Bates professor receives Celebration of Excellence award

Kathryn Graff Low, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Bates College, has been selected as a finalist for the first Pizzagalli Construction Company Celebration of Excellence Award. As one of three finalists, Low will receive $1,000 to be presented at a luncheon at noon Thursday, April 20, in the Hanover Inn at Dartmouth College. Nominations for the award were submitted from seven colleges in the Northeast, including Bates College, The University of Vermont, Bowdoin College, the Culinary Institute of America, Dartmouth College, Marist College and Champlain College. The finalists included Graff Low; Fritz Sonnenschmidt, culinary dean of the Culinary Institute of America; and the award recipient, Mary K. Hudson, professor of physics at Dartmouth College.

The awards were created by the Vermont-based Pizzagalli company, one of the country’s largest privately held general contractors, to support and encourage college faculty members who have demonstrated a commitment to be the very best at their chosen endeavors, whether in pursuit of their academic careers or a personal goal.

In announcing her prize, Angelo Pizzagalli, co-chairman of the company, informed Graff Low: “It is very clear from the information submitted with your nomination that your peers at Bates College hold you in very high regard. Perhaps, as we go through life and its challenges, knowing we have the respect and admiration of our colleagues is the very best reward of all.”

In nominating Graff Low for the award, her colleague John Kelsey, professor of psychology and chair of neuroscience at Bates, wrote: “Kathy is a charismatic teacher, a successful researcher and research mentor, and she is a brilliant, insightful and caring colleague.”

Graff Low’s research interests include clinical health psychology, women’s health, psychotherapy and cardiovascular disease. Over the last several years, she has received an American Heart Foundation grant to continue her dissertation research on the personality correlates of cardiovascular disease in women. She also has received a Howard Hughes Institute grant for studying cardiovascular reactivity, hostility and personality variables in women, and a Mellon Foundation grant to study women participants in health and psychological research. Graff Low has published in several areas of women’s health, including gestational nausea and heart disease.

A sought-after teacher and mentor, Graff Low has co-authored 12 papers with her Bates students, encouraging their attempts to develop and publish their own research. She initiated paper and poster sessions for Bates psychology seniors, held twice annually, and founded the department’s journal of student research.

Graff has been an important leader in the Bates community, where for several years, she served as chair of the student conduct committee. Her able service in that role led to the formation of a new position, “judicial educator,” which she now fills. Graff Low also is president of the New England Psychological Association that will hold its next annual convention at Bates College.

A graduate of Bowdoin College, Graff Low earned her Ed.M. in counseling from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in counseling and health psychology from Stanford University.

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