The University Record, January 28, 2002

Power awards go to Mirkin and Tedesco

Submitted to the “Record” by Sally Grace,
HRAA liaison to the Academic Women’s Caucus.

Recipients of the 18th annual Academic Women’s Caucus Sarah Goddard Power Award will be honored 4 p.m Feb. 12, at a ceremony in the Vanden-berg Room of the Michigan League. The University community is invited to attend the event to pay tribute to this year’s recipients Noemi G. Mirkin, associate research scientist, biophysics research division, and Lisa A Tedesco, vice president and secretary of the University.

The Power awards are for faculty members who have distinguished themselves through their leadership, scholarship and sustained service on behalf of women. Former regent Sarah Goddard Power originally suggested that the caucus present awards to such individuals and the first honors were given in 1984. Power was a particularly strong advocate for women within the University community and had long been committed to the Academic Women’s Caucus, as well as to other groups that espoused the cause of women. The awards were renamed to honor Power in 1988. A decade later, the president’s office began funding the award with a stipend for each winner.

Noemi Mirkin is successful in both experimental and theoretical research in the field of biophysics. According to one colleague, she revitalized a field of study with her seminal work in the development of spectroscopically accurate potential energy functions, which are the basis for the computer simulations of protein structure that are now so important in describing the properties of these molecules.

On campus, her service has extended to Minority Recruitment, the Alumni Association, the Hispanic Alumni Council, the Sigma Xi Council, and Women in Science and Engineering Program. Her work with women in science extends beyond the campus as she has been president of the Detroit Chapter of the Association of Women in Science and served multiple roles in that organization locally and nationally. She also has been on the executive committee of the Forum on International Physics of the American Physical Society and the Michigan Latino Task Force for the Advancement of Minorities in the Sciences.

As a supporter of women, she has worked at the local level and in schools to improve educational opportunities for women and Hispanics. Those who nominated Mirkin praised her interpersonal skills, her genuine concern and her active mentoring of students.

Lisa A. Tedesco is honored for her work in women’s health issues in the national dental curriculum. Currently, she is co-principal investigator on a project on the Health Professionals Partnership Initiative/Health Occupation Partners in Education. Her studies have focused on oral health behavior, particularly as it relates to children and adolescents.

As a leader, she has held influential positions in the academy and leveraged both those and her professional positions to further the cause of women. She has affected policy, curriculum, admissions, and student, minority and faculty affairs. Nationally, she was one of the first women with a dental background to become a fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program, and she has held significant positions in the American Dental Education Association, including president.

As a promoter of women, she has helped to change the numbers of women in the academy and the opportunities available to them. At the School of Dentistry, she influenced the recruitment of approximately two dozen women faculty. Her efforts also had an impact on the increase in the number of women students entering the pre-doctoral program, which went from a third to more than half. Nationally, she has organized symposia and workshops to advance women and minorities, including the successful international Women’s Leadership Conference in 1999. As vice president, she has promoted a range of activities from a Career Development Fund for faculty, through special increases for lowest paid staff, to the creation of an eating disorders task force.