Distinguished Faculty Awards Recognition

CELTSS honors Framingham State University's Distinguished Faculty with an event held annually during the fall semester. The four faculty members honored are the recipients of the university's Distinguished Faculty Awards for excellence in scholarship/creative activity, excellence in teaching, excellence in advising/mentoring, and excellence in professional service. Each award winner gives a presentation on his or her career trajectory and achievements.

The 2021 Distinguished Faculty event was held virtually on Monday, October 4, 2021. Click here to view the ceremony.

The honorees were: 

Dr. Lina Rincón, Sociology

Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Lina Rincón is a professor of Sociology at Framingham State University and Assistant Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, Scholarship and Service (CELTSS). She holds a PhD in Sociology from the State University of New York.

Dr. Rincón is a passionate, energetic and dedicated teacher-scholar, mentor, and leader at Framingham State University. She cares deeply about issues impacting FSU students, both in and outside the classroom. Her teaching is inspired by her research: her most recent study concerned the migration and incorporation experience of Latino professionals in the information technologies industries in the United States. In this research, she examines the racial and legal marginality professional migrants experience and their responses to it.

As Co-Coordinator of the RAMS 101 First-Year Academic Experience Program, Dr. Rincón has played a crucial role in improving the first-year experience for students at FSU, and takes pride in mentoring them.

Her work to promote anti-racist initiatives at Framingham State is extensive. As organizer and facilitator of the Anti-Racist Pedagogies Academy, Dr. Rincón has designed and orchestrated a rigorous program of 3-hour-long monthly meetings to acquaint faculty with the theoretical and ethical underpinnings as well as best practices of anti-racist pedagogy. She has coordinated provocative and stimulating presentations from faculty and staff at FSU and a wide range of colleges and universities.

Dr. Vincent Ferraro, Sociology

Excellence in Advising/Mentoring

Dr. Vincent Ferraro is Chair of the Framingham State University Sociology Department. He holds a PhD in Sociology from Northeastern University.

Dr. Ferraro has been a skilled academic advisor over his entire career at FSU. He is often requested by students when they enter the major, and prior to being Chair, he carried an overload of advisees. He was the University’s first Criminology faculty hire, and has worked hard to build it into one of the University’s most popular programs. While he has supported new faculty as they have joined the program, he has also seen to it that FSU is a hub for student opportunity around issues that interest them—and around issues that challenge them. In particular, he brought the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office People of Color in Criminal Justice conference to FSU, which has become an annual event.

Dr. Ferraro’s tenure as Chair of the Sociology Department was virtually simultaneous with the onset of the pandemic. When the University switched to a remote format in spring 2020, he worked tirelessly to make sure that students got the support that they needed, while being responsive to the concerns of faculty.

Dr. Ferraro was the inaugural faculty advisor to the criminology club, and launched FSU’s participation in Nu Kappa, FSU’s chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice honor society.

Dr. Jerusha Nelson-Peterman, Food and Nutrition

Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Work

Dr. Jerusha Nelson-Peterman is a professor and Chair of the Framingham State University Department of Food and Nutrition. She holds a PhD in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Tufts University and is a Registered Dietitian.

Dr. Nelson-Peterman’s scholarship is extensive and has focused on issues such as food insecurity and health outcomes among immigrant communities in Massachusetts. She has received several large grants supporting her research, including more than $117,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture to fund a four-year research project on “Food Security, Health Outcomes, and Nutrition Education among Cambodian Women in Massachusetts.”

Her research often involves a team of both graduate and undergraduate students working by her side and benefiting from her knowledge and expertise.

Dr. Nelson-Peterman has delivered dozens of presentations on her research, and has given invited testimony before the National Committee on Vital Statistics in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

She served on the Framingham State University Task Force for Supporting Students with Food and Housing Needs, which led to the establishment of the Rams Resource Center, FSU’s food and supply pantry. Dr. Nelson-Peterson is a member of the American Society for Nutrition, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Massachusetts Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Dr. Sarah Pilkenton, Chemistry and Food Science

Excellence in Professional Service

Dr. Sarah Pilkenton is a Professor of Chemistry and Food Science at Framingham State University. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from Purdue University.

Dr. Pilkenton’s dedication to service is demonstrated by her willingness to immediately throw herself into the breach when her students and colleagues are in need. During her time as Department Chair, the Chemistry and Food Science curriculum underwent major revisions, a new major was created, and 21 new faculty were hired. As director of the department’s graduate program she has been instrumental to establishing and growing a program that until she took over would have students only sporadically.

In addition to faculty searches for the department, Dr. Pilkenton served on the search committee for the Dean of the College of STEM and the search committee for the Provost/Vice-President of Academic Affairs. She also served several years on the Graduate Education Council and helped develop the curriculum for the Master’s Degree in Food Science.

Dr. Pilkenton has provided numerous services to the greater scientific community. She has regularly participated in the Massachusetts State Science Olympiad. She started as a volunteer, later coordinated multiple events, and in 2018 acted as co-director of the entire event. She has also served on the executive board of the Central Massachusetts section of the American Chemical Society.