20 years (with AT&T Bell Labs and Motorola) in the field of Telecommunications during its most turbulent and exciting times. Her technical background covers a wide range — from defining strategy, technical marketing, project/product management, globalization issues, to cutting-edge software architecture, requirements, design, development and delivery.
Throughout her career Lodwig has been an active proponent of women’s advancement in technology and has organized and participated in several STEM-related activities. Lodwig was a finalist for the 2011 Tampa Bay Business Woman of the Year award in the Education category. She is also a recipient of the 2013 Florida Achievement Award from the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. Lodwig’s spring 2016 sabbatical was devoted to developing technology and computer education programs for high school students and teachers in Tanzania. For two years in a row, the graduating classes of fall 2017 and fall 2018, chose Lodwig for the Outstanding Professor award. Lodwig holds a doctorate in theoretical physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

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Dinorah Martinez Tyson, Ph.D.
Valerie D. Riddle, M.D. Award in Health

Dinorah Martinez Tyson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Anthropology. As an applied anthropologist, her work focuses on understanding the culture, context and
circumstances surrounding behavior and disease that are crucial to intervention research and provide empirical rationale for the adaptation of interventions so they not only improve symptoms, but also engage communities and respond to local needs and realities. For example, she worked to adapt a self-administered stress management program for Latina women with breast cancer titled “Cómo tratar el estrés durante la quimioterapia,” and to adapt a colorectal cancer screening educational program for Latinos. She has also conducted epidemiological and cross cultural studies to examine the heterogeneity of the Latino/Hispanic population. Martinez Tyson’s scholarship builds on the tenets of community-engaged research.

Martinez Tyson’s work has appeared in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Cancer, Ethnicity and Health, the Journal of Cancer Education, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, Health Promotion Practice, and Social Science and Medicine. She is also the co-founder of Latinos Unidos por Un Nuevo Amanecer Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides support to Latinos diagnosed with cancer. She facilitated a monthly support group for Latinas diagnosed with cancer for more than 10 years and co-coordinates Campamento Alegria, a three-day integrative educational and supportive program for Latina cancer survivors.

Wendy Rote, Ph.D.
USF Junior Faculty Award

Wendy Rote, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Whitman College in 2007 and her Master of Arts and doctorate in developmental
psychology from the University of Rochester in 2012 and 2014. Rote’s research examines parental socialization behaviors, particularly guilt induction and overparenting, and how parents must adjust and realign their parenting strategies as children become more autonomous during adolescence and young adulthood. She specifically focuses on how
parents’ and teens’ perceptions of these parenting behaviors differ, especially as children age, and factors influencing these divergent perceptions. The ultimate aim of Rote’s research is to better tailor parenting advice and family therapies to specific situations by incorporating knowledge about contextual differences and individual features of family members. Rote has published numerous articles on her research and gives presentations in the local community on ways to improve parent-adolescent relationships and parenting practices. She currently lives in Seminole, Fla., with her husband and mother and stays busy raising two young children of her own.

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Leia Cain, Ph.D.
USF Instructor Award

Leia Cain, Ph.D., is an instructor in the Educational Measurement and Research Program within the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies. She obtained her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and her Master of Education and doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Cain’s research focuses on issues of equity for marginalized populations and on researcher identity development. These areas often overlap, as reflexive practices teach us that our own identities, as researchers, affect the decisions that we make during the research process. Cain is currently in her second year as co-chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee for Issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (CISOGI) and of the College of Education’s Diversity Committee. In addition to these commitments, Cain has developed tailored curricula for local businesses and national corporations concerning how to treat LGBTQ+ employees and address issues of equity and climate in the workplace for LGBTQ+ populations. Further, she has been invited to speak for the National Diversity Council at two of their events in recent years. She has disseminated her work through local, national and international conferences, and has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals.