19th Annual Academy of The University of Primorska
March 17 is the birthday of the University of Primorska, as it was entered in the court register on that day in 2003 - this year University of Primorska turned 19, which was celebrated at the Ceremonial Academy in the Hall of St. Francis on Thursday, March 17, 2022 , where awards and prizes of the University of Primorska were presented.
In her speech, Klavdija Kutnar, PhD, Rector, highlighted the key achievements of the last year. Katja Kosem, Vice President of the UP Student Council presented the wishes of students during the Covid-19 epidemic. The keynote speaker was Mag. Robert Ljoljo, President of the Management Board of Lek d. d., who stressed the importance of cooperation, and emphasised the fact that they find that mixed research teams are the most successful, as they bring different views and improve work. They have already worked with a joint project with UP Famnit, which allowed mutual exchange of knowledge.
The Rector, together with the Vice-Rector and the Deans and Deans, presented the awards of the University of Primorska:
Assist. Prof. Mojca Marija Terčelj
Nominated by UP FHŠ, the Golden Plaque of the University of Primorska is awarded to Mojca Marija Terčelj for her immense contribution to strengthening the reputation and visibility of the UP.
In Slovenia, from a scientific and research point of view, Dr. Mojca Marija Terčelj is considered the leading expert on the indigenous cultures of Latin America. The brilliance of her decades-long research work was shown primarily in 2021, with the culmination of her targeted research project on the overlooked Slovenian anthropologist Dr. Branislava Sušnik, one of the most important researchers of the ethnolinguistic and anthropological aspects of Paraguay's indigenous cultures. The project was created on the 100th anniversary of Dr. Sušnik’s birth. Dr. Terčelj was the project’s main driving force with her research work, funded by the Slovenian Research Agency and the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad. A number of important national and professional institutions participated actively with project implementation, the organization of thematic exhibitions in the Slovene Ethnographic Museum under the main auspices of the Slovenian President Borut Pahor, numerous international conferences and other events. A wide range of participating institutions, intensive international scientific cooperation, mass media coverage and lively discussions on social networks in research, professional and diplomatic environments show that the project far exceeded the set goals and had a great impact on the general and professional public in Slovenia and Latin America
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jasna Prezelj
Nominated by UP FAMNIT and UP IAM, the Golden Plaque of the University of Primorska is awarded to Jasna Prezelj for her contribution to the development of the UP and for her important role in the successful realization of the 8th European Congress of Mathematics, which strengthened the reputation and visibility of UP in both the global university network and the wider Slovenian society.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jasna Prezelj is a higher education teacher in the field of mathematics who received her Doctorate in 2000 from the University of Ljubljana and is the leading expert of her generation in the field of complex analysis. She has been employed at UP since 2014. In addition to scientific research and pedagogical work, she also promotes the popularization of science and the visibility of the UP. She is the founder of the Mathematical Advent Calendar, which UP FAMNIT has created annually from 2015 onwards. As an extremely active member of the organizing committee of the 8th European Congress of Mathematics (taking care of sponsorship and donor funds, organization of the contests, organization of the section in the field of algebraic and complex geometry and of satellite conferences for representatives of Slovenian insurance companies and actuarial associations), she contributed to its successful implementation in 2021.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martina Blečić Kavur
Nominated by UP FHŠ, the University Award for Scientific Excellence of the University of Primorska for 2021 is awarded to Martina Blečić Kavur for the publication of research results in the journal Nature.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martina Blečić Kavur focuses on the archaeology of South-Eastern Europe and the eastern and central Mediterranean in her research. Thus, she mainly discusses archaeological heritage from the region and systematically publishes results, presents her innovations at conferences and organizes exhibitions on the subject of her results. As an expert on the Bronze Age of South-Eastern Europe, she participates in a consortium led by the University of York, the University of Vienna and Harvard University, which studies the ancient DNA of Europe's Bronze Age populations. The first results of the dissection of what is to date the largest analysis of ancient DNA in Europe were published in the journal Nature in December 2021; they showed that the largest migration of prehistoric populations from Europe to the region of the British Isles occurred in the late Bronze Age and not at the end of the older Iron Age, as previously assumed.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Katja Hrobat Virloget
Nominated by UP FHŠ, Katja Hrobat Virloget receives the University Award for Scientific Excellence of the University of Primorska for 2021 for the scientific monograph Silence in Memories of the “Istrian Exodus”, which represents a breakthrough in anthropological science and a remarkable milestone for Slovenian and Istrian society.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Katja Hrobat Virloget Is one of the most prominent Slovenian anthropologists and ethnologists. She made her mark in science with her breakthrough and high-profile research on mythology and memory. In 2021, she and Ph.D. Giulia Beltrametti acquired the Marie Curie Action project at UP, and achieved remarkable success and recognition by collaborating on the implementation of the "Mythical Park" in Rodik, Slovenia. In 2021, she published her extensive monograph Silence in Memories: "Istrian Exodus", which is the result of a 10-year study on life in three coastal cities in the post-war period and on the voluntary migration from the area after 1945, for which she received the Murko Special Recognition Award from the Slovene Ethnological Society.
This original scientific work, first published in the Slovenian language, on this scale and in depth, represents, from a micro perspective through the testimonies of a wide variety of individuals, the multilateralism of views on migration in Istria after World War II. In this monograph, she pays particular attention to the issues of silence and censorship in memory studies, which have so far been highlighted mainly in French anthropological circles and completely neglected in Slovene anthropology. With her research of the unspoken, she raises new areas of interdisciplinary cooperation, this time between anthropology, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. The research also received exceptional public recognition, proven with numerous public presentations and reviews of the monograph.
Prof. Dr. Elena Bužan
Nominated by UP FAMNIT and UP IAM, the University Award for Scientific Excellence of the University of Primorska for 2021 is awarded to Elena Bužan for the publication of 10 original scientific articles in the Web of Science in 2021.
Prof. Dr. Elena Bužan received her Doctorate from the University of Ljubljana in 2007, and has been employed at UP FAMNIT since its establishment. Her research area includes a number of intertwined sciences, such as molecular ecology, biochemistry, conservation biology, conservation and the genetics of population and immunology. A special emphasis of her research is on the use of molecular biology techniques in basic and applied research in the fields of evolution, biogeography and conservation of natural heritage.
Her bibliography consists of 53 original scientific articles (10 of which were published in 2021) in the Web of Science database and includes 523 in-text citations. Among other things she is successful at obtaining international projects. She is the project manager of Horizon "STEP CHANGE: Science Transformation in EuroPe through Citizens involvement in HeAlth, coNservation and enerGy rEsearch", and has participated in the successful implementation of three more Horizon projects and in a number of other research projects.
The nominee is also a national coordinator of the European Reference Genome Atlas initiative and a member of the editorial board of the international scientific journal Ornitologia Neotropical.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tina Štemberger
Nominated by UP PEF, the University Award for Scientific Excellence of the University of Primorska in 2021 is awarded to Tina Štemberger for outstanding achievements in education with a focus on the development of pedagogical methodology.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tina Štemberger focuses on the development of pedagogical methodology, especially in key segments of data collection and processing. In her research, she addresses key Transversal competences (i.e. soft skills) that are indispensable in these rapid and unpredictable times, such as digital, entrepreneurial and linguistic competences. Those skills are crucial for optimal development of individuals and society and for ensuring equal opportunities and possibilities for lifelong education. Dr. Tina Štemberger demonstrates a rich research oeuvre. In the last five years, she published 20 original scientific articles and 3 transparent scientific articles. Most of them are published in journals indexed by the SCOPUS database. She is also the co-author of 4 scientific monographs at reputable publishing houses. According to reviewers, her monograph, which extends into the field of pedagogical methodology, represents a fundamental transparent work in this field. In 2017 she acquired and later led the project "Innovative and flexible forms of teaching and learning in pedagogical study programmes (ESF, 2017-2018)" and in 2021 obtained the following project: "Enrolment in early childhood education: a factor ensuring equal opportunities in the development of an individual and society, and lifelong learning” (SICRIS J5-3099). In 2020 she was the recipient of the Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Education Research, awarded by the Educational Research Institute in cooperation with the Slovenian Educational Research Association.
Assoc. Prof. Mateja Jerman
Nominated by UP FM, Mateja Jerman receives the Award for Pedagogical Excellence of the UP for the academic year 2020/21.
Mateja Jerman, who received her Doctorate in Business Studies in 2013, was employed at UP FM in 2007 and, since then, has been a member of the Chair of Accounting and Audit. As a lecturer, she participates in the implementation of several subjects in undergraduate and postgraduate studies. She has published numerous scientific articles in Slovenian and international scientific journals as well as independent scientific chapters in monographs. She is the co-author of a scientific monograph and two higher education textbooks. She regularly attends international scientific conferences, international exchanges and expert seminars. In 2013, she was given the professional title of Certified Accountant. She has participated in numerous ARRS research projects, marketing projects and the international IPA project. She is a member of the programme group of the research programme "Management of Education and Employment in the Company of Knowledge". In 2009 and 2013 she received the UP FM award for her achievements in the field of education. She has been a mentor for four final assignments, one of which was awarded the "Srečko Kosovel" award for students of the University of Primorska. Since 2009, she has also been a tutor to students with special needs.
Asst. Prof. Barbara Kopačin
Nominated by UP PEF, Barbara Kopačin receives the Award for Pedagogical Excellence for the academic year 2020/21.
Barbara Kopačin has been employed at UP PEF since 2005 in the field of music didactics. She is a lecturer of numerous higher education subjects in this department and plays an important role in co-shaping experts to educate teachers in the field of music. She is currently a member of the Commission for Student Affairs of UP PEF Senate. She executes her job with great commitment and awareness to the importance of the right decisions for the development of the faculty and university in general and, more importantly, for the well-being of students in both study and leisure areas. With the experience she has gained on her life and career path, she is able to advise her colleagues on how to nurture new generations of teachers and how to work constructively and productively with students. Her work is not only focused on developing the ability to teach and on modern models of learning musical art, thus enriching the Slovenian educational space, but also on standing as a strong advocate for students, both working and collaborating with them.
Nominated by UP FM, Tina Šušteršič receives the »Srečko Kosovel« award for students of the University of Primorska for her bachelor dissertation.
Tina Šušteršič, under the mentorship of Dr. Mateja Jerman, wrote a thesis titled "The impact of marital changes on the minimum wage and the labour cost". The aim of the dissertation was to present, in the theoretical part, the legal starting points of the minimum wage and its taxation and to examine the most important legislative changes in this area in the period 2019-2020, and in practical work to demonstrate the effects of the amended legislation during that period for workers, minimum wage recipients and employers. The results of the calculations showed that the statutory changes under consideration in 2019-2020 did not have a wholly positive impact on the net income of minimum wage recipients, as this would have been higher had the income tax bill been not drafted. The change in the way in which the amount of the general allowance was calculated had a negative impact on the net income of the minimum wage recipients. The findings of the thesis show that, in the present case, the effects of the amendment were contrary to the amendment’s main objective. The thesis presents reasoned, justified and valid conclusions based on the results of the calculations obtained. The work is reasonably structured and represents a logical whole, written in a systematic way and with appropriately applied professional terminology. She showed a great deal of critical thinking, the ability to analyse and synthesis of insights. The selected topic is topical and her treatment is original. The results of the dissertation represent a professional contribution in the field of taxation of employment income.
Nominated by UP FAMNIT, the »Srečko Kosovel« award for students is awarded to Besfort Shala.
Besfort Shala, under the mentorship of Assoc. Prof. Russ Woodroofe, wrote the final project paper titled “The Probabilistic Zeta Function of a Finite Lattice”. In the work, Besfort examines a definition of Ken Brown's 2000 article. The little-studied definition of this article generalizes the Dirichlet series, obtained from (the coset lattice of) a group, to a similar series obtained from any lattice. The original purpose of the task was for the student to try to calculate what happens to this series on simple cases, such as a partition lattice. The student was quick to notice that the partition lattice does not usually give ordinary Dirichlet series because rational numbers appear in the base. As a result, he continued to demonstrate a more cautious version of this as well as similar results for other types of lattices. A student research project is successful when a student tells a mentor something they do not already know. According to the mentor, this happened early and several times in this project. In fact, the student was quite independent, as several ideas for definitions came mostly alone. The result of the project is a well-written dissertation, which is almost a publication-worthy article.
Nominated by UP FVZ, the “Srečko Kosovel” award for students of University of Primorska is received by Ana Raner for her master thesis.
Ana Raner has completed a master's thesis entitled "Effects of the High-Fat High-Sucrose Diet and Fish Oil Supplementation on Oxidative Modifications of Proteins and Phosphatidylcholines in the Rat Brain" under the mentorship of Doc. Dr. Ana Petelin and co-advisor Dr. Lucie Mendez Lopez, studying the effects of the so-called "Western diet" and the impact of obesity on indicators of oxidative stress in the brain of rats, and the effectiveness of adding fish oil to these indicators. The growing trend of long-term western diet use leads to obesity and various obesity-related chronic conditions. The results of her work represent the potential for the discovery of mechanisms and pathophysiological pathways of harmful changes in the brain associated with long-term consumption of the Western diet, while at the same time suggesting the protective role of fish oil against oxidative damage. A breakthrough in this area could help develop effective personalized dietary strategies aimed at preventing oxidative brain damage, including the use of nutritional bioactive agents. The student has produced a thematically demanding and original English-language assignment that goes beyond the frameworks of the student master's thesis.
Nominated by UP PEF, the »Srečko Kosovel« award for students of University of Primorska is awarded to Veronika Valič.
Veronika Valič's work intertwines the fields of didactics of sport and didactics of natural science and thus makes an important contribution to the use and understanding of interdisciplinary integration. The purpose of the thesis titled "Interdisciplinary integration of natural science and sport", under the mentorship of Dr. Tadeja Volmut and Dr. Nataše Dolenc Orbanić, was to increase the physical activity (PA) of students through the interdisciplinary integration of natural science and physical education and to reduce physical inactivity in the classroom, while examining the impact of interdisciplinary integration on natural science knowledge of the vascular system. The master thesis represents a well-planned and correct empirical research work that complies with the standards of scientific study. In this study, the candidate opened up a view of the possibilities of interdisciplinary integration of natural sciences and sport, as there is very little such research, both at home and abroad. The work is expected to have a direct impact on the planning of the educational process, thus spurring the introduction of a new conceptual and organizational system that provides quality and adapted education to every pupil, both in the field of sport and in natural sciences.
Nominated by UP FHŠ. the Srečko Kosovel award for students of University of Primorska is given to Aleksandar Jašarević for his doctoral thesis.
Dr. Aleksandar Jašarević successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled "Status and mobility of women in the context of the interpretation of the Iron Age elites of northern Bosnia" under the mentorship of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Boris Kavur and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martine Blečić Kavur. The dissertation primarily refers to the scientific field of archaeology, i.e. prehistoric archaeology and cultural anthropology. In many respects, it exceeds the level of study requirements and at the same time reflects the candidate’s remarkable achievement in the research field of early prehistory. The scientific and innovative contribution to the profession is not only an extremely important and thoroughly researched regional perspective of the contextual view of women's graves of the wider northern Bosnia and South Pannonia regions, but it also defines a number of multidisciplinary hypotheses about female burial attire as a status identifier of prehistoric social elites. His analyses represent a modern and extremely important contribution to the treatment of archaeological findings and to the understanding of the concept of the early Iron Age of the entire territory of the Western and Central Balkans, as this is the first comprehensive study of its kind. The dissertation also represents a ground-breaking contribution to the use of contemporary theories in prehistoric archaeology analysis in the field of South-Eastern Europe.
Group of postgraduate students of UP FHŠ
Nominated by UP FHŠ, Recognition of the University of Primorska for students of the University of Primorska is given to a group of the following postgraduate students of UP FHŠ: Ana Cikač, Maja Apat, Rok Novak, Milica Golijanin, Marija Božić and Polona Žigo.
In the academic year 2020/2021 a group of students, under the mentorship of Asst. Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Schuller, carried out an art-based study titled “HODI.BODI” as part of their study subject Performance and Culture. It was a project in which an interactive online gallery of walk-in videos “HODI.BODI.” and the publication “KNJIGA HOJ” were created. The two artistically therapeutic projects are a continuation of the research and creative process in which members of the group reflect, with a modern research paradigm, on the subjective experiences of corona in 2020/21. They were interested in both their own experiences and with the experience of visitors on the interactive website, where the latter could view six authorial videos, s types of personal video stories (BLIŽINA (Polona Žigo), KROG (Rok Novak), MEJA (Ana Cikač), SPREMLJEVALCI (Maja Apat), ODHOD (Milica Golijanin) and TIŠINA (Marija Božić)). In these video stories authors seek answers to epidemic-related questions on, more or less, solitary walks, in nature and on the empty streets of their cities. They encourage visitors of the web page to share their own feelings, emotions, images and other impressions of the fateful year that brought so many changes into our lives, thus bringing about a simple joint search for at least temporary answers to fundamental questions of living. Visitors of the site were also able to access “KNJIGA HOJ”, which contains twelve walking suggestions and a creative reflection of the inner experience of the corona era; texts and drawings were contributed by all the members of the group. The creation of the publication, which, with the help of media, also achieved a great resonance between the general and professional public and is now used in their pedagogical/therapeutic work by numerous teachers and psychotherapists in Slovenia, is the independent work of Marija Božić. In April 2021, the printed version of “KNJIGA HOJ” was published with a circulation of 300 copies. With their research and creative work and their artistic and therapeutic effects, the group of postgraduate students has thus demonstrated outstanding (after)study achievement and made an important contribution to the visibility of UP as a modern higher education institution open to new research paradigms and artistic projects aimed at the well-being of the wider community at the local and national level.
Nominated by Student Council UP and UP FAMNIT, the Recognition of the University of Primorska for students of the University of Primorska is given to Amar Bapić.
Amar Bapić is a doctoral student of 3rd year Mathematical Sciences at UP FAMNIT. From 2018, he has been an active member of the UP FAMNIT Student Council and, from 2020, also its Vice-President. During this time, he actively participated in the organization of numerous events for students. He aims to equip students with as much useful information as possible, and at the same time he remains available to them for individual questions. He also manages the (graphic) creation of content by getting as close as possible to the students. Since 2019, he has been a representative of students on the UP Management Board. In the academic year 2020/21, he was the head of volunteers at the 8th European Congress of Mathematics, hosted by our university in Portorož in June 2021. In addition to his role as a volunteer coordinator, he helped with the creation of a large pool of promotional materials and in obtaining databases to facilitate analysis of information about congress participants. He was also part of the technical support group for the operation of the Zoom videoconferencing system at the location and online. At any given opportunity he also promotes the UP on the international level (visits to primary and secondary schools, universities, presentations). Among other things, he toured the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Tuzla this past year, presenting the benefits of volunteering at 8ECM and study programmes at UP, and presented a system of cooperation of foreign students with tutor students at Erasmus Days 2021 organized by UP. His role as a tutor at UP FAMNIT began in 2021.
Kristina Uršič Jakomin
Nominated by UP FVZ and upon a decision of KDD UP, Acknowledgment of the University of Primorska of 2021 is received by Kristina Uršič Jakomin.
Kristina Uršič Jakomin, who marks her 20th anniversary at the Faculty of Health Sciences, was initially employed in 2008 as an independent professional, and from 2021 has been the head of the Office for Quality and Educational Affairs. With a positive inner enthusiasm and a tendency to constantly improve, she built the field of quality and development of study programmes at the faculty. As the key link, the administrative core and the support for the development of study programmes at the Faculty of Health Sciences, she works closely with pedagogical colleagues. In addition to her regular work assignments in the field of study, in 2021 she participated intensively in the renovation of the system covering student opinions, in the inventory of work processes at the faculty, in in-depth analysis of the employability of graduates, and in the design and establishment of a quality system at the faculty and university - more specifically in completing the quality loop. What is worth highlighting, in particular, is her role as the driving force in the complete overhaul of the system covering student opinions at the University of Primorska (revamping the survey with a grip on quality standards, the creation of structured focus groups and the ongoing reconstruction of the evaluation of clinical and practical environments). Her indispensable contribution is reflected in the form of selfless contribution and effort in systematic research, collection, editing, data reporting, information design and analysis and monitoring of good practices abroad. She does all this with a smile and a hint of cunning and irony while performing regular administrative duties. Kristina is distinguished by the qualities precious in every collective. Her persistence drives and connects people intertwined in activities in her field of work. Always ready for novelty, she can plant a "seed" and nurture it until it sprouts. She is known for positivity, good will and determination: therefore she is an indispensable member of the collective and an important part of the faculty spirit. Due to her personality traits, tireless and constructive work and high levels of loyalty, both to the Faculty of Health Sciences and the University of Primorska, Kristina Uršič Jakomin deserves an acknowledgment from the University of Primorska for the year of 2021.
Kindly invited to watch a short video of the event: