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2016

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Matthew Campbell takes lead on MTE partnership

Matthew Campbell, an assistant professor of secondary mathematics education in WVU’s College of Education and Human Services (CEHS), was recently appointed as WVU’s representative in the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership (MTE-Partnership). Campbell succeeds a professor in the department of mathematics in this leadership role, and he is eager to bring his specialized focus on secondary mathematics teacher education to the table.

The MTE-Partnership is part of an initiative created by the APLU (Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities) dedicated to the preparation of secondary mathematics teachers in public and land-grant colleges and universities across the nation. The Partnership’s mission is to address the nation’s shortage of secondary mathematics teachers who are well-prepared to support all students toward new standards for mathematics learning. The MTE-Partnership is made up of 103 institutions of higher learning and K-12 school stakeholders across 31 states. Collectively, they have helped prepare 15% of the new secondary mathematics teachers in the U.S.

“Here at WVU, our group of faculty focused on mathematics teacher education has grown, so our capacity to be involved in efforts like MTE-Partnership has increased,” Campbell says. “Also, since the primary work of the MTE-Partnership is centered on research, development, and implementation in secondary mathematics teacher education programs, it is important for the College of Education and Human Services to be centrally involved.”

WVU’s involvement with the Partnership is in-line with its mission as a land-grant university, because it will contribute to better prepared teachers in West Virginia. It also places West Virginia University at the center of a national discussion about mathematics education preparation in universities across the country.

“As the flagship and land-grant institution in West Virginia, we have the responsibility to be leaders in the area of teacher education—not in terms of how many teachers we prepare, but in terms of how we contribute to our understanding of teacher education.”

Campbell will be attending the annual MTE-Partnership conference in Atlanta in June. As a leader, he plans to look for ways for WVU to continue to improve its support of prospective mathematics teachers while positioning itself in the national picture among peer institutions. He also wants to find ways to bring others from the University into the process— particularly faculty from the mathematics and mathematics education departments so that he can draw on their expertise and involve them in the national discourse.


Jasper N. Deahl Awards 2016

The Jasper N. Deahl Award is an alumni recognition program designed to honor College of Education and Human Services alumni for demonstrated leadership in their personal career, engagement in their community and/or loyalty to the state of West Virginia or WVU. The 2016 recipients are Harry Bostic, Joanie Davis, Candi Johnson, Ruth Lewis, Joy Myers, Laura VanHorn, Lonny Watro and Mary Beth Sickles (honorary recipient).

Harry (Hank) Bostic is a certified rehabilitation counselor, licensed social worker in WV, and certified community work incentives coordinator. Harry has been working professionally in the rehabilitation field since his graduation starting as a disability program navigator for West Virginia University Research Corporation in 2006, a community work incentives coordinator specialist for West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities in 2007, a rehabilitation counselor for West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services in 2008, rehabilitation program specialist for West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services in 2010, and in his current position as a community work incentives coordinator specialist/employment program specialist at Disability Network Southwest Michigan since 2013. Harry was awarded the President’s Call to Service Award from George W. Bush in 2004, a volunteer service award from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation for dedicating over 4,000 hours to volunteer services.

Dr. Joanie Davis is board certified in audiology and owns Davis Family Hearing, in Spring Hill, FL. She graduated with her doctorate degree in audiology from West Virginia University in 2008 and has been practicing audiology in Florida ever since. Dr. Davis has two rules: (1) No one leaves not hearing, and (2) No one leaves not smiling. She works closely with Tampa General Hospital for cochlear implant and bone anchored instrument surgeries, with several universities to train upcoming doctors, and she is on the board for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of Florida, Inc. She gives credit to the audiology department at WVU for providing her with the excellent knowledge base and professionalism that she needed to be able to do anything she wanted to when she graduated.

Candi Johnson holds a B.S. in family resources and education from West Virginia University (1979) and completed postgraduate work at Wheeling Jesuit University and George Washington University. Candi spent her career as a human resource consultant with over 30 years’ experience in media, civilian enterprise contacts, retail sales and the law and health care industries. Currently, she works part-time at the local library as a member of the management team and spends her free time doing volunteer genealogical work for lineage and historical societies, as well as fostering, transporting, and arranging home visits for small dog rescue, and fundraising for various organizations.

Ruth Lewis earned her undergraduate degree in 1955 in Elementary Classroom 1-9, her master’s degree in Elementary Education in 1956, and her Ed.D. in Reading and Higher Education in 1970, all from West Virginia University. She began her career teaching primary school in a non-graded, two-room school in Brandonville, West Virginia. She then went on to teach as a professor of education at West Liberty State College from 1960 to 1976, serving as chairperson of the Department of Education for four of those years. In 1976, Ruth joined Brooke County Public Schools as the Reading/Language Arts Supervisor, until her retirement from Brooke County in 1989. From 1989-1995, Ruth again taught at West Liberty State College, as an adjunct professor. Ruth has served as a past president for the West Virginia Reading Association, the Brooke County Association of Retired School Employees, the Friends of Brooke County Public Library (current), and as the clerk of Session at First Presbyterian Church, Wellsburg (18 years).

Joy Myers is a West Virginia native, and her “roots” home is still in the hills. Born in St. Albans on the banks of Coal River near its confluence with the Great Kanawha, she graduated from South Charleston High School, attended Marshall University for one year and received her B.S. in Education from West Virginia University in 1954. Joy began her teaching career as a substitute teacher in Fort Knox, KY, where her husband was stationed. She taught elementary school full-time in Columbus, OH, while  her husband attended medical school. The couple settled in Circleville, OH, where Joy raised her family while participating in numerous social, academic, and professional organizations in her community, her adopted state and nationally. Joy completed necessary postgraduate education and became a licensed social worker; she used those skills to serve as the prevention counselor for Pickaway County (Ohio) Schools for 10 years.

Laura VanHorn earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education in early childhood in 1988 and her master’s in education administration in 1992, both from West Virginia University. She began her teaching career in Monongalia County in 1988, first serving as a substitute teacher, before moving to Riverside Elementary where she taught for 10 years. For the past 18 years, Laura has been teaching kindergarten at North Elementary School in Morgantown, WV, and also serves as the school’s garden coordinator and WVU teacher education coordinator. Laura is also an adjunct professor in the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University. Laura became a National Board Certified teacher in 2007 and now serves as a mentor to current candidates and leads a WVU mentor group for pre-K teachers seeking literacy  certification. She is a 2014 Arch Coal Award winner.  

Lonny Watro received a four-year state senatorial scholarship to attend Frostburg State University, where she majored in mathematics and minored in computer science and physics. Following graduation, Lonny worked for an aerospace company in Silver Spring, M.D., which built flight simulators for the U.S. government and allies. She was the first female engineer to work in the tactical group in this company. Lonny married her husband, Richard Watro, 34 years ago, at which time she began working with  another aerospace company in Rocket Center, West Virginia. She advanced from a business COBOL programmer to a ballistics engineer, designing solid rocket motors. After approximately eight years, Lonny began her career in education, receiving a master’s degree and certification in technology education from West Virginia University in 2004. She first began working at the secondary level at the board of education, supporting teachers and the computers throughout the schools in Alleghany County, Maryland. She then taught middle school mathematics before moving into higher education.

Mary Beth Sickles earned her Bachelor of Science in journalism from West Virginia University in 1989. After college, Mary Beth went on to work as a marketing assistant and guest services coordinator and as a specialty leasing manager for Glimcher Realty Trust in Morgantown, West Virginia. Mary Beth then joined the West Virginia Public Theatre in Morgantown as the Managing Director. In 2010, Mary Beth joined the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University as the Alumni Relations and Special Events Coordinator. Over the past five years, Mary Beth has served as an arm between our college and its alumni. As one alumni stated, “It is truly because of your emails from CEHS to its alumni that I became interested again in the ‘goings on’ of the College.” It is because of Mary Beth’s hard work organizing events, coordinating alumni gatherings, managing our student ambassadors, and providing ongoing communications for our alumni, faculty, staff, and students that CEHS has continued to connect and involve its many constituents.

For more on Jasper N. Deahl Award past recipients and nomination information, please visit the  Jasper N. Deahl Award page


CEHS graduating senior wins 2016 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholarship Award

Jaida Lawrence

Jaida Lawrence, a member of the WVU Gymnastics Team and graduating senior from the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, won the 2016 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholarship Award for her outstanding achievements in academics, athletics and community service. She is the only gymnast in the country to be nominated for the award. Lawrence’s other awards include, Deans List, Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, and Garret Ford Academic Honor Roll.

“It is a great feeling to be represented for a black athletic award,” Jaida says, “and I am happy that I was able to give WVU some recognition!”

A native of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Jaida made her first visit to WVU as a sophomore in high school. She ultimately decided to attend the University when she was offered a full athletic scholarship to join the WVU Gymnastics team. Lawrence joined the Mountaineer gymnastics team in 2013 where she was the first Mountaineer named to the All-Big 12 Gymnastics Team for vault. During her freshman year she earned eight podium places on vault and scored below a 9.85 only twice. She was NACGC/W Scholastic All-American and part of the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team. Lawrence placed first on vault for the first time during her freshman year against NC State. After that she placed first on vault against Oklahoma, Denver, and George Washington.

Jaida has been a gymnast for as long as she can remember.

“My mom always thought I was hyper, flexible and strong as a child,” Jaida says. “As an eight-month old baby, my mother said that I was able to get out of my crib myself and crawl all the way into her bedroom. She was completely blown away because at eight months I was able to hold my own body weight and flip over my crib.”

Jaida was 2 years old when her mother put her in her first gymnastics class. Since that day, she has never stopped attending. Jaida has been a gymnast for about 20 years, which she remarks is 90 percent of her lifetime.

Jaida will graduate with a degree in speech pathology and audiology. After earning her bachelor’s, she plans to attend Southern Connecticut State University to pursue her master’s degree in communication disorders and become a licensed speech language pathologist.

“I love the idea of communication and being able to share feelings with other people,” Jaida says. “I chose speech language pathology because I want to be able to help people who have speech impediments get better or help these people find ways to most effectively communicate.”

Although juggling gymnastics and college has been difficult, Jaida has been able to adjust to her hectic lifestyle, and she now considers herself to have great discipline and time management skills. It’s no wonder, considering for the past four years she has managed to practice 20 hours a week with the team while maintaining a social life and a high GPA. Despite the extra work involved, Jaida says that being a student athlete has changed her life for the better.


Country Roads in ASL

Three students from the CEHS Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders created a YouTube video in which they perform "Country Roads" using American Sign Language (ASL).  


Order of Vandalia recognizes two of CEHS's most dedicated

Anne Nardi and Deborah Smyth Green awarded Order of Vandalia

Considered West Virginia University’s highest honor, the Order of Vandalia Award was conceived in 1960 by former WVU president Elvis J. Stahr. Since then, there have been more than 150 individuals inducted into the Order for their service to the University. Past honorees include such recognizable names as Robert C. Byrd, Mylan Puskar and Hazel Ruby McQuain.

Among this year’s four inductees, two called the College of Education and Human Services their home:  Anne Nardi and  Deborah Smyth Green. Both were honored at the Erickson Alumni Center for going above and beyond the call of duty to improve WVU.

Anne Nardi

Dr. Anne Nardi received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from WVU in 1971, after which she became chair of The Department of Educational Psychology in what was formerly known as the College of Human Resources and Education (now CEHS) from 1985 to 1996. In 1997, Nardi was named associate dean of CEHS, and she served as interim dean of the College from 2002 to 2008.

As dean, she greenlighted the creation of the College’s Five Year Teacher Education Program and oversaw the development of a Ph.D. program in education. She is also credited with balancing the College’s budget, which had been operating at a significant deficit before her tenure. The financial stability Nardi provided as dean allowed the College to invest in curriculum and new programs.

Nardi continued to teach educational psychology at CEHS until she retired in 2014, although she briefly came out of retirement in 2015 to serve as interim chair of The Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development (LSHD).

"Anne was the dean who hired me and interim chair of LSHD prior to my stepping in as chair,” said Reagan Curtis, current LSHD chair. “I greatly admire her financial stewardship and academic leadership for the College and department. She remains one of my most influential mentors."

In addition to all she has done for CEHS, Nardi’s accomplishments have extended well beyond the College. During her dynamic career, she served as the director of the Center for Guided Design, a Fellow in the International Society for Exploring Alternatives to Teaching and Learning, and as a member of the board of directors for the International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning.

At the state level, she has been an active member of the West Virginia Teacher Education Advisory Committee. As an early advocate of faculty development, Nardi has been consulted in introducing the practice to other institutions as well as at WVU. Her late husband Gabriel A. Nardi was a professor of special education at WVU, and together they have four children and nine grandchildren.

Deborah Smyth Green

As a Morgantown native, WVU was a natural choice for Deborah Smyth Green. After earning her bachelor’s degree in history at the University, Green was one of 15 students chosen to receive federal funding to pursue a master’s degree in counseling at CEHS in 1970.

WVU had received a Title IX training grant as the result of an effort by the federal government to increase the number of counselors in elementary and secondary schools. Although the grant predated the Americans with Disabilities Act, it placed great emphasis on identifying and assisting students who did not adjust well to typical classroom settings.

After earning her master’s in counseling, Green became an eighth grade West Virginia history teacher in Morgantown before teaching in Colorado, Florida, Virginia and eventually Illinois, where she worked as a counselor in a large suburban high school for 25 years.

As a result of her specialized education from CEHS, Green became one of the first teachers in her school district to instruct a classroom entirely made up of students with learning disabilities. Around the same time, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) adopted a regulation known as Proposition 48, which mandated minimum standardized test scores and grades in order for high school student-athletes to be considered to participate in collegiate competitions.

Although Green acknowledges that Prop 48 was a step in the right direction, it included no accommodations for those with learning disabilities.

“As it turned out, several of my students were excellent athletes, including the top state swimmer,” Green said. “He was offered an athletic scholarship to a huge state university but was then denied the scholarship due to Prop 48 regulations.”

When her student and his family decided to take on the NCAA in the landmark case  Ganden v. NCAA, Green served as a key witness. She credits her training at CEHS for preparing her to advocate for students with learning disabilities.

As the leader of WVU’s Chicago Metro Alumni Chapter, a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and a member of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Visiting Committee, Green has spent 30 years promoting a strong relationship between WVU and the Chicago area. She is a lifetime member of the WVU Alumni Association, and in 2002 she received the John F. Nicholas Jr. Award, which recognizes outstanding service to an alumni chapter.

So far, she has planned 165 alumni events in the Chicago area, featuring guest speakers like Dr. Stanley Ikenberry, the original dean of CEHS. Green says she is happy to be occupied with the almost full-time job of bringing ‘anything West Virginian’ to WVU alumni in the Midwest.

“Giving back to my alma mater has seemed a way of life,” Green said. “My parents could only afford for me to attend West Virginia University… Still, once in the workforce, my WVU undergrad in history and graduate training in counseling never failed me. As I moved around the country to Colorado, Florida, Virginia, and finally to Illinois, I was more than able to hold my own with colleagues who were graduates of more expensive or more well-known institutions.”

In addition to her work as an ambassador to the University, Green has led two efforts to preserve the memory of the U.S.S. West Virginia, including securing artifacts saved by a sailor stationed on the ship before the WWII attack on Pearl Harbor. The artifacts include 50 photos taken aboard the ship and a 1939 telegram announcing Great Britain and France were at war with Germany. The collection is now housed at WVU Libraries. Green also spurred a collaboration between the Chicago Alumni chapter and the College of Creative Arts in which 24 WVU art students painted their own interpretations of the U.S.S. West Virginia for display at the Erickson Alumni Center.

Green and her husband established the Garret W. and Deborah Green Fund in Eberly College and are members of the Irvin Stewart Society. They have a son, daughter and five grandchildren and reside in Sugar Grove, Illinois.


Kristin Moilanen, a "scholar of adolescence"

As a high school student, Dr. Kristin Moilanen wondered what led some of her peers to engage in risky sexual behaviors (specifically, having sex without contraception and/or with more than one partner in a committed relationship) while others chose not to. This question led her to pursue degrees in developmental psychology and become a “scholar of adolescence,” as she puts it, and it has been the driving force of her research ever since, as she has strived to uncover developmental predictors for risky behaviors in adolescents and young adults. 


CEHS faculty member establishes first endowed scholarship for CRCCP

Ed Jacobs

Dr. Ed Jacobs, a professor of counseling at the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services' Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology, has created the first endowed scholarship for the department.  The gift will support students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Counseling.  The $25,000 endowment will establish the Ed Jacobs Counseling Scholarship.   “I decided to start the endowment because I felt it would help one or more students pay for books or some of the tuition given the high cost for getting a master's degree,” said Jacobs.  After 44 years as a professor, Dr. Jacobs understands first-hand the challenges many students face with the burden of increasing tuition and costs of attendance.

Jacobs sees his gift as an opportunity to give back to the department that he says has been exceptionally kind to him for many years. “I’m 71 years old, and I could retire if I wanted to, but I won’t,” Jacobs said. “There’s not a person on the planet who loves their job more than me. I work with a great dean, department chair, office manager and exceptional faculty.  It is so nice to work in such a positive environment.”

“I am encouraged to see our faculty support our programs.  It testifies to the strong commitment and passion our faculty and staff members have for our students and the College of Education and Human Services. Dr. Jacobs’ gift, as the first scholarship for our counseling students, will have a long-term impact on our counseling program and graduate students. Dr. Jacobs is a renowned scholar and educator. His gift leaves a legacy in our college,” said Gypsy Denzine, Dean of the WVU College of Education and Human Services.

As a small department, Jacobs and his fellow counseling professors have the unique opportunity to get to know each of their students well.  Jacobs hopes this scholarship will help those students, who share his passion for counseling, to pursue their degrees with less financial burden. “It simply means I'm giving back. I was helped when I was a graduate student. It feels good that I am able to help a little.  It's great watching people grow and change to where they are confident in their ability to help others,” said Jacobs.

Dr. Jacobs hopes that from the support of past students, colleagues and friends the scholarship will grow over time, allowing more students to be impacted through this gift.  For information on donating to the Ed Jacobs Scholarship fund, please contact Amy Lutz at amy.lutz@mail.wvu.edu.

This gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia University.  The $1 billion fundraising effort by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017. 


Student Spotlight: Madeline Collins

Madeline Collins

Madeline Collins, a student in the College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) and a member of the prestigious West Virginia University Dance Team, ultimately credits her academic adviser with her decision to transfer to WVU.

“Before I made my final decision, I met with my CEHS adviser, Anita Garten,” Madeline recalls. “It was only after that first, long meeting that I knew I could and should transfer. She alleviated my concerns about a delayed graduation date and provided a clear outline of what my course schedules would be for the following two years.”

Before becoming a Mountaineer, Madeline had been an elementary education major at Marshall University. Although she found some aspects of Marshall’s program appealing, she felt she wasn’t getting enough in-classroom experience or knowledge related specifically to her major. However, Madeline says that as soon as she started in the CDFS (Child Development and Family Studies) program at CEHS, she knew she was exactly where she needed to be.

Madeline wants to become a child life specialist so she can serve children with medical needs in a children's hospital or service organization. Not only will her degree from WVU meet the eligibility requirements for the Certified Child Life Specialist Examination, but the CDFS program’s intensive curriculum will prime her for the duties and responsibilities of her future career.

“Every course in the program speaks to an aspect of the role of a child life specialist and prepares me to meet the needs of the children I will serve,” Madeline says. “I truly feel that I am preparing for my future career and not getting through some required classes which do not interest me.”

Although the transition to a city the size of Morgantown was not easy at first for Madeline (a native of small-town Princeton, West Virginia), joining the dance team and her sorority, Chi Omega, has helped her feel at home. When she’s not balancing her time between her team, her sorority and her classwork, Madeline works as a WVU representative for Love Your Melon, a fundraising campaign dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer. She is also passionate about volunteering with children at Morgantown’s Ruby Memorial Hospital.

Madeline Collins jumping in the air

All of these responsibilities don’t leave Madeline with a lot of time to waste. Fortunately, she has always been good at time-management, and she rarely procrastinates. In fact, she even uses syllabi from her classes to finish assignments ahead of schedule. Although she is occasionally forced to give up leisure time to stay on task, she says it boils down to priorities. 

“My mom once sent me a meme that said, ‘Good grades. Sleep. Social life. Pick two.’ That is pretty much how I live,” Madeline says.

Although her schedule can be hectic, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I am so happy with my program of study and truly enjoy my CDFS courses,” Madeline says. “I love being a member of the WVU Dance Team and representing our school as such. I am so blessed to work at Ruby Memorial Hospital and with the Love Your Melon Campus Crew Team. And most of all, I love and adore my Chi O sisters. I have no regrets and am exactly where I need and want to be!”

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Dr. Ernest R. Goeres establishes first higher education administration support fund

Dr. Ernest R. Goeres

Past dean and faculty emeritus of the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services, Ernest R. Goeres, has established The Dr. Ernest R. Goeres Higher Education Administration Endowment Fund. The $25,000 endowed fund will provide support to the college for research, teaching and service activities, as well as for the “extras” that come with a highly respected program.

Goeres served as an assistant dean, associate dean and interim dean of CEHS, before serving as the director of the higher education administration program. As a retired administrator, he understands first-hand the importance of discretionary funds. His decision to give back to the college that he helmed for years was instinctual.

“Without special funds the ‘extra’ things, even just pizza and pop, aren’t possible,” said Goeres. This is why he, along with other contributors, established the unique endowment.

Goeres joined the CEHS faculty in 1972 when he was recruited by Dean William G. Monahan, a man described by Goeres as “a combination of Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, and Mother Teresa. He was both brilliant, a great purveyor of stories, and humane.”

It was robust and humane leadership like Dean Monahan’s that greatly impacted Goeres’ successful career in higher education administration and inspired him to do the same for others.

Goeres’ program impact goes far beyond his financial support. “Dr. Goeres single handedly perked my interest in higher education administration, and convinced me that a career in this field is possible,” said Suzanne Gosden Kitchen, EdD, Teacher Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of the Management and Industrial Relations Department at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics.

According to Goeres, “How you treat people is an important part of leadership, especially in higher education, and I think our program does a great job preparing humane and strong leaders.”

“It didn’t take long to recognize the hard work Ernie had put into the program over the years. His attention to quality and care of students has been a cornerstone in building such a strong program,” stated Nathan Sorber, PhD, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Higher Education Administration Program. “It is an honor to continue Ernie’s great legacy through this gift.”

The support this endowment will give to students at CEHS also includes assistance for student research projects, graduate assistantships, program sponsored activities as well as positive opportunities to communicate with their peers, often over pizza and pop.

The WVU Foundation, in partnership with the University, is currently conducting  A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The goal of the largest fundraising effort in the history of the University is to raise $1 billion by December 2017.


CEHS student wins Pearl S. Buck writing contest

The Pearl S. Buck Writing Contest is a statewide competition sponsored by West Virginia University with prizes for high school, undergraduate and graduate student writers. In honor of Pulitzer Prize winning author Pearl S. Buck, who was born in West Virginia and raised in China, the contest guidelines encourage writers to submit fiction or nonfiction pieces which express appreciation for differing cultures, including but not limited to Appalachia and China. Writing that promotes social justice and features women’s perspectives is also encouraged.

The winner in the graduate student category for 2016 and recipient of the accompanying one thousand dollar award is Chad Cowell, a Morgantown native who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in secondary education from the College of Education and Human Services.

His prize-winning short story, titled “The Diner,” follows a waitress named Joanna in her conversations with Ying, a Chinese native who has come to America to reunite with her daughter after 31 years apart.

In the story, Ying tells Joanna about how she was forced to give up her daughter for adoption three decades earlier due to China’s One-Child Policy, a population control effort enforced by the Chinese government from 1978 to 2015. Despite facing obstacles including poverty and social constraints, Ying never loses her determination to find the daughter who was taken from her. Her search leads her to America, 31 years later, where her daughter is living with a child of her own.

Cowell said that, after reading about the contest’s themes, the idea for the story simply fell into his lap. “So many people have been affected by China’s one-child policy that the characters were already waiting,” Cowell said. “The drama was already there. I just needed to pick up the pieces and put it into a story.”

Like his character Ying and Pearl S. Buck herself, Cowell is no stranger to crossing oceans. Cowell spent nine years teaching English as a Second Language in South Korea after graduating from Pennsylvania State University. His experience there inspired him to pursue his master’s here at WVU.

“I decided that inspiring future generations to fall in love with literature was something that I’d be willing to work for,” Cowell said.

Cowell’s reverence for literature is echoed in “The Diner” when Joanna asks Ying about the book she is reading, which happens to be Pearl S. Buck’s  The Good Earth. When Joanna admits that she doesn’t have much time to read, Ying replies, “Every young woman should read. How else are you going to learn about what’s out there?”

At the end of “The Diner,” Joanna is so inspired by Ying’s journey that she decides to reconnect with her own mother, despite not having spoken to her for four years due to disagreements. According to Cowell, the importance of family is the story’s prevailing theme, and his own family is a major source of inspiration for him. In fact, it was his wife’s confidence in his writing ability that ultimately convinced him to enter the contest.

“Any time outside of graduate studies and substitute teaching is spent with my family,” Cowell said.

For more information on the Pearl S. Buck Writing Contest, visit  http://research.wvu.edu/students/pearl-s-buck-writing-contest.


Negro Leagues "Beisbol" Exhibit: Opening Day

A traveling exhibit celebrating Hispanic/Latino and African American baseball players is coming to Morgantown. “Negro Leagues Beisbol: African American Baseball and Hispanic Culture 1860-1960” will make its way from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City, Missouri to West Virginia University's own Erickson Alumni Center, where it will remain open for public viewing from September 18-October 28.

Spanning one hundred years of Hispanic/Latino and African American professional baseball in the United States, the exhibit is part of an educational initiative created by Dr.  Robert Waterson, a professor in the  College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) and director of the  Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education (CDCE). In addition to being available for public viewing, the exhibit will also serve as a classroom to over 900 middle- and high-school students from across the state of West Virginia who are scheduled to attend special “student sessions” over the next two months. These sessions will be led by both graduate and undergraduate members of Dr. Waterson’s secondary social studies methods courses as part of their teacher training experience.

“For students attending the exhibit’s student sessions, the Negro Leagues Beisbol program provides a unique opportunity to explore a lesser-known aspect of our nation’s history and the Civil Rights Era through the lens of America’s pastime,” said Erica Lilly, a student in Waterson’s course. “And for teacher candidates, like myself, the program serves as an opportunity to really take on the role of teacher, put our training into action, and gain valuable experience in the field.” Former students of Waterson can attest that this experience pays off, as virtually all have found successful careers in the field of education, and many have received local, state, and national recognition for their teaching excellence.

To assist teachers in preparing students for their visits, the CDCE has provided various supplementary educational materials designed to complement the exhibit experience. The CDCE will also host a free teachers’ workshop aimed at providing participating teachers with the skills and strategies necessary to engage their students in meaningful lessons about the Negro Baseball Leagues and, more broadly, the struggle for equality and social justice in the contemporary Civil Rights Era. An art literacy competition has also been initiated by the CDCE, in which all students have been invited to participate.

The exhibit’s “Opening Day” is scheduled for September 18 from 2-5:30pm, and will feature several guest speakers, including Dr. Raymond Doswell (Vice President of Curatorial Services at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum), Joel Gray (Community Outreach Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Pirates), and Pedro Sierra (a former Negro Leagues baseball player for the Indianapolis Clowns and Detroit Stars). Student finalists in the art literacy competition will also be in attendance with their artwork, which will remain on display throughout the exhibit’s stay in Morgantown. The CDCE will also host a Negro Leagues Baseball Cinematic Film Festival at the Erickson Alumni Center on September 19 from 10am-6pm.

“There really is something for everyone,” said Lilly, “Young and old, students and teachers, history buffs, sports enthusiasts, social justice crusaders, and everyone in between! Not only does this program integrate a variety of subjects and disciplines, it also explores and promotes more universal themes – like liberty, justice, equality, and democracy – to which we all can relate.”

“Negro Leagues Beisbol: African American Baseball and Hispanic Culture 1860-1960” is free and open to the public from Sept. 18-Oct. 28. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the exhibit will be open from 8:15-4:45pm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the exhibit will be open from 1:30-7pm.

For more information about the exhibit or the Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education (CDCE), please contact——Robert A. Waterson  Robert.waterson@mail.wvu.edu.

Dr. Monica Leppma teaching mindfulness

Many people with and without psychological disorders struggle to cope with the overwhelming stressors and emotions associated with everyday life. One approach to solving that problem that is gaining traction among clinicians is a practice called mindfulness. Rather than change or ignore stressful feelings, counselors teaching mindfulness encourage clients to acknowledge and accept their thoughts and feelings without passing judgement on them.

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Four Inducted into the CEHS Hall of Fame for 2016

Four outstanding individuals were inducted in the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) Hall of Fame for 2016.  This year’s inductees were Dr. Richard Cavasina, Dr. Catherine Perry Cotton, Dr. Patricia Love, and Dr. Patricia Obenauf.

“These four inductees are extraordinary individuals, making great contributions to their professions and communities.  It was my pleasure to participate in such a lovely event to recognize their many accomplishments,” said Gypsy Denzine, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services.  “They exemplify the pioneering graduates we tell our students they someday will be. “

Richard Cavasina

Dr. Richard Cavasina graduated from WVU in 1987 with his Ed.D. in counseling practice. A Professor Emeritus of California University of Pennsylvania, Cavasina served in many roles over his 28 year career there, including tenured professor of psychology, director of the school psychology program, interim associate director of University’s Advising, Placement, and Testing Center, and interim chair of the Counseling Education Department.  Cavasina has been heavily involved in his community as the director of a mental health center. He also served as the school psychologist for the Hardy County school system for 10 years.

Catherine Perry Cotten

Dr. Catherine Perry Cotten received both his B.A. in Mathematics and M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from WVU.  She then earned her Ph.D. from The University of Southern Mississippi in Science Education with major areas in mathematics and educational research.  Cotten has served in public and private education for 40 years.  She has held teaching and administrative positions at the elementary, secondary, and university level.  During her tenure in secondary schools, two-year colleges and universities, Cotten was instrumental in securing millions of dollars in state, federal, and private funds that helped support curriculum development, teacher education activities, and technology innovation.

Patricia Love

Dr. Patricia Love received an M.A. in Counseling and Guidance in 1978 and an Ed.D. in Education in 1980 both from WVU.  Love is a distinguished professor, licensed marriage and family therapist and a long-time clinical member and approved supervisor in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Love’s work has been featured on TV, and has included repeat appearances on Oprah, CNN, and The Today Show. She has also been featured on a number of websites, and in a number of popular magazines Her teaching is known for its humor, warmth, research-base and practicality.

Patricia Obenauf

Dr. Patricia Obenauf retired faculty emeritus from CEHS in 2015.  Obenauf served the Department of Curriculum and Instruction as a professor, administrator, researcher, advisor, and scholar for more than 40 years.  She chaired nearly 80 doctoral student committees and has written several grants.  Obenauf is most known for her open and honest approach to students. She has always shown a genuine interest in her students’ hopes, dreams and ambitions and has been known to go above and beyond to inspire, mentor and assist aspiring teachers with embracing their full potential.

This is the thirteenth class to be inducted into the CEHS Hall of Fame. The award recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in their field, exemplified outstanding leadership qualities, and those who possess strong community and West Virginia ties.  Strong consideration is given to those who have demonstrated support of and/or service to the vision and mission of the WVU College of Education and Human Services.  Inductees are representative of the tremendous successes of our many CEHS graduates and friends of the college. 


Future counseling students to benefit from generous gift

Dr. Richard and Toni Cavasina

Dr. Richard Cavasina understands the importance of the values he acquired at West Virginia University and wants to pass these same principles on to aspiring counselors and psychologists. He will do so through a future scholarship endowment, which will support students in the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology at the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University.

Cavasina and his wife, Toni, have established the Dr. Richard and Toni Cavasina Counseling Scholarship via a significant estate gift to the college. Their gift is the largest ever made to the counseling department. As a community leader with a strong personal and professional devotion to education, Cavasina understands the importance of a good education, but also how hard this can be to achieve.

Even though he received degrees from other institutions, Cavasina says his core values of civility, integrity, responsibility and respect weren't really developed until he arrived at WVU to obtain his doctorate in education.

“When I was teaching in Hardy County, the kids were phenomenal, but many were from poor families,” Cavasina said. “They had a lot of potential, but they did not have the means to further their educations. My education at WVU allowed me to accomplish what I did, and I want students to have that same experience.”

After leaving the Hardy County schools, Cavasina went on to earn his Ed.D. in counseling practice from WVU. “I think what really surprised me was that the faculty were people,” Cavasina said. “They were people you could talk to, people you could relate to. They were compassionate and they showed an interest in you.”

Shortly after graduating from WVU, Cavasina became a faculty member by joining the Department of Psychology at California University of Pennsylvania. Cavasina had a very successful, twenty-eight year career at California University Pennsylvania where he served in many administrative roles and received several awards for community service, outreach and research. One of the most prestigious awards, the Presidential Faculty Award for Research, allowed him to report on his findings at the Oxford Roundtable at Anthony’s College at the University of Oxford, England.

Through all of his success, Cavasina continues to look back at his time at WVU fondly. “I learned how to be a person and a professional there, and how to take my place in the professional world. It has made me what I am today.”

In June 2012, after retiring from Cal U as a faculty Emeritus, Cavasina received a liver transplant at Allegheny General Hospital. Since his recovery, he has drawn on his experience in the field of mental health as director of the patient advocacy program at the Pittsburgh-based Abdominal Transplant Institute at Allegheny Health Network. He also serves as the Chair for the Cavasina Endowment for Transplant and Research and is currently conducting research regarding psychological issues involved with transplantation.

“Without the hands-on education received at WVU, I would have not achieved the successes that I had in my career. As a faculty member during advisement, I recommended my students take courses and attend graduate school at WVU and today, I support WVU through endowments,” said Cavasina. “The WVU experience shapes students to go out into the world and tackle any problem. In my opinion, West Virginia University is one of the best kept secrets among other top research universities and I want to do anything I can to expand the WVU name and mission.”

Cavasina was the recipient of the Jasper N. Deahl Award at CEHS in 2014 and an inductee of the 2016 CEHS Hall of Fame.

The WVU Foundation, in partnership with the University, is currently conducting  A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University which runs through December 2017.


Faculty member and past chair supports speech-language pathology and audiology students

Dr. Norman Lass and his wife, Martha

Dr. Norman Lass and his wife, Martha, donated $30,000 to establish an endowed scholarship at the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services. The Norman and Martha Lass Scholarship will provide support for graduate students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders studying to become speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

As a professor of speech and hearing sciences, co-director of the Speech and Hearing Laboratory, and past chair of the department, Lass credits his successful career to the wonderful working environment and support he received from the faculty, staff and students at WVU.

“We are lifelong learners and have such a respect for education and the pursuit of education,” said Lass. “We are grateful to be in a position to help others pursue higher education, especially within a field and subject I am personally passionate about.”

In 1969, after receiving his Ph.D. from Purdue University and completing his Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Bureau of Child Research at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Lass joined WVU, telling his wife they would be in Morgantown for three years. Forty-six years, multiple outstanding teaching awards, 22 books, over 100 publications and 300 professional presentations, two children and four grandchildren later, Lass continues to teach, publish, and learn here in Morgantown. Lass received the Benedum, WVU Foundation, CEHS, Golden Apple, and Exxon Education Foundation Outstanding Teacher awards.

“I have had a very fulfilling career at WVU. It really has been a wonderful fit. I am very grateful to WVU and our department which has a very supportive and productive faculty and staff, as well as an outstanding undergraduate and graduate student body. It has been rewarding to participate in many of their successes as well,” stated Lass. In fact, eight of his past students are currently serving as faculty members within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. In addition, he has had at least 15 students whose parents were former speech pathology or audiology students.

“I was Dr. Lass’ first M.S. thesis student. He encouraged and mentored me through the pursuit of my Ph.D. degree. I will always be grateful for Dr. Lass’ guidance and inspiration during my graduate education and throughout my tenure at WVU as we continue to do collaborative research. Dr. Lass has been a wonderful friend and mentor to me for a lifetime”, said Dr. Mary Ellen Koay, past student and current Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Speech-Language Pathology at CEHS.

Lass’ impact goes far beyond his roles in the classroom and his publications. For example, his research led him to work with Dr. Emerson Foulke at the University of Louisville, where he studied time-altered speech for the blind, as braille was often to slow for blind students to keep up with their sighted peers. Lass’ research even became the catalyst for a question developed and used on a national television game show. His work on speaker identification has received extensive national attention from newspapers around the country, including an article in TIME magazine.

Lass’ wife, Martha, also served a long and successful career focused around education. She taught over 30 years in West Virginia, Indiana, and Kansas as an elementary and special education teacher. She also was involved in teacher training programs at WVU, and also taught courses in both curriculum and instruction and special education.

The first Norman and Martha Lass Scholarship recipient was selected this fall for the 2016-2017 academic year. “I am so grateful for this scholarship. This award is allowing me to concentrate on what is important to me, education. The Lass’ financial generosity has allowed me to be one step closer to my goal and has inspired me to give back to the community,” stated Chelsea Simpkins, a speech-language pathology graduate student.

It is the Lass’ hope that their scholarship will continue to grow, impacting more and more students over the years. “Our extended family has already been so generous in sending donations to support our scholarship. It is the opportunity to create a gift that just keeps giving,” shared Lass.

The WVU Foundation, in partnership with the University, is currently conducting  A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University which runs through December 2017.


CEHS welcomes new faculty members

For the 2016-2017 academic year, CEHS welcomed 11 new faculty members.  Find out more about our new faculty members education, research, and many accomplishments. 

Sara Anderson

Sara Anderson, Assistant Professor
Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development

Anderson received my B.A. in psychology from Whitman College (2002) and my Ph.D. in Child Development from Tufts University (2012).  She held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Center for Research on Children in the U.S. at Georgetown University from 2014-2016, where she researched the long-term effectiveness of universal pre-K.  Prior to that she served as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Center for Promise at Tufts University.  She has received scholarships and honors from the American Education Research Association and Society for Research Adolescents and published numerous peer reviewed publications. 

William Beasley

William Beasley, Professor   
Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development

Beasley, Ed.D received my B.A. in Psychology from Davidson College (1976), and M.Ed. in Educational Psychology (1978) and Ed.D. in Education of the Gifted (1984) from the University of Georgia. He served as a public school teacher and administrator in both Texas and Ohio and worked as Assistant Director for Education in Case Western Reserve University’s Community Telecomputing Lab during the development of Cleveland Free-Net, the nation’s first free, open-access community computer network. He also served on the faculty of Cleveland State University in Ohio for 25 years, teaching and advising in their educational technology graduate program and directing the university’s Center for Teaching Excellence, before joining WVU in 2013 as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the newly created University College. Now, Beasley teaches in the Instructional Design and Technology program.

Jayne Brandel

Jayne Brandel, Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

  Jayne Brandel earned her B.A. in Speech-Language-Hearing Science (1997) and M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology (1999) from the University of Kansas (KU). After working in the Ohio schools for two years, she returned to KU and completed her Ph.D. (2009) in Speech-Language Pathology with an emphasis in school services and language-based disorders for school-age students. Brandel was a faculty member at Fort Hays State University in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department teaching language development and disorders coursework for 4 years before being promoted to Chair. She has earned both the Early Career Contributions in Research Award and Journal Editors’ Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for her research and publications regarding school-age language disorders and interventions.

Gregory Epps

Gregory Epps, Clinical Assistant Professor and
Regents Bachelor of Arts Program Director
Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development

Epps received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from West Virginia State University, a Master of Public Administration and Management degree from Marshall University, and earned a Doctorate degree in Education Administration, Higher Education, from West Virginia University with a minor Doctorate in Public Administration.  He is a graduate of the Business Management Institute, at Cornell University, the College Business Management Institute at the University of Kentucky and the Executive Leadership Program at Hampton University. 

Previous positions include: Senior Advisor to the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Interim Director for Diversity at WVU, Chief of Staff & Executive Assistant to the President for Communications, Community Relations and Alumni Affairs at West Virginia State University, Diversity Coordinator for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, and teacher & coach for the Kanawha County School System.

Dr.  Epps has served as a consultant and made several presentations relating to various community, faith based, higher education, diversity, and leadership topics.  He has over 30 years of experience as a leader in education and community outreach.

Rodney P. Hughes

Rodney P. Hughes, Assistant Professor
Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Hughes received a Ph.D. in Higher Education and an M.A. and B.S. in Economics from Pennsylvania State University and worked as research manager in the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University from 2013-2016.  His areas of study include college access and affordability, labor economics, data use in education, and college and university governance.  From 2008-2011, Hughes served as student member of the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania State University, and from 2010-2012 and 2014-2016, Hughes served on the Board of Directors of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, a higher education nonprofit organization. 

Denise Lindstrom

Denise Lindstrom, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Master of Arts & Certification Program
Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Lindstrom received my B.A in Secondary English Education  from California State University at Chico  (1987) and obtained my California State Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a Bilingual/Cross- Cultural Language and Academic Development emphasis from National University in San Jose, CA (1998).  She taught 6th grade  for three years in Oakland California before receiving a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction at Iowa State University (2012) and then spent three years as a faculty member in the Teacher Education Program at Fairmont State University.  Lindstrom is also currently serve as an editor for the Journal to Digital Learning in Teacher Education.

Patricia Love

Dr. Patricia Love, Visiting Instructor
Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Counseling Psychology

Love’s work has been featured on TV including repeat appearances on Oprah, CNN, and The Today Show, in cyberspace, and in popular magazines, but she’s also a distinguished professor, licensed marriage and family therapist and long-standing clinical member and approved supervisor in AAMFT.  Love has six books and numerous professional articles to her credit. Her ever-popular books    Hot Monogamy and How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It have literally taken her around the world to help people understand and improve their relationships. Her teaching is known for its humor, warmth, research-base and practicality.

Natasha Murray-Everett

Natasha Murray-Everett, Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Murray recently earned her Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to her doctoral studies, she served as a teacher in both Baltimore City and Washington D.C. Public Schools. Her research interests include examining dialogic spaces for pre-service teachers as a way to explore their own racial and ethnic identities and the racial and ethnic identities of others. She seeks to look at how these understandings shape pre-service teachers’ ideologies of race and racism, how it influences their teaching practices, and their relationships with students. 

Melissa Patchan

Melissa Patchan, Assistant Professor
Department of Learning Sciences & Human Development

Pathchan received my B.A. in Psychology from University of South Florida (2004) and my Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from University of Pittsburgh (2011). She spent one year in Belgium as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Management at the University of Antwerp, and spent three years as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Communication Science & Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh.  Pathchan also spent a year as a research associate in the Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education, & Communication Disorders at Georgia State University.   

Lisa Platt

Lisa F. Platt, Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Counseling Psychology

Dr. Lisa Platt has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Penn State University.  Her research focuses on multicultural psychology, with a focus on gender, gender diversity, and sexual orientation considerations.  Dr. Platt is originally from Wyoming, and most recently taught at a liberal arts college in Minnesota.  She is also a licensed psychologist in West Virginia.

Abhik Roy

Abhik Roy, Assistant professor
Department of Learning Sciences & Human Development

Abhik received his B.S. and M.S. in mathematics from West Virginia Wesleyan College and Michigan Technological University, respectively. He was awarded a Ph.D. in program Evaluation from the Interdisciplinary PhD in Program Evaluation program at Western Michigan University. Prior to transitioning into his current role, Abhik was a program evaluator for the department of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Kansas. His primary research focus is on what guides evaluation practice and how theory informs practitioners. Aside from his teaching and research, he currently serves as an associate editor of the publication Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation.

Jiangmei (May) Yuan

Jiangmei (May) Yuan, Assistant Professor
Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development

Yuan earned my Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language  (2009) and Master of Science in Information Media (2012) from Saint Cloud State University. She completed her Ph.D. degree in Learning, Design, and Technology from the University of Georgia (2016). Prior to coming to the United States, Yuan spent just over four years as a faculty member at a university in China.  Her research interest include enhancing STEM teaching and learning through the use of technologies and improving students’ learning by promoting their engagement in peer and formative assessments.


Ken St. Louis Q&A in WVU Magazine

Dr. Ken St. Louis, professor in the CEHS Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, was featured in the WVU Magazine for his expertise in stuttering and attitudes toward stuttering.
Read WVU Magazine Article

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$1 million gift establishes endowed directorship and support fund for WVU Nursery School

The West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services has received a $1 million gift, the largest single private donation ever made to the college, to support the  WVU Child Development Laboratory , better known as the WVU Nursery School. 

The gift, from donors who wish to remain anonymous, will support an endowed named directorship and an endowed enhancement fund. The directorship will support  Dr. Barbara Gibson Warash, providing a broad range of support for research, teaching and service. The enhancement fund will provide funds to broadly support the educational and training mission of the WVU Nursery School. 

“We are extremely grateful for this support to our college, specifically our Nursery School and Dr. Warash,” stated  Dr. Gypsy Denzine, Dean of the WVU College of Education and Human Services. “This gift allows our program to continue to have not only a local, but national impact in the development of outstanding early childhood professionals.     We strive to be the leader in early childhood education in the state of West Virginia and beyond, and this gift will help us to achieve this goal.” 

The WVU Nursery School was established in 1944 as part of the Division of Home Economics in the College of Agriculture. Now a part of the  Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development, the school supports the philosophy that the early years are formative years and the most important in children’s development. The school provides observational, practicum, and student teaching experiences for WVU students majoring in  child development and family studies, particularly Pre-K education, and other fields, as well as trainings and other opportunities to the community. 

According to Dr. Reagan Curtis, Chair of the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development, this gift will allow students, staff, and faculty who work within the WVU Nursery School to create, research, and improve innovative practices that can be developed and applied not only at the school, but also in the greater early childhood education community.  

“We have supported early childhood programs for many years. We believe that providing kids with an early start gives them a better chance to succeed. The WVU Nursery School is an impressive program and it was evident to us that there is a strong commitment from the instructors and students,” the donors said. “We want to support the preschool to help continue a program that looked so promising.” 

The donors did not graduate from WVU nor are they native to or residents of West Virginia, but rather they were connected to our program through a relationship with a WVU graduate and Weston, WV, native, Dr. Vicci Tucci. More than 40 years ago, Tucci established the Competent Learner Model based on her study of applied behavior analysis. 

Through their connection with Tucci, the donors began to support research here at WVU, specifically that done by the late Dr. Daniel Eugene Hursh. Hursh’s research focused on implementing CLM into general education settings with appropriate modification, because the model was initially designed for special education.

“I remember well our first visit to the WVU Nursery School and meeting Dr. Bobbie Warash,” the donor said. “We were so impressed by her and Dr. Hursh’s efforts to use the Competent Learner Model with regular students.” 

Warash, along with Curtis, Hursh and Tucci, published a paper in the Journal of Research in Childhood Education, “Skinner Meets Piaget on the Reggio Playground: Practical Synthesis of Applied Behavior Analysis and Developmentally Appropriate Practice Orientations.” Their research was supported by the donors’ early donations to the college and left a lasting impression.

The donors shared their joy in being able to support students who are committed to the field of early childhood education, knowing these students would benefit from such a well-established program.

“We could not be more appreciative of this gift and continued commitment to our program. Our research has received national recognition and has only prepared us to better serve our students,” Warash stated. “We continually research and try new things at the WVU Nursery School. We want to identify best practices for getting kids interested in learning at a young age.” 

The gift was made in conjunction with  A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University which runs through December 2017.

Teacher education student receives scholarship in time of need

Caroline Snyder

Caroline Miskovsky Snyder anxiously awaits her first day in her own classroom, thanks to the generosity of private donations and support from faculty and staff at the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services.

In Snyder’s case, the William Joseph Sturgis Endowed Scholarship was both a gift to her and her family in their darkest time. According to Snyder, she never would have been able to continue her education at WVU while also working and supporting her family during her mother’s terminal illness.

With five sisters and plenty of nephews and nieces underfoot, Caroline had always been surrounded by children. After transferring to WVU her freshman year, she was inspired by two classes to consider education as her focus; Rosemary Hathaway's American Literature English 242 course and Rudy Almasy's Fiction for Adolescents English 405.

"While I have always loved reading to my nieces and nephews, these two WVU professors focused on more than just the text. They also shared strategies to get young students interested in reading, and showed me that books have more to offer for developing identities. It clicked with me that I could take a different path professionally," said Snyder.

After receiving an Order of Augusta Scholar and Outstanding Senior award, Snyder graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in English in 2013. In the back of her mind, she sensed that teaching could be the career for her. After graduation Snyder decided to return to WVU to earn her master of arts and certification in elementary education.

Snyder was familiar with hard work. Her mother, Terri, had an impressive 34-year career with WSP (Mountain Enterprises). She had been a pioneer in three-dimensional modeling programs for structural steel detailing, developing ME2. With a terminal illness and her health declining, she departed her position with WSP, leaving their family under pressure with growing tuition fees, medical bills, and more.

Snyder was aware of the strain her absence put on her large family and the financial troubles that were ahead. Staying at WVU was becoming increasingly difficult to justify. Throughout the winter of 2015, Snyder regularly traveled back and forth two and a half hours each way to be with her mother.

In her time of need, Snyder reached out to mentors within CEHS and was an eligible recipient for the Sturgis Scholarship. The scholarship is given to needy and deserving students attending WVU who are majoring in the fields of education and/or religion.

In January 2015, Caroline’s mother was put on a transplant list. Sadly, by the time she received a transplant, her body had degenerated and developed inoperable cancer. In February of 2015, her mother passed away.

In spite of her loss, Caroline has carried on and attributes her success to the scholarships she has received. “If not for the generosity of donors to the College of Education and Human Services, I would not be finishing my degree right now. I would be back home working to save in order get my education – not about to start my career.”

Caroline will be graduating in December 2017 thanks to the kindness of donations given to the College of Education and Human Services.

The WVU Foundation, in partnership with the University, is currently conducting  A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University which runs through December 2017.


WVU graduates first-ever communication sciences and disorders Ph.D. student

Mary Weidner

The first-ever West Virginia University Communication Sciences and Disorders Ph.D. student graduated on December 16, 2016. Mary E. Weidner joined the WVU College of Education and Human Services in the fall of 2013 to pursue her doctorate in communication sciences and disorders with an emphasis in stuttering.

“We are thrilled to see Mary graduate as our first student in the program. The primary objective of the program is to assist students in developing in-depth mastery of a specific area within the discipline and Mary did just this,” stated Dean Gypsy Denzine. “We are so proud of her and her accomplishments while at WVU and wish her success in her career.”

Weidner, a Gibsonia, PA native, received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and 2009, respectively. In 2009, Weidner began working clinically at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. It was through her clinical work that she was inspired to learn more about perceptions of stuttering in kids.

“I worked with a lot of children who stuttered and many who also experienced peer difficulties as a result of their stuttering. I started to wonder – what are the attitudes children have that lead them to treat their peers who stutter poorly? Can we change them? Will it make a difference?,” questioned Weidner.

In her clinical work, Weidner saw a patient who particularly increased her interest in learning more. The patient, a six-year-old who stuttered and was bullied in her classroom, told Weidner that she wouldn’t raise her hand in class. Weidner asked the patient to draw a picture of her stuttering.

“She drew a picture of a big black wall. The black wall was surrounded by colorful dots. She told me ‘this is what happens when my speech gets bumpy at school’,” said Weidner. “I asked a colleague to help me to manage this young patient’s emotional aspect of stuttering.”

As a result, Weidner and her colleague, Craig E. Coleman wrote a book. The book,  Tarby Comes Out of His Shell, was used for this patient and others in order to help them deal with stuttering.

Weidner’s interest in helping children who stutter continued to grow, and she felt that understanding and improving peer attitudes was a particularly important piece of the puzzle. Weidner started researching doctoral degree opportunities that would allow her to measure peer attitudes toward stuttering and to develop a program to change those attitudes.

She chose WVU for a few reasons. “I knew of Dr. St. Louis' work and we shared a lot of similar interests in stuttering research. I was also excited to be a part of something new – on the cusp of progress. I was thankful to have an opportunity to be a pioneer of the new program.” shared Weidner.

Dr. Kenneth O. St. Louis, professor of communication sciences and disorders at WVU has spent more than a dozen years researching the public attitudes towards adults who stutter. “Mary wanted to extend my work of adult perceptions on stuttering to children, so it was a great fit,” stated Dr. St. Louis. “In the third week of her program, she had the opportunity to meet personally the key players in the field at the first international symposium on public attitudes toward stuttering held here in Morgantown. She presented at that symposium and continued to produce ground-breaking research throughout her time here.”

According to Dr. St. Louis, the Ph.D. program’s success is grounded in matching a student’s interest to a faculty mentor’s ongoing research within the department. This mentorship allows students to be at the forefront of cutting-edge research.

For her dissertation research, Weidner developed a program using puppets as she had envisioned. The program,  Attitude Change and Tolerance, also known as  InterACT, is used to change kids’ perceptions of stuttering using educational videos and hands-on activities. Weidner scripted the puppetry videos, which consists of puppets representing children who are typically developing, as well as children who are in wheelchairs or who stutter. The program showed a significant effect on improving children's stuttering attitudes, and plans to replicate her study and expand the  InterACT program are underway.


WVU student veteran and athletes 'speak out' to the WVU Board of Governors

Jefferson Gwynn, Khairi Sharif, Michael Grove, Logan Wilson with Peluso

Three West Virginia University student athletes and one student veteran presented at the November Board of Governors meeting. These four students presented speeches prepared as part of Veterans Speak Out and Student Athletes Speak Out, programs led by Dr. Carolyn Peluso Atkins, a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders of the WVU College of Education and Human Services.

“This semester’s group had meaningful messages,” Atkins said. “While they are typically nervous about speaking before groups, they were especially anxious because of the particular attendees.  It is not often that students have the opportunity to speak before the Board of Governors. We appreciated President Gee’s invitation to do so.”

In 2010, Dr. Atkins launched Veterans Speak Out. This year, Jefferson Gwynn, an Army National Guardsman and WVU student from Wheeling, addressed the WVU BOG and the Alumni Association board of directors as part of the program.  In a speech titled, “Choosing Freedom,” Gwynn shared his thoughts on San Francisco’s 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick’s, action of refusing to stand for the National Anthem.  Kaepernick stated he would not stand for a country who “oppresses black people and people of color.”

Gwynn countered, “Do I agree that Colin Kaepernick and other have the freedom to sit during the National Anthem?  Yes.  Would I do that?  No.  Why? Because I understand that freedom doesn’t come free and I want to show respect to those who have paid for it.”

Gwynn, a third generation military member, understands that there are two sides to every issue, but stands his ground on the meaning of a “hope for a better tomorrow.”  Gwynn shared with the group what he feels it means to be American, stating that our flag represents our 50 states, the stripes the 13 union states, the star a symbol of the heavens, and colors representing purity, innocence, vigilance, perseverance, justice, bravery, and the patriotic blood spilled for this country. 

Gwynn concluded his speech reminding the audience to remember that “Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t carry just a piece of cloth to symbolize his belief in racial equality, he carried the American flag.”  Following the lunch, the three WVU athletes, wrestler Logan Wilson, baseball player Michael Grove, and football player Khairi Sharif, then addressed both boards and other WVU and Morgantown community members.

Sharif, an All-Big 12 Academic Second Team player from Houston, TX presented his speech “24 Hours.”  Sharif started playing football at age 6.  He focused on the meaning of perseverance in his speech, quoting the late artist Aaliyah, “at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again, try again,” sharing that the lyrics were embedded within his memory.

As a football player, Sharif was undersized and did not have the numbers or stats, but his work ethic was unmatched.  When he did not receive any offers on his high school signing day, his mother convinced him to persevere by attending a community college in California.  However, the team feeling he desired was not there. After enrolling at Houston Community College in 2014, he was encouraged to walk onto the WVU football team.

“The young man faced a lot of adversity to get there and a bit more once he got there, but he continued to work hard and persevere, 24 hours at a time,” Sharif stated in his speech.  “Now in case you haven’t realized, that young man is me.”

Sharif agreed with former Green Bay Packers Coach Coach Vince Lombardi, “Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.”  He concluded by quoting Eric Thomas, “Don’t think about what can happen in a month.  Don’t think about what can happen in a year.  Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and what you can do to get closer to where you want to be.”

In “Living the Creed,” Wheeling, WV native Michael Grove spoke on three things he has learned in his time as an athlete in both high school and college. “First, I learned to swallow my pride and take responsibility,” stated Grove. 

The second lesson learned was taught by his WVU baseball coach, Randy Mazey.  Mazey required the team to learn the Mountaineer creed and the acronym PHACE the first time they met.  PHACE stands for pride, humble confidence, accountability, commitment, and energy. According to Groves, both the creed and the acronym emphasize the idea of team before self and believing in yourself, while also having humility.

The third lesson Grove spoke about was to enjoy every minute of the game. “It goes by too fast, in the blink of an eye.  Sports embody the very spirit of commitment and competitiveness.  It leads to friendships, brotherhood and memories that last forever.”

The final speaker was wrestler Logan Wilson, a Maryland native, who spoke about “Learning from Adversity.”  At a young age, Wilson was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease that had been untreated for 8-12 weeks and had progressed into bacterial meningitis. He spent 16 days in Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC.

Despite the meager prognosis, Wilson continued to stay positive and strong.  “I’m reminded of the quotation you never know how strong you are until strong is the only option you have.”  Wilson credited his recovery to his dad’s continual commitment to his health.

“Parents often do amazing things for their children that are completely selfless.  Thinking only what’s in the best interest of their child.  [My dad] could have very well gone home and slept in his own bed and not had to eat at the hospital cafeteria.  He didn’t expect anything in return or want anything, just to be there for me,” stated Wilson.  “The quote that really sums up my experience is – ‘Hope is being able to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, despite all the darkness.”

Student Athletes Speak Out began in 1990, the brainchild of Dr. Atkins. The program was initiated as an opportunity to emphasize character education to middle school students.  For the past 26 years, Dr. Atkins has worked with student athletes in the program enhancing their public speaking and confidence and encouraging them to share their stories. Dr. Atkins has worked with athletes such as Canute Curtis, Darius Reynaud, Pat White, Steve Slaton, Major Harris, Tavon Austin, Averee Fields, Amos Zereoue, Da’Sean Butler, Johann Herber and numerous others through her program. 

The speeches were live streamed during the event.  Those interested may access the speeches by visiting  http://saso.wvu.edu.


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