A faculty mentor who's twice as sweet

School of Journalism's Bob Felten honored not once, but twice, by Senior Scholars

12/12/2012 - By: John Trent

Felten TeachingDonald W. Reynolds School of Journalism Senior Scholar honoree Tiffany Moore knows a good story when she sees one. 

Perhaps even more importantly, Moore knows the trenchant detail when she spots it.

In describing her faculty mentor Bob Felten, Moore -- who was one of eight students honored by the University of Nevada, Reno Alumni Association as Senior Scholars on Dec. 6 in a ceremony held in the Joe Crowley Student Union - wrote that, "as I reflect on my college years, Bob Felten rises a candy-bowl above - if anything, because he instilled in me the determination to avoid his red pen."

Each semester, the University and the Alumni Association honor an undergraduate student from each school or college who meets the exceptional Senior Scholar program standards. The Senior Scholar then selects the faculty mentor who played the most significant role in his/her scholastic achievement.

As formidable as Felten's red editing pen can be, it's also the first part of Moore's statement that rings true.

Felten, who has earned a reputation as one of the campus' finest instructors, is known for his love and use of sweets (chocolate in particular) in the classroom.

Felten, a former newspaperman and advertising and public relations professional, shares sweets with his students from an ever-present candy bowl with the same élan he uses when preaching the tenets of clear writing.

The candy might be eaten quickly. But Felten's writing and journalistic lessons often remain, forming a firm professional bedrock for many of his students.

Moore is just one example. There are many others. So many others, in fact, that during the Dec. 6 ceremony, Felten was also chosen by Audrey Hill, the College of Business' top graduate, as her faculty mentor as well.

It is one of the few times in the history of the award where a professor has been chosen as a faculty mentor by graduating students from two different colleges.

Hill said Felten, through the constant stressing of good writing, helped find her voice.

"My mentor, Bob Felten," Hill said, "taught me to write a story, my story."

For Moore, Felten's influence proved direction-changing. Moore said she only took one course from Felten. It was more than enough, however, to convince Moore that a degree in journalism would be the perfect complement to also having a degree in English.

Felten first helped Moore answer the question, "... if journalism was the right course, if I was really capable of what came with the title of 'Journalist.'"

Wrote Moore: "He challenged me to dig deeper to find the element of interest and to answer, 'Why does this information need to be shared?' And I wanted to prove to him that I could dig deeper and answer the question. During my challenge of defeating that red ink, I discovered my passion for writing to help people, encourage people, and share about people's successes. I also discovered that proving my abilities to him was truly a process of proving my abilities to myself with his guidance and encouragement."

The Senior Scholar mentor awards aren't the first in Felten's long and distinguished career at the University.

A 1971 University graduate, Felten has taught in the Reynolds School since 2000. For many years, Felten's played a central role in advising the University's nationally powerful student integrated marketing communications team. Just last August, Felten was chosen by the readers of the Reno News & Review as the area's Best College Instructor.

In March 2011, Felten was roasted by a panel of RSJ faculty and students, who, among other things, teased Felten about his love of chocolate.

At the time, the always quick-with-a-quip and perpetually smiling Felten said, "I am humbled by the outpouring of ... whatever was outpouring."

If last week's Senior Scholar gathering was any indication, Felten's personal cup of good fortune not only was pouring over with accolades from people he had profoundly influenced ... his candy bowl was getting its share of deserved recognition as well.

Here is a look at December 2012's Senior Scholar honorees:

College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources

Senior Scholar: Jade Keehn

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Chris Feldman

Keehn comment: "College is hard, mostly because learning is not a result of in-the-classroom-osmosis, but rather an active, hard process requiring ironclad willpower. And it doesn't stop outside of the classroom. College is just as much about learning history, culture, and science as it is about learning your boundaries and finding creative ways to stretch them."

College of Business

Senior Scholar: Audrey Hill

Faculty Mentor: Mr. Robert Felten

Hill comment: "In fall 2008 I began my journey of fulfilling this dream (of one day working in Major League Baseball). Since then, (the University) has surpassed my expectations. ... My family taught me to field as many opportunities as possible and swing for the fences."

College of Education

Senior Scholar: Danielle Schwiesow

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. John Cannon

Schwiesow comment: "Teaching has always been a part of my life and I am motivated to become an educator that touches lives. The decision to devote myself to the study of education was never a question. The process of learning how to teach has provided me the opportunity to guide students in finding their own creative ability."

College of Engineering

Senior Scholar: Melinda Havenstrite

Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Sanders

Havenstrite comment: "Choosing to go to college at the University of Nevada, Reno was not a difficult decision for me. I grew up in Reno and both my parents attended and graduated from the University as well as one of my sisters. Over 25 of my relatives have attended the University of Nevada, Reno and I am proud to have continued that tradition."

College of Liberal Arts

Senior Scholar: Kristen Renda

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Erin Stiles

Renda comment: "I am extremely grateful to all of the faculty and staff of the Anthropology Department in helping me develop my interests in kinship studies, linguistics and political studies, among others. I am especially indebted to Dr. Stiles, who encouraged me to explore my passion for religion. After one of her courses, despite having only one semester left, I decided to pursue a second minor in religious studies."

Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism

Senior Scholar: Tiffany Moore

Faculty Mentor: Mr. Robert Felten

Moore comment: "This semester, with heavy heart, I finish my internship of one-and-a-half years at University Media Relations -an internship for which I again have Professor Felten to thank, as he came to me and said, 'I think you will do well here' before submitting his recommendation."

College of Science

Senior Scholar: Shane McGuire

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Hollander

McGuire comment: "While attempting to figure out college, I decided to explore where my talents might lie. Declaring 'undeclared' as my major, I threw myself into the world of extracurricular sports and joined flag football. As I am a quick study, I learned this was not my forte. I then tried dodgeball with much better results. My team received the prestigious title of intramural dodgeball champions."

Division of Health Sciences

Senior Scholar: Ikketsu Hayashi

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Devereux

Hayashi comment: "My academic journey at the University of Nevada, Reno started in summer 2010. I was both excited and nervous about this new adventure in my life. But once I settled into life here in Reno, I knew I was on the right path. The classes and professors in the School of Community Health Sciences proved to be both challenging and enlightening."


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