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Alumni, Faculty and Students Honored for Excellence
May 9, 2017

By James Sheehan

Celebrating what Interim Dean Mariale Hardiman called “the incredible impact and talent of our special award recipients,” the School of Education held its fourth annual Society of Excellence Awards ceremony on May 5.

“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Assistant Clinical Professor Eric Rice, as honorees gathered. “Celebrating all the great things these folks have been doing—it’s very gratifying.”

In all, 15 awards—the school’s highest honors—were presented to faculty, alumni and degree candidates during the evening event.

Since 1992, the Alumni Association has presented the Excellence in Teaching Award to outstanding faculty, based on nominations by current students. This year’s recipient was Aparna Ramaswamy, visiting assistant professor of counseling and human development, who was praised by her students as “caring, passionate, authentic and inspiring” and commended for providing “realistic, supportive and nonjudgmental guidance.”

The Edward F. Pajak Award, presented to a visionary K-12 school leader who is an alum of the Doctor of Education (EdD) program, went to Jimmie Lyn Walker, EdD ’16. The first Johns Hopkins scholar to be honored with the Carnegie Project’s Dissertation of the Year award, Walker is now academic dean for instruction in San Antonio, Texas, with responsibilities for three elementary schools and more than 2,500 students.

The 10 awards given in recognition of exceptional student accomplishment marked some of the evening’s highlights.  

“This means a lot to me,” said Zyrashae Smith, of her Student Excellence Award for the Educational Studies Interdisciplinary Option, presented by Rice. “It wasn’t always easy, but professors like Dr. Rice were always there for me and made me feel I could reach out.”

Associate Professor Christopher Dreisbach, who served as the event’s master of ceremonies, accepted the Student Excellence Award in Intelligence Analysis on behalf of recipient Kate Lowe, who could not attend the event in person. “But remember, Kate is an intelligence analyst,” Dreisbach reassured the audience. “It’s quite possible she’s listening in.”

The following awards were presented to faculty, alumni and degree candidates:

JHU Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award
Aparna Ramaswamy, PhD

Al Thormeyer Award
Megan O’Leary

Dianne Tobin Memorial Award
Kimberly Sterin, MAT ’12

Edward F. Pajak, Jr. Award
Jimmie Lynn Walker, EdD ’16

The MEHP Alumni Award
Marjorie Runyon Jenkins, MD, MEHP ’15

Student Excellence Awards

Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Mary Guirguis Hanna

School Counseling
Tracey Gearhart

Educational Studies, TFA
Adam Mogilevsky

Educational Studies, Interdisciplinary
Zyrashae Smith

Administration and Supervision
Sharonda Willingham

Special Education
Hannah Temme

Intelligence Analysis
Kate Lowe

Organizational Leadership
John Warchal

Undergraduate
Dennis Delp

MEHP
Rachel Salas, M.D.

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