Nicosia receives 2022 President’s Award for Engagement with Students

ABINGTON, Pa. – Marissa Nicosia, associate professor of Renaissance literature at Penn State Abington, has received the University’s 2022 President’s Award for Engagement with Students.

The award is given to a faculty member who goes beyond his or her responsibilities to engage and encourage students in learning. The honorees have made themselves available to interact with students outside class, link students to opportunities and help them build their confidence as learners and potential contributors to society.

Nominators recognized Nicosia for her exceptional involvement with student learning that included several experiential and creative opportunities in and outside of the classroom.

Among her most impressive efforts, nominators said, is the Abington College Undergraduate research Activities (ACURA) project “What’s in a Recipe ?,” of which Nicosia is a collaborator. For the project, students study literary, linguistic and historical materials in 17th- and 18th-century recipe manuscripts, including records held by the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC

This research helps students develop paleography skills, present their work, publish blogs and complete transcriptions. Some of the research has resulted in students testing these period recipes, investigating medicinal claims and diving into the history of the manuscripts’ authors and owners.

“This ongoing project has entailed active collaborations with librarians at Penn State and beyond, including the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and Monash University Library in Australia,” a nominator said. . Nicosia’s efforts, these connections have provided students with access to a range of truly transformative experiences. ”

Those experiences include internships, summer research opportunities and the creation of “A Taste of 1677: An interactive history exhibition about food, medicine, and science.” A few students have followed up by publishing their research on the Early Modern Recipes Online Collective website. This work has resulted in her students earning awards from Penn State Libraries. One student presented her research at the Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Research Symposium at Johns Hopkins University.

Through an undergraduate fellowship program, Nicosia also involves her students with regional institutions such as archives and rare-book repositories.

“In each of the past two years, she collaborated with University Libraries colleagues on” The Great Rare Books Bake Off, “a friendly baking competition with Monash University open to all members of the Penn State community, including students,” a nominator said. “These innovative initiatives have provided students with meaningful interdisciplinary and collaborative experiences that foster academic, social and professional growth and learning”

Additionally, Nicosia is a faculty adviser for the Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society.

“Nicosia has an outstanding, consistent record of engaging and encouraging students in academic endeavors that goes well beyond a professor’s typical responsibilities,” a nominator said.

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