UAA Alumni Association announces recipients of 2006 Alumni and Friends Achievement Awards

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

The University of Alaska Anchorage Alumni Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2006 Alumni and Friends Achievement Awards.The annual awards luncheon will take place on Friday, Feb. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UAA Commons.

Alumna/Alumnus of the Year - Dawn Dooley
This award is presented to a UAA graduate who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and community service.

Dawn Dooley, UAA's Director of Residence Life, is this year's Alumna/Alumnus of the Year. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at UAA in 1990, a Master of Arts in 1994 and a second Master of Arts in 2004. "Dawn's work is important and influential," said Michael Votava, Associate Director for the Department of Residence Life. "She positively affects so many people including our students, our professional staff, and every other segment of our university population who benefit from interacting with students who live and learn in the safe environment Dawn has carefully crafted for them over time."

Community Service Award - JoEllen "Jody" Solmonson
This award is presented to a UAA graduate for exceptional service to the community through volunteer and professional activities.

The Community Service Award goes to JoEllen "Jody" Solmonson, who received her Master of Education from UAA in 1982. Jody is a schoolteacher for the Anchorage School District who has touched the lives of many children in a very positive way. "Jody is a Cracker Jack teacher who not only cares passionately about her students, but she also holds an excellent educational and personal standard for them," said Esther Cox, fellow UAA alum. "She sees her role as teacher as the one to help her students achieve high standards and to grow to their fullest potential."

University Service Award - Shenandoah "Shannon" Herda
This award is presented to a community member who has demonstrated dedication and inspiration in his or her volunteer service to the University (non-UAA graduates are eligible).

Shenandoah "Shannon" Herda received her Master of Arts in Teaching from UAA in 2005. Shannon is an outstanding teacher for the Anchorage School District, an active contributor to the UAA chapter of Kappa Delta Pi and International Honor Society in Education, and a member of the College of Education Advisory Board.

"Shannon's exemplary service as president of UAA's chapter is just one example of her commitment to UAA, the Anchorage community and children," said Dr. Donna Gail Shaw, Associate Dean for Student and Curriculum Affairs. "The College of Education is proud to have played a role in her teacher preparation."

Distinguished Teaching Award - Chad E. Morse; Dr. Jennifer Ritter
This award is presented to two UAA faculty members who have brought distinction and creativity to the classroom (non-UAA graduates are eligible).

Chad E. Morse is a Clinical Associate Professor in UAA's School of Social Work. "Professor Morse has distinguished himself in the classroom by challenging his students while providing the broadest opportunities to creatively express our learning experiences," said Lisa Wilson, a current graduate student in the School of Social Work. "He truly is a master artisan in the manner in which he molds his students into social workers and lifelong learners."

Dr. Jennifer Ritter is an Associate Professor for UAA's English Department and is also the Writing Center Coordinator. "She bends over backwards for her students, doing everything in her power to help them succeed," said Ruth Sensenig. "Her work in UAA's Writing Center demonstrates her commitment to helping all students, especially those who struggle to master the English language.

Staff Award for Excellence - Cyndi Spear
This award is presented to a UAA employee who has demonstrated excellence in the performance of duty (non-UAA graduates are eligible).

Cyndi Spear is this year's winner of the Staff Award for Excellence. Spear is the outgoing Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities & Campus Services. "Cyndi has left an indelible mark on UAA, not only in the projects and services she's led, but more importantly, on the people she's worked with - from students and staff, to faculty and community," said Annie Route, UAA's Director of Student Life. "Several of her staff described her as the best boss ever: a supervisor who cared about them as an individual, understood their challenges, and motivated them to become better employees."

The Alumni & Friends Achievement Awards were created in 1986 to honor individual alumni, faculty, staff, students and volunteers who have contributed their time, efforts and creativity to the promotion of UAA, the State of Alaska and the communities in which they live.

For more information on the Alumni & Friends Achievement Awards contact 786-1942.
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