PASADENA, Texas – San Jacinto College recently announced this year’s Minnie Stevens Piper  Award nominees, and recipients of Outstanding Faculty and Excellence Awards.

English professor Dr. Karen Hattaway, music professor Michael Mizma, and biology professor Lambrini Nicopoulos are nominees for the prestigious Minnie Stevens Piper Award.

The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation has recognized outstanding professors from two- and four-year colleges and universities, both public and private, since 1958. The Piper Professor Program is one of its biggest recognitions. Nominations are based on submissions by each college or university in the state of Texas.

"In large measure, the success of our students is a reflection of the excellence of our faculty,” said Dr. Laurel Williamson, deputy chancellor and president of San Jacinto College. “We are extremely fortunate to have faculty members who deliver instruction based on the latest research and technology and who understand that the creation of an engaged student learning environment is of utmost importance in successful completion of a course, a certificate, and a degree.”

In addition to the Minnie Stevens Piper nominations, Mizma, Hattaway, and Nicopoulos are also recipients of this year's San Jacinto College Outstanding Academic Faculty Awards. This year's recipients of the Outstanding Technical Faculty Awards include Debra Clarke, eye care technology program director; Debra Acuff-Whitaker, engineering design graphics professor; and Elizabeth McKinley, accounting/business management professor.

San Jacinto College Excellence Awards recipients include Dr. Catherine O'Brien, associate vice chancellor for learning; Gloria Ramirez, scholarship accounting specialist; Dr. Alexander Okwonna, dean of health and natural sciences; Eugene Bernard, veteran success coordinator; Dr. Ra Shaunda Sterling, department chair for college preparatory and developmental studies; Dr. Karen Hattaway, English professor; Dr. Jerry Ivins, department chair of art, theatre, and film; and Carrie Hughes, biology professor.

“Our faculty members strive to give students the experiences they need to prepare them for the workforce and for their educational journeys to universities,” said Dr. Williamson. “San Jacinto College faculty members are involved in designing strong partnerships with transfer institutions and with business and industry to ensure and enhance the quality of our students' education and their successes in the workplace. For this, we recognize them for the achievements they have made throughout the year and for the continuation of excellence in education at San Jacinto College."

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.