Barbara Carle, left, and Sharon Furtak, right, with Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen on Sept. 5, 2019, were honored for their their leading work in education and research. (Sacramento State/Bruce Clarke)
By Dixie Reid
Two groundbreaking educators have been chosen to receive prestigious Sacramento State faculty awards for 2018-19, recognizing their important work done at different stages of their careers.
Honored Thursday, Sept. 5, were Barbara Carle, a professor of world languages and literatures, the Senior Faculty recipient of the University Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity; and Sharon Furtak, recognized under the same criteria for Early-Career Faculty.
The awards were announced by the Faculty Senate’s Research and Creative Activity Subcommittee and the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED).
Carle, who has taught at Sac State since 2003, and Furtak, at the University since 2012, were honored for achievements at a ceremony in the University Union's Cottonwood Suite during which they presented lectures relative to their work.
In Carle's lecture, “Creative Writing Between Languages,” she discussed the question of translation and the various forms and practices of literary translation. A poet, translator, and critic, Carle writes in both English and Italian. Her first major poetry collection, Don’t Waste My Beauty/ Non guastare la mia bellezza, won the National Frascati Prize in 2000.
Carle received her doctorate in Italian language and literature from Columbia University.
“It is quite an honor to be in the company of the few women who have won this award,” Carle said. “For the Department of World Languages & Literatures, often perceived as a service department where only beginning languages are taught, this is a positive highlight.
“This is not only recognition of many years of work but, more importantly, encouragement to continue with my various efforts,” she added.
The topic of Furtak’s lecture was “To Fear or Not to Fear: How Stimulus Complexity Drives the Biological Aspects of Negative Emotions.” Her work reflects personal experience.
She was raised by a single mother who suffered from mental illness. A desire to help her mom and others like her led Furtak to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience from Yale University.
Furtak has spent her academic career researching the biological routes of emotional learning. At Sac State, she engages students to explore topics in neuroscience, such as drug discovery and fear learning.
“The recognition of the award is not only an accolade to my dedication to research here at Sacramento State, but also a recognition of the hard work of numerous graduate and undergraduate students that helped propel my research goals forward during my time here,” Furtak said.
The University Awards program supports faculty research, scholarly, and creative activity, and encourages faculty to contribute to their disciplines. The program is funded in part through the California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office and Sacramento State’s Division of Academic Affairs.
Carle and Furtak each will receive a professional development grant of $2,500 and three units of release time from the University.
The senior faculty award was established in 1961. The award for early-career faculty (previously called the President’s Award) dates to 1989.