The College of Education & Human Development held its annual awards ceremony after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. On April 6, 2023, more than 100 donors, faculty, staff, students and administrators gathered in the Joe Crowley Student Union ballrooms.
The celebration honored the outstanding accomplishments of the College's students, faculty and staff. It also recognized the generous donors who supported the students and the impactful work within the College.
Donald Easton-Brooks, dean of the College of Education & Human Development, opened the evening by thanking donors for supporting the students, faculty for producing cutting-edge research, and students for being the driving force behind the success of the College.
Eleni Oikonomidoy, associate dean of the College, said, "It is wonderful to return to an in-person event that recognizes the significant contributions of our donors and highlights the successes of our students, faculty and staff. Our deepest appreciation to our donors and our sincerest congratulations to all award winners."
Provost Jeff Thompson remarked that the College was fulfilling the mission of the University to have an impact beyond campus – in Nevada and the United States.
Quentin Owens Smith, director of development, also took time to thank the generous donors.
"Friends of the College can give back no matter if it's $5,000 or $5, if you work on campus, in the community or states away or whether you are 25 or 85. Every dollar counts when supporting student excellence within our College," Owens Smith, said.
Keynote speaker Mariluz Garcia, executive director of Dean's Future Scholars, gave an inspiring address touching on how the University positively impacted her personal and professional development and her passion for expanding DFS. She closed with a poignant story reminding the audience that the work done today encourages and shapes the next generation.
The highlight of the evening was when Associate Dean Oikonomidoy surprised the Dean's Future Scholars' team by awarding them the Excellence and Innovation Award in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Excellence.
"The Excellence and Innovation Award in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion recognizes initiatives that demonstrate commitment, advocacy, and innovation in DEI in the college," Oikonomidoy, said. "For the first time, this relatively-new award was given to a group of individuals who work tirelessly on initiatives that have a tremendous impact that extends beyond the College to the community and the state. It was my distinct honor to present this award to the Dean's Future Scholars!"
Student awards included:
Austin McKenzie: Dana Davis Award
The Dana Davis Award recognizes graduate students specializing in secondary education who exemplify the qualities of devotion to high academic standards, personal integrity and love for students. The award is in honor of Professor Dana Davis, who was a distinguished College of Education faculty member for 26 years.
Jodee Prudente: Mary Demchak Memorial Award for Doctoral Student Research in Intellectual Disabilities
The Mary Demchak Memorial Award for Doctoral Student Research in Intellectual Disabilities was established in honor of Mary Demchak by her daughter, MaryAnn Demchak, Professor of Special Education. Mary enjoyed spending time with her daughter's special education doctoral students. It brought her joy to listen to them discuss their research areas. She was inquisitive about each student's progress and was known to motivate them by asking, "What's next?" in hopes of getting them to expand their research. Through this award, Mary will be remembered for inspiring doctoral students to move their research forward.
Jodee Prudente: The Marshall R. Matley Distinguished Scholar in Special Education
This award recognizes individuals working toward a Master's Degree in Special Education and Disabilities Studies.
Ryan Smith: Edwin S. Dodson Educational Leadership Award
This award recognizes students who are principals, administrators or others working toward administration preparation.
Maria Royce: Dr. George Hill & Dr. Ginny Knowles Leadership Award
This award recognizes a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in educational leadership.
Jessi Gutheil: The John A. Bailey Professional Expectancy Award in Counseling
This award recognizes the outstanding graduate of the year in Counseling and Educational Psychology.
Natasha Reyes: Ross Family Outstanding Social Studies Education Award
This award was established to reward and encourage outstanding students to pursue a degree in the teaching of social studies and to bring attention to the importance of social studies as part of all students' education.
College of Education and Human Development student awards:
- Sara Vega, Outstanding Doctoral Student
- Cristina Lopez, Outstanding Master's Student
- Tania Garcia Varela, Outstanding Undergraduate Student
Professional awards included:
Lydia DeFlorio, Ph.D., associate professor of Human Development and Family Science: Judith S. Bible Teaching Excellence in Education Award
The first college graduate in her family, Judy Bible '65 (elementary education) was a passionate supporter of education throughout her life. Together with her husband, Paul Bible '62 (economics), she established the Judith S. Bible Teaching Excellence in Education Award to recognize outstanding faculty members in the College of Education and Human Development.
College of Education and Human Development faculty awards:
- Lindsay Diamond, Ph.D., Department Chair of Educator Preparation and associate professor of special education: Outstanding Graduate Advisor
- Dean's Future Scholars, Excellence in Innovation in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Lily Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor of quantitative methods & learning sciences: Outstanding Faculty Research
- Ruby Batz, Ph.D., assistant professor of special education, Outstanding Rising Researcher
- Diane Barone, Ph.D., Emeriti Faculty Legacy Award
- Kaci Fleetwood, MTSS state coordinator, Outstanding Administrative Faculty
- Jill Smith, administrative assistant, Clinical Experiences, Assessment and Career Services Outstanding Support Staff