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October 17, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU graduate earns Penn State Shenango teaching award

Diane Kuharsky, a 1991 Slippery Rock University biology graduate, now an instructor in the biology department at Penn State Shenango, has been named recipient of the 2013 Leonard R. Riforgiato Memorial Teaching Award.

The campus award is given to a full-time faculty member who has been chosen through a series of steps that include nominations and recommendation from students and the nominee’s peers.

Kuharsky, who joined the Shenango faculty in 2011, teaches anatomy and physiology.

In letters of recommendation, her students wrote, “This faculty member is the ultimate teacher and cares about nothing more than making sure the students learn and understand what is being taught,” “The best teacher I ever had…,” and “Is a very talented professor and is also very knowledgeable in her field.”.

She earned her doctor of physical therapy degree from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Physical Therapy. She completed her clinical residency at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Pittsburgh and later served as a health care provider at St. John's Specialty Care Center in Mars, Pa., where she worked in the skilled nursing area. She has had extensive experience in orthopedic and neuromuscular rehabilitation, as well as with specialty wheelchair seating.

Kuharsky is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and is an American Heart Association Health Care Provider.

Riforgiato, for whom the award is named, was an associate professor in history and the first recipient of the Penn State Shenango Teaching Award. He taught at the Shenango campus for 26 years prior to his 1999 death.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.