2019 Award Recipients
Kimberly Terry Lane, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry
Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor Award
Dr. Lane’s passion for teaching and commitment to her students is clearly illustrated in her activities since coming to Radford University eleven years ago. As Chair of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Approval Committee, Dr. Lane coordinated a complete revision of the Chemistry curriculum, including the proposal and implementation of new courses, redesign of existing courses, and the design of new degree concentrations. She is a member of the REALISE team working to better align and map the General Chemistry curriculum to the content needs of the students across all the science majors. Last year, the department successfully completed an 18-month application process, including a meeting with the ACS Committee on Professional Training and an on-site evaluation of our program.
As the sole faculty member responsible for Biochemistry related courses, Dr. Lane initiated and coordinated the use of ICM-Pro software in the classroom and research laboratory for the visualization and manipulation of the structures of biomolecules as well as the purchase of a full-color 3D printer.
Dr. Lane helps with retention of first-year students teaching sections of UNIV 100 for Chemistry majors and developing CHEM 160, a seminar course for first-year students. She also developed the first Medicinal Chemistry course which truly ties together multiple disciplines, and encourages students to consider prerequisite knowledge from a variety of sources. As a part of this course, she organized field trips and brought in outside speakers to introduce students to topics relevant to the course. She regularly attends chemistry education workshops offered at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, as well as symposia at regional and national American Chemical Society (ACS) meetings. She then works to implement ideas in her teaching, reviews her teaching practices and tries out new methods. She also mentors undergraduate research students both during the regular school year and during the summer as Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship recipients. Several of these students have been co-authors with her on recent journal articles. As one colleague noted – “Kim might be the nicest most genuine person I know and yet she is clear, fair, consistent, and holds students to high standards.” Students write that “Dr. Lane is hands down the best professor I ever had at Radford University,” and that “… the way she teaches, it all comes together nicely and that will give me an advantage when I’m studying for the MCAT.”
In addition to her normal student advising activities, she has been a faculty advisor for Quest, advising incoming freshmen on programs in Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Geospatial Science, and Anthropological Science. Additionally, she serves as the advisor for the pre-pharmacy students in the Radford University Pre-Health Advising Program, providing guidance in preparation for pharmacy graduate programs and participating in mock interviews.
Dr. Lane has been active in the local community, performing Magic of Chemistry shows for K-12 students, co-directing the Blue Ridge Highlands Regional Science Fair for middle and high school students, and teaching a class for high school girls in the Radford University Summer Bridge program. As one colleague succinctly stated, “Kim has established herself as a master teacher, an accomplished researcher who finds success with undergraduates students, a leader in the Department, and asset to the surrounding community.”
Samantha Powell is a first-generation college student in her third year at Radford University, double majoring in Chemistry and Biology. She is not only an outstanding student and colleague, she is a mature, kind, and responsible individual who has quickly integrated both academically and socially at Radford University. In the spring of 2017, she began performing original research in Dr. Lane’s laboratory, investigating the enzyme beta-glucuronidase from Escherichia coli; she will be continuing this work this academic year, expanding into new techniques. In a second project, Samantha has been working with Dr. Timothy Fuhrer, looking at the decision-making process and educational patterns of Nobel Prize-winning scientists – work that was presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in April 2019.
To help share this impactful experience with other students, Samantha is partnering with the ACS division of Professional Relations to host a symposium at the spring 2020 national meeting for first-generation college undergraduates to present their research. The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion for students to share about struggles and successes, building community that will benefit these students throughout their scientific careers.
Samantha is extremely active around the Department of Chemistry, as well as the greater Radford University community. Aside from her research, Samantha is a Chemistry laboratory teaching assistant, REALISE student, and president of the Student Affiliates of the ACS Chemistry Club. She is in her second semester as a Peer Instructor with Dr. Lane, co-teaching a section of UNIV 100 for Chemistry majors. Samantha is also Chief Financial Officer for the Student Government Association and a Global Ambassador for the GAP.
In short, Samantha Powell truly exemplifies the best characteristics of a Highlander student.
Darryl L. Corey, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics Education
Distinguished Faculty Advising Award
Dr. Darryl Corey has served as faculty adviser for over 100 graduate students in Mathematics Education since arriving at Radford University in the fall of 2015. His advising load has increased from 33 to 103 because of his efforts in recruiting and retaining graduate students. While the vast majority of the students are full-time in-service mathematics teachers, they come from 30 school districts across the Commonwealth with divergent needs and challenges. He builds and sustains relationships with students through four core principles – caring for students and their success; accessibility; individualized advising; and serving as a role model. He listens carefully to assess their needs and goals in order to create a successful experience for them, one that leads to meeting their academic and professional goals. According to a former student of Dr. Corey’s, “Throughout life, there are a handful of people who you will meet that have such a profound impact on you that it’s as if their presence forever changes the course of your future.” The student further notes that, “Darryl helps to find creative solutions to situations that arise, and I can always rely on him to be ready to communicate, to know an answer, find an answer, or be able to handle a problem in a short period of time.”
Dr. Corey’s value to his students is described by one - “Every student needs an advisor as strong, dedicated, goal-oriented, and supportive as Dr. Corey. He is excited about the professional and academic growth and milestones of his students. He is invested in his students.” Furthermore says one student, “Without his hard work and dedication to the education of his students, I would not be able to walk across the stage this spring.” He individually tailors, facilitates and reviews each student’s progress through their curriculum and research. He accomplishes this level of interaction even though he rarely meets students face-to-face as the program is offered entirely online. As one colleague noted, “Someone who doesn’t work closely with Dr. Corey might assume that it’s impossible to advise so many students individually and with care - and yet I have witnessed him do it.”
Dr. Corey, knowing that a major concern for students is how to finance their education, pursues and has secured almost $310,000 in external funding for tuition assistance. As one student made clear, “I was relieved to know that I would not have to take a huge financial hit because there were grants in place to assist me.” Additionally, he has secured opportunities for them to participate in a summer NASA institute for high school teachers in Hampton, VA. One attendee said that “This life changing experience has changed how my students will experience learning in my classroom forever.”
As one colleague concludes, “Dr. Darryl Corey’s dedication to improving the welfare of our university, his students, teachers, and his profession is truly outstanding and admirable.”
Dr. Corey earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Florida State University. He received a B.A. in Mathematics, and an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Hampton University, Hampton, VA.
Ms. Megan Julien is currently a student in the M.S. in Education-Mathematics Education online program. Megan is also a full-time mathematics teacher at Syms Middle School in Hampton, Virginia where she currently teaches Algebra and Geometry to a diverse population of students, most of whom are from historically marginalized populations. Her students have been able to achieve a 100% pass rate on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) standardized mathematics tests. Megan knows how to motivate and challenge students to perform and think at higher levels. She has been very successful in the classroom in part because she is intentional about continuously improving her own professional and academic growth. Last summer for example, Megan attended Radford University’s NASA Institute for High School Mathematics held at NASA Langley Research Center. The institute helps teachers learn how to integrate real NASA engineering and technology into their mathematics instruction. Megan used this opportunity to create Algebra and Geometry lessons around the concept of “engineering a NASA satellite.”
When asked why she became a teacher, Megan responded, “I became a teacher because I enjoy learning! Of course, I enjoy teaching, but teaching to me is learning something new every day. I want to pursue a life long journey of learning how to improve the lives of others, how to effectively teach math with new and developing technologies, and how to teach students who have previously doubted they can learn.” Her goal as a mathematics educator is to increase the number of historically marginalized students who seek to pursue careers in STEM. After completing her master’s degree here at Radford University in spring 2020, Megan plans to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in STEM Management at Hampton University.
Dr. Corey notes that “In my opinion one of Megan’s most salient characteristics and, to my mind, one of the most important, is that she is first and foremost a humanist. Her system of beliefs informs her actions and defines the postures that she takes on educational issues without exception.”
Connie S. Leathers, M.S., IT Support Specialist/Trainer
Anna Lee Stewart Award for Contributions to Faculty Development
Ms. Leathers has been an Information Technology Trainer at Radford University since 2015, assisting faculty with integrating new technologies and instructional modes into their courses. She has developed and delivered training programs for faculty and staff for Windows, D2L, Office 2016 and Office 365/One Drive. She has also authored numerous help articles for the University’s IT knowledge base. In particular, since April 2016 she has served at the lead IT support person for the Davis College of Business and Economics, where she has become relied upon as a one shop stop for faculty’s IT issues. She has assisted with the development of assessment strategies for the Core A curriculum. Most recently she has been assisting with technology training for faculty at Radford University Carilion.
Faculty and staff identify Ms. Leathers as one of the most exceptional IT support person they have worked with. As one reference observed, “From troubleshooting IT problems within the classroom (often at very short notice) to helping faculty select the right technology to enhance her pedagogy, Connie is always at everyone’s side whenever they need her.” Consequently the reference notes that “She’s undoubtedly the best IT support person I have ever had the fortune of working with.” Another faculty member describes how “When things will not work, cannot be completed, or seem impossible, Connie is the person to call. She is a pleasure to work with and finds ways to do the incredible with a perseverance that makes everyone around her better.” Likewise another reference explains how “Ms. Leathers is the epitome of a caring, supportive, and engaging technologist. Ms. Leathers is constantly looking at innovative ways to improve patrons’ experience; Ms. Leathers meets our faculty and our students where they are. That is what makes her the ideal recipient of this award.” Another faculty member, like others, appreciates that “that the types of issues many of my colleagues and I bring to Connie daily cannot normally be deciphered with a quick scan of her remedial knowledge set. She often must do hours of research to solve these problems.” One faculty member sums up her contributions in stating that “An enabler, advisor, and strategic partner: Ms. Leathers is an extraordinary individual. Her dedication and commitment is not forced upon her because of any job description or mandate. It is due to her internal drive to help, develop, and make Radford University a better place.”
Ms. Leathers credits her parents, both professors, with providing her with models on how to be a teacher and offer support to her students. Her father was a Professor at Radford University and her mother at New River Community College. She has taught special needs students in grades 1-8 and developed a student-centered philosophy in doing so. Ms. Leathers appreciates the opportunity to get to know Radford University students herself by teaching UNIV 100 each year. More than teaching the course, Ms. Leathers has worked with the Director for UNIV 100 to coordinate and implement the online D2L textbook.
Ms. Leathers obtained a Master’s in Education with a specialty in Learning Disabilities and minor in Psychology from Radford University. She earned a B.S. in Upper Elementary Education from Radford University. She also has Associate’s degrees in Pre-Teacher and Computer Information Systems, both from New River Community College.
Trevor Testerman is a Criminal Justice major with a double minor in Sociology and International Studies. He has been on the Dean’s List a total of four times since his freshman year here at Radford. He has been inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, which is a nationwide recognized honor society. Being a member of this society requires each member to have a minimum GPA of 3.40 and to be within the top 20% of your graduating class. He has also been inducted into a National Criminal Justice Honor Society, Alpha Phi Sigma, which requires each member to maintain a GPA above 3.20. Alpha Phi Sigma is a highly recognized Criminal Justice Honor Society among the police and humanities field, to which many criminal justice professionals are members.
Outside of school, he has had the opportunity to do a Ride-Along with Blacksburg Police Department. He has also volunteered at Pulaski County Animal Shelter. Trevor works at Al's on First, while also being a full-time student. He has worked there approximately 4 years. In addition to work and school, he also helps coach a recreational soccer team in Pulaski, with young people aged 9-12 years old.
Corey H. Cassidy, Ph.D., Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Associate Dean of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services
Administrative and Professional Excellence Award
Dr. Cassidy is an exemplary leader who offers continuous support, advice and mentorship to faculty, staff and students. Her goal is to bring enthusiasm, diligence, and passion to her work every day. She leads, interacts and collaborates with others in a cheerful, encouraging and engaging manner. “Everyone raves about how easy she is to work with, how she gets things done,” according to one colleague, though many use similar words to describe their experiences with her. “Corey is everywhere and involved in so many projects that really matter.” She mentors faculty seeking tenure and promotion, developed an infrastructure to support faculty research and scholarship, and has helped make the faculty at Radford University Carilion (RUC) feel welcomed.
Dr. Cassidy is both visionary and innovative. She can conceive ideas and then develop them into successful initiatives that have a lasting impact on the University. “She continually innovates and broadens the programming and quality of education our students receive,” notes a colleague. Another colleague says, “Anyone who knows Corey will have dozens of examples of her willingness to help others.” One example cited by a colleague is the Preschool Language Lab program, an intensive summer clinic for children six and under with speech and language disorders. Another example is her work promoting interprofessional communication, including the Waldron College of Interprofessional Practice and Education Symposium and the Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice. She has taken student engagement to the next level by establishing the college’s Annual Waldron College Interprofessional Symposium and Expo, featuring outside speakers and community partners.
Over the last year she has worked diligently to support the merger with the Jefferson College of Health Sciences, serving on the Academic Programs and Accreditation Subcommittee and as co-chair of four different merge working groups. Dr. Cassidy also serves the New River community through Project Sprout, a service learning program she established that provides developmental support to families with young children experiencing homelessness or living in poverty. Beyond all this, one colleague reports that, “She continues to teach courses in her area of expertise, maintains her own scholarship through her own research and publications, and speaks at numerous professional conferences.”
Dr. Cassidy earned the Ph.D. in Health Sciences at Trident University in Cypress, CA. She received her B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from James Madison University and the M.S. in Communication Disorders from Appalachian State University. She is serving as Associate Dean of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services.
Jessica Berry is currently a graduate student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and holds the Bachelor’s degree in this field. Jessica has demonstrated the ability to combine theoretical and evidence-based material with clinical application processes. She has had the opportunity to interact with students, clients, caregivers, and clinical supervisors as a graduate clinician in the RU Speech-Language and Hearing Center. Time and again, she has presented strong critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills to best serve her clients’ needs. Jessica has also met the challenges of working with each of her clients while maintaining a high level of professionalism. The skills she has demonstrated as a result of these clinical experiences are considered outstanding for a graduate clinician.
In addition to her educational and clinical achievements, Jessica has also served as Dr. Corey’s graduate assistant (GA) for the past academic year. One of her many roles as a GA includes the coordination of a service-learning project entitled Project Sprout. When presented with this responsibility, she jumped right in and has never looked back! Jessica has played a significant role within both the training and implementation components of the project over the past year. This program involves the implementation of a 10-hour training program for undergraduate and graduate student volunteers, coordination of the volunteers with the community liaisons, and implementation/direct supervision of the site visits with families and children in the community. As the graduate coordinator of Project Sprout, Jessica has coordinated communication with her peers, while also collaborating effectively with the students and community partners who are engaged in this project; she has been an exceptional team player while also demonstrating strong leadership skills.
Jessica is an outstanding student and will be an exceptional speech-language pathologist. She is passionate about helping others and is dedicated to working to the best of her abilities, regardless of the challenges that are presented. She is already an asset to those who have benefitted from her service in the healthcare and human services arena.