Faculty, Staff, and Students Recognized at COE Annual Awards Ceremony

On May 13, the College of Education held its annual Awards Ceremony to recognize faculty, staff and students who demonstrate excellence in scholarship, mentorship, teaching and service. This year’s award recipients include: 

Excellence in Teaching: Drew Fagan

  • Dr. Fagan is an enthusiastic, brilliant, and passionate teacher. His course laid a solid foundation on language acquisition and development and fueled my thirst to learn more through coursework, professional development, and workshops.

Excellence in Graduate Mentorship (tie): Cixin Wang and Jennie Lee-Kim

  • Dr. Wang has fostered a lab environment built on high-quality research, continued collaboration, accomplishing goals, and personal and professional support.
  • Dr. Lee-Kim worked hard to help us find strategies in dealing with teaching and grading during the pandemic…she pressed us to take care of our own mental health, and argued convincingly that we could not give to our undergrads if we would drain ourselves of energy and motivation entirely.

Excellence in Faculty Mentorship: Natasha Mitchell

  • Dr. Mitchell has consistently shown a deep commitment to mentoring and professional development of tenure-track and professional-track faculty colleagues. She exemplifies how to lead the development of sustained relationships and empowerment of faculty, with strong impacts on the larger COE community.

Excellence in Scholarship, Pre-Tenure Faculty: Sophia Rodriguez

  • We trust this letter makes clear our respect for Sophia’s remarkable record of scholarly accomplishments, her generous investment in the development of aspiring and early career scholars of color, and her commitment to research that can uplift the immigrant youth and the communities she studies.

Excellence in Scholarship Award, Professional-Track Faculty: Loren Jones

  • I have been totally amazed at the level of scholarship she has produced in this high intensity teaching and administrative position in just four years. While scholarship in the form of published works is not expected, Dr. Jones has demonstrated her work as a scholar at a rate that even surpasses what an assistant professor, tenure track would likely have attained in four years.

Excellence in Outreach: Angela Stoltz 

  • I had never seen the type and depth of progress that Dr. Stoltz has made with the indigenous communities of Maryland. She used her unique and powerful position within the University to try to heal old wounds and create new opportunities and avenues of cooperation and collaboration.

Excellence in Service: Amy D’Agati 

  • Ms. D’Agati deserves the highest recognition for her vision, dedication, and perseverance in bringing the TerpsEXCEED program to the University of Maryland. Her exceptional leadership and unwavering drive to advocate for, initiate, fund, and launch the flagship inclusive higher education program for the state of Maryland at the University of Maryland is beyond remarkable.

Outstanding Exempt Staff: Jennifer Haislip  

  • The mission of the College of Education is to enhance the lives of individuals, families, schools, and communities through our research, teaching, and engagement. Ms. Haslip helps fulfill this mission through her kind and competent engagement with individuals and families in a school community every day.

Outstanding Non-Exempt Staff: Maria Izursa 

  • Maria is typically the first person one encounters when arriving in the Dean’s Office and is the best “first” representative of the Dean. She deftly fields inquiries, assists with those using college spaces, triages maintenance requests, and provides support to the College Senate, as well as many high profile search committees. Her amazing support is so omnipresent, that some may consider her accomplishments to be a normal part of her duties. But, in fact, she has excelled above and beyond to help the College of Education during this time of transition.

Outstanding Doctoral Student: Lydia HaRim Ahn 

  • Simply put Lydia does it all! Moreover, she does it at an outstanding level. Lydia is truly  an outstanding student and the COE’s reputation will be enhanced by Lydia’s future professional accomplishments. Lydia's CV includes 33 refereed presentations at national and international conferences. She is an effective and committed teacher, and a selfless, dedicated, and highly involved servant leader.

Outstanding Master's Student: Ashani Jayasekera 

  • Ashani excels as an instructor and a student. She has a curious mind and is actively involved in research projects, presenting her work at international conferences. Ashani has also stepped up to be a leader in our graduate program, serving as the Vice President for Communication for our graduate student organization.

Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Laura Ponturiero

  • Laura is passionate about social studies content has a strong desire to make it meaningful for her current and future students. Laura has a calm and easy-going demeanor with a genuine smile (evident even behind the mask).  I believe each will be the foundation for a classroom culture that is warm and supportive; a place where all students can succeed.

*Excerpts were taken from the awardee's nomination letter.