The 2017 Barringer Award winners are:
Dr. Laura Longo, Middletown, began her Brookdale career as the associate director of institutional research in 1994. She became director in 2001. Thrice a Scarlet Knight, Laura earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and master’s and doctoral degrees in social psychology from Rutgers University. She completed postdoctoral work at Princeton University and the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research before coming to Brookdale.
While at Brookdale, Laura has been an active member of Governance, serving on Academic Council, Academic Standards, Institutional Planning & Effectiveness, Foundational Studies and Steering. She has twice served on Middle States Core and Steering Committees, and chairs the Institutional Review Board.
Laura has participated in many sector level advisory committees, including performance funding and excellence & accountability reporting. She coordinated the community college sector’s efforts to collect data for the Vocational Education Data System (VEDS) and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reporting requirements and has served as Secretary / Treasurer and President of the New Jersey Community College Institutional Research & Planning Affinity Group. Her work on behalf of New Jersey’s community colleges was recognized with a Community College Spirit Award in 2002.
Laura is also a grateful recipient of the Outstanding Administrator Award (2006, 2015), the Administrative and Exempt Staff Recognition Award (1998, 2000), and the Outstanding Contributor Award – Basic Skills Committee (2008).
Outside of Brookdale, Laura enjoys (good) musical theater, (bad) TV detective shows, and all things feline.
In January 1999, Debbie Mura was working as a copy editor and writing coach for the Asbury Park Press and raising two small children, ages 2 and 4, but something was missing. She can distinctly remember telling her husband one night that she wasn’t making enough of a difference in the world. The next day the telephone rang, and she was asked to come in and interview for a position as an adjunct English instructor at Brookdale Community College. It’s clear that was not a coincidence.
In 2003 after more than 20 years as a professional journalist, Debbie went from being a part-time instructor and full-time writing coach to working as a full-time English instructor and part-time journalist. In 2008, journalism was moved from the English Department to the Communication Media Department, where Debbie continues to serve as an associate professor.
With a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Peter’s College and a master’s degree in theater from Long Island University, Debbie can be found most days working with the student journalists who publish The Stall student newspaper.
She has dedicated her professional life to awakening students to their own voice and power to change the world. She is a member of the Global Citizenship Project, faculty liaison to the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education, and a founding member of TIN (The Innovation Network), which uses project-based learning to link classroom learning to nonprofit community agencies.
Debbie currently serves on the Governance Steering Committee and is proud of the group’s decision to include a diversity presentation at every college Forum.
A Toms River resident, Debbie directs and produces her church’s musical with as many as 60 youngsters every spring.
Shahin Pirzad began his Brookdale career as an instructor in September 1993. He advanced through the ranks of assistant and associate professor and was finally promoted to full professor in 2007. Shahin earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Purdue University, his master’s degree in chemistry from Illinois State University, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.
At Brookdale, Shahin has taught a wide variety of chemistry courses, including Environmental Chemistry, Introduction to Chemistry, General Chemistry and, his favorite, Organic Chemistry. Throughout his career he has earned a Brookdale Gold Star Award, an Outstanding Colleague Award, and Phi Theta Kappa’s Paragon and Robert Giles Awards, in recognition of his exemplary service as a club advisor.
Shahin has been the advisor for Alpha Pi Theta – Brookdale’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter – for the past 19 years. In each of the last two years, an Alpha Pi Theta student was named the top achieving community college student in New Jersey in the All-USA Academic Team competition.
Shahin is also current and former chair of the Brookdale Chemistry Department chair, a position he has held for a total of 11 years throughout his career.
Outside of Brookdale Shahin is an accomplished landscaper and gardener, with friends often telling him that that he missed his calling by becoming a chemist instead of a landscaper. A Toms River resident, Shahin is also a passionate fan of Latin dancing, which he has been practicing for more than 10 years.
Pictured (l-r): Debbie Mura, Shahin Pirzad and Lauro Long accept their Barringer Awards on May 5.