2023 Recipients

2023 President’s Faculty Excellence Award Announced

Kent State University President Todd Diacon recently notified six Kent State faculty members that they are the 2023 recipients of the President’s Faculty Excellence Award.

Linda Ohrn-McDaniel
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Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, Professor, Kent Campus, School of Fashion, College of the Arts   

Linda Ohrn-McDaniel is a professor in the School of Fashion. She joined the Kent State faculty in 2004 as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 2010 and earned the rank of professor in 2016. 

Her research and industry partnerships have elevated the reputation of Kent State’s School of Fashion both nationally and internationally. Along with being a professor in the School of Fashion, she is also the lead principal investigator on a Third Frontier Research Incentive grant.

She is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on digital flatbed knitting technology and its application in fashion and beyond. Through her research in this technology, she has established herself as a globally renowned digital knitting expert.

Ohrn-McDaniel’s expertise in digital knitting has had instrumental efforts to grow the industry in the U.S. with significant implications for job creation and economic development. These efforts exemplify her meaningful research that has tangible impacts on Ohio, the U.S. and the world.  


Sara Bayramzadeh
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Sara Bayramzadeh, The Elliot Professor in Healthcare Design, Kent Campus, College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Sara Bayramzadeh, Ph.D., is The Elliot Professor in Healthcare Design in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Since joining Kent State in 2018, she has distinguished herself through cross-disciplinary research, industry outreach and engagement. 

Bayramzadeh helped coordinate the Master of Healthcare Design program and course development. She reconceived the program and broadened its scope in relation to research and design by revising the curriculum. 

Bayramzadeh has won many awards, including being named to the national 2021 U40 (Under 40) List by the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) and earning a Best Educator Award in 2022 by Healthcare Design magazine. Through Bayramzadeh’s expertise, her students have been able to learn from her and go on to win national awards, showing Bayramzadeh’s influence both on the healthcare industry and on her students. 

Bayramzadeh received a $2.4 million grant to examine and improve trauma care through trauma room design. It was through her initiative that the project was conceptualized for this grant and that the right partners were brought in, including Cleveland Clinic. 

Dmitry Ryabogin
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Dmitry Ryabogin, Professor, Kent Campus, Department of Mathematical Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

Dmitry Ryabogin, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences within the College of Arts and Sciences. He joined Kent State in 2007 as an associate professor and earned the rank of professor in 2014. 

During his time at Kent State, Ryabogin has published many articles and has received several grants. Ryabogin’s primary research interests are harmonic analysis as well as integral and convex geometry.

Ryabogin is well known around the world for his work on solving Ulam’s Problem 19 from the famous Scottish Book, considered one of the highest achievements in the field of mathematics. The Scottish Book is a notebook that was used by distinguished mathematicians of the Lwów School of Mathematics in Poland and included 193 problems that they were unable to solve. 

Solving Ulam’s Problem 19 has earned Ryabogin worldwide recognition and invitations to be a guest speaker at events. This recognition of Ryabogin’s work has allowed Kent State’s Department of Mathematical Sciences to receive significant attention from the math community at large.   

Jay Dorfman
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Jay Dorfman, Professor, Kent Campus, Glauser School of Music, College of the Arts

Jay Dorfman, Ph.D., is a professor and coordinator of music education in the Glauser School of Music within the College of the Arts. During his time at Kent State, Dorfman published two editions of “Theory and Practice of Technology-Based Music Instruction.” This publication has been cited more than 100 times by music education scholars around the world. 

In addition, Dorfman has co-edited another textbook, written significant book contributions and blind peer-reviewed journal articles, and has given nearly 20 research or practitioner-focus presentations at national and international music education conferences. All these accomplishments have established Dorfman as a significant scholar with a national and international impact. 

Dorfman serves on the editorial committees for the Journal of Research on Technology in Education and the Journal of Popular Music Education. Dorman is also the communications chair on the Executive Committee of the Society for Music Teacher Education. 

At Kent State, Dorfman has continuously revised the degrees in the music education division and has worked to remove unnecessary barriers to graduation. He has also developed a new course, Progressive and Vernacular Music Methods, to encourage critical thinking about issues of equity and inclusion. This course showcases Dorfman’s expertise and allows students to learn from it to then go on and be successful in their careers. 

David Kaplan
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David Kaplan, Professor, Kent Campus, Department of Geography, College of Arts and Sciences 

David Kaplan, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences. Kaplan has been at Kent State since 1995. 

Kaplan has written one of the seminal textbooks in urban geography as well as 13 additional books and dozens of research papers, making him well known and well respected in the geography community. During his time at Kent State, Kaplan has served as the primary advisor to nearly 60 graduate students. Many of the graduate students he advised have gone on to become tenured professors at other universities.

From 2019-2020, Kaplan served as president of the American Association of Geographers, the primary organization for geography that has more than 10,000 members. In his time as president, Kaplan had to navigate how to support the community during COVID-19. He established the COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force to minimize the pandemic’s impact on the geography community and hosted the annual meeting virtually. 

Kaplan’s most recent achievement was being named an American Association of Geographers Fellow in 2023. 

D. Blake Stringer
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D. Blake Stringer, Associate Professor, Kent Campus, College of Aeronautics and Engineering 

D. Blake Stringer, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the College of Aeronautics and Engineering. Stringer is both an educator and researcher whose work has led to national and international recognition. 

Stringer has received multiple grants for his research, leading to record-breaking advances in electric propulsion for Advanced Air Mobility. He has also contributed extensively to professional, state and federal organizations, which has generated recognition for himself and Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering. 

Stringer came to Kent State in 2013, and during his first year, he spearheaded the development of the entire undergraduate aerospace engineering program and curriculum while also launching his research program in the college. Because of Stringer’s dedication to the development of the program, the Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering was officially launched in fall 2016 and has now been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the premier accreditation body for engineering and engineering technology programs. 

Stringer was a driving force behind the groundwork for the new master’s and doctoral programs in aerospace engineering, which are the first master’s and doctoral programs in engineering at Kent State. Stringer also contributed to the creation of the Master of Engineering Technology program, which was a reconfiguration and renaming of the college’s existing Master of Technology program.