UGA College of Education honors eight with 2006 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Athens, Ga. – The College of Education at the University of Georgia honored eight graduates for their career achievements and community leadership with distinguished alumni awards at its annual Spring Celebration on May 5 at The University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center & Hotel.

Crystal Apple Awards

Lisa A. Sheehy, a middle school teacher and mathematics coach at Gainesville Middle School, and Kathleen Thompson, an art teacher at Jasper Elementary School, received Crystal Apple Awards, an honor given to alumni in K-12 education who have made a significant impact on student, school or school district performance.

Sheehy (B.S.Ed. ’89, M.Ed. ’95, Ph.D. ’04) was recognized for her dedication and passion for teaching mathematics to students and her desire to help them succeed in their personal and professional lives.  She received the Outstanding First-Year Teacher Award at Dunwoody High School in 1990 and the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the Office of Instructional Development at UGA in 2002.

Thompson, (M.Ed. ’74, Ed.D. ’91) of Blue Ridge, received National Board Certification in art in 2002 and was named Art Educator of the Year in 2001 and Middle School Art Educator of the Year in 1992 by the Georgia Art Education Association.

She has been adjunct faculty at several north Georgia colleges, including Truett McConnell College, Brenau University, and Piedmont College. Thompson is also art partner coordinator for Character Through the Arts, one of many community organizations with which she is involved.

Alumni Service Award

Rachael Burton Dillon, (B.S.Ed. ’98) of Athens, received the Alumni Service Award for her outstanding and continued dedication in service and philanthropy to the college.

Dillon, a member of Leadership Athens and the Junior League of Athens, earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and taught elementary education for two years.  For the last three years, she has worked as part of senior management for Flowers, Inc. Balloons/Burton and Burton.

Since 2004, Dillon has served on the College’s capital campaign steering committee for the Archway to Excellence campaign.

Professional Achievement Award

Carol Kasworm, professor and head of the department of adult and community college education at North Carolina State University; Patrick Thompson, director of research in the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology at Arizona State University; and Craig Weidemann, vice president for outreach at Penn State University, received Professional Achievement Awards, an honor give to alumni in the midpoint of their careers who have demonstrated significant achievements in their fields.

Prior to joining North Carolina State, Kasworm (Ed.D. ’77) was the associate dean for research and technology for the College of Education at the University of Tennessee, interim senior vice president for academic affairs and provost and associate vice president for faculty and program development at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Kasworm was a Fulbright Hays Fellow in 1995 and used the fellowship to study in India. She was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in 2002.    

Thompson (M.Ed. ’77, Ed.D. ‘82) was professor of mathematics education at Vanderbilt University from 1997-2005 and served as chair of the department of teaching and learning from 2000-03.  In less than one year at ASU, he has become the principal investigator on a $4.5 million National Science Foundation grant.

To his credit, Thompson has three Fulbright lectures to Israel and 16 invited plenary lectures. He is currently the associate editor of the journal Research and Cognition.

As vice president for outreach at Penn State University, Weidemann (Ph.D. ‘82) oversees the largest outreach unit in the country, with an annual operating budget of over $120 million and more than 800 employees.

Prior to joining Penn State in 2003, Weidemann served as vice provost and executive assistant to the president of the University of Maryland.

In 2005, the University Continuing Education Association honored him with its most prestigious award, the Julius M. Nolte Award for Extraordinary Leadership.  He currently serves as a commissioner for the American Council on Education Commission on Lifelong Learning.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Julia V. Clark, program director of the Teacher Professional Continuum Program in the Directorate of Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Lawrence Gerstein, professor of psychology and doctoral program training director for the department of counseling psychology at Ball State University, were recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards for their outstanding success and significant impact in their fields.

Clark (M.Ed. ‘67) has served on a detail assignment to Congress for four years handling legislative issues in science and education in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

Preceding her directorship at NSF, Clark served on the faculty at Texas A&M, Howard, Clark Atlanta and Albany State universities and Morris Brown College.  She currently serves as chair and is a Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science Education Committee.

Clark’s numerous awards include the American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in Science Education, W.K. Kellogg National Fellow and the Outstanding Achievement in Government in Science and Technology.

Gerstein (M.A. ’76, Ph.D. ’83) has recently been named director of Ball State’s Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. He has been recognized for his work in the international peace movement, particularly his work to establish peace in Tibet as president of the International Tibet Independence Movement, which he co-founded with Thubten Jigme Norbu, the oldest brother of the Dalai Lama.

In 2004, the American Psychological Association (APA) honored Gerstein with its Humanitarian Award and named him a Fellow, Division 17, in 1994.  He received the Kitty Cole Human Rights Award from the American Counseling Association, in 1999.

Gerstein co-edited and contributed to Handbook for Social Justice in Counseling Psychology: Leadership, Vision, and Action, a highly anticipated text in the field, in 2005.