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Ohio University Zanesville Student Awards

Ohio University Zanesville Student Awards

Michael Kline Spirit Award for 2020-2021 

Nominator: Sheryl House

Shae Burkhart

I am writing to nominate Shae Burkhart for the Mike Kline Spirit Award. Shae is currently a 3rd year nursing student in the BSN program.  I am nominating Shae because I feel he epitomizes the qualifications of this award.

On October 18, 2020 Shae experienced the tragic loss of his cousin Valerie Hickman, a 2nd year nursing student in our BSN program.  Shae and Valerie were very close and enjoyed spending time together.  They were together on the night of Valerie’s unexpected death. When Valerie became unresponsive, Shae assisted his cousin until first responders arrived.  

Valerie was not the only loss Shae would experience during the fall semester.  He experienced the loss of three close family members in less than a one-month period.  On October 23, 2020 he lost his Aunt Cathy following a terminal illness.  After assisting with the care of his grandmother Ann in her final days, Shae lost the matriarch of his tight knit family on November 6, 2020. 

To suffer such loss in a short time would be unbearable for most individuals to handle.  However, Shae persevered and successfully completed one of the most difficult semesters in the BSN program.  What is even more amazing is that he did this with minimal requests for accommodations. 

As Shae’s professor, I was aware of the multiple losses he was suffering because of relationships I have with some of his family members.  I anticipated him needing to request accommodations for multiple assignments and exams.  Shae only requested an extension on two assignments which he finished before the end of the semester.  I was astounded that he was able to keep up with the course content, especially since it was a 7-week course that began October 20, 2020. 

Dr. Susan Farus-Brown was dumbfounded when I shared with her what Shae was experiencing.  He had not shared with her the losses he was experiencing.  In Medical Surgical Nursing and Clinical Judgment, he made no requests for accommodations.  He finished all assignments, exams, and clinicals on time. 

The fact that Shae was able to face so much loss and meet the course objectives of all his nursing courses is nothing less than extraordinary.  Nursing is a rigorous program.  Students without these circumstances often struggle to find the balance needed to be successful. 

He is a phenomenal role model for his peers and faculty.  His perseverance through this difficult time and situation is beyond commendable. 


Ohio University Zanesville Special Achievement Award for 2020-2021 

Nominator: Gabriela Popa

Rachael Ladner

Rachael took the Survey of Astronomy class during the 2019-2020 academic year, and then Introduction to Physics class during the Fall semester of the 2020-21 academic year.

At the beginning of the fall semester, I asked her if she was willing to serve as a laboratory assistant in the Physics Lab. She immediately said yes to help me. Later I found that she was already working outside the school, and she still was willing to help.

Rachel did a great job not only helping out in the lab, where she did exemplary work by being always available in time, but also reading ahead to be able to best assist with the laboratory setup. Often, she surprised me with innovative ways to improve the laboratory setup and transmit it to the other students in the online environment. She also started helping out other classmates not only with laboratory questions but also with homework and giving them advice and sharing how she managed to complete classwork and laboratory work timely. With her positive attitude she brought sunlight in each class. Rachael is an education major, and I am confident that she will go above and beyond in her work as a teacher. 


Linn Academic Improvement Award for 2020-2021 

Nominators: Vicki Delucas and Ray Rotella

Brooke Cowgill Hall

Brooke Cowgill Hall is our nominee for the Linn Award.  Brooke has overcome many obstacles during her life but has never given up on her education.  Her father was diagnosed with brain cancer when Brooke was into her fall semester of 2012.  At her young age she was going to school full time, helping her mother and two younger sisters and helping to take care of her father.  This continued in Brooke’s life until her father passed in 2013.  Brooke left school during this time to help with family and returned in Spring of this year.  Her grades are excellent for the spring semester and Brooke is well on her way to completing her degree.  She is now married and has 3 children which she juggles with school and a family.

Brooke was ineligible for any federal financial aid due to her previous situation and to her defense she did appeal the denial of aid to Athens and was approved for aid based on her letter of appeal.  Mr. Rotella and myself have met and worked with Brooke and are proud of her accomplishments and her strive to better herself and her family.


Gene Steeves Outstanding Veteran Award for 2020-2021

Nominator: Sheryl House

Richard Miller

I am writing to nominate Richard Miller for the Gene Steeves Outstanding Veteran Award. Richard is currently a 1st semester Associate Degree (AD) nursing student.  I am nominating him because I feel he exemplifies the qualities of loyalty, dedication, and integrity that are requirements for this award. 

Richard has selflessly served his country for the past five years in the United States Army.  Currently, he actively serves in the United States Army Reserves.  In his soldier role, Richard is an Operating Room Specialist.  He assists in preparing his fellow comrades and operating rooms for surgery.  Additionally, he assists doctors and nurses in the care of military personnel undergoing surgery.  Richard has applied this training to his civilian life serving as a Surgical Tech at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital in Columbus. 

In Spring Semester of 19-20, Richard was enrolled in his first semester of the AD program.  He was a dedicated student who always attended class sitting in the front row.  During class he actively engaged and interacted in a positive manner with his peers.  Richard had made it clear he was determined to be successful in the nursing program. 

Unfortunately, his aspirations and plans had to change.  Covid-19 swept across the country changing the normal activities and routines of all citizens.  There were a lot of unknowns at the time and the assistance of the United States Army Reserves was needed by states to assist in preparing for an unknown surge of patients needing care for Covid-19 complications.

His unit was mobilized to assist hospitals across the country to prepare for the care and treatment of Covid-19 patients.  Richard’s loyalty, dedication, and integrity called him to action to serve his country during this great time of need.  This meant he had to selflessly put his goal of becoming a nurse on hold. Richard made the difficult decision to withdraw from his nursing courses.  There were a lot of unknowns and he felt that withdrawing would be a better option than an incomplete. 

Nursing school was not the only thing he had to give up.  He had to sacrifice his family life.  Richard is a husband to a “wonderful woman” and father to “two beautiful daughters.”

After serving his country during the pandemic, Richard made the decision to return to the AD program this semester.  His experience assisting with the Covid-19 response has made him even more determined to be successful and become a nurse. He is a phenomenal role model for all who know him.  His perseverance in serving his country while working to achieve his dream of becoming a nurse is commendable.  I feel he has the qualities and character that make him worthy of the Gene Steeves Outstanding Veteran Award.


Outstanding Student Award in Applied Management for 2020-2021

Nominators: Darci Wagner & Michael Schor

Sydnee Stephenson

Sydnee has been involved in the university even through the pandemic.  She was on the OUZ Shark Challenge team in 2020 where she and her team placed first.  She is leading the Shark Challenge team for OUZ in 2021 as well.  Sydnee continues to impress me academically and always puts her best foot forward.  Additionally, Sydnee is continually thinking about her future and has proactively met with me to discuss her career goals.


Outstanding Student Award in Communication Studies for 2020-2021

Nominator: Rita Ng

Tucker Zemba

Tucker Zemba has the GPA of 3.855 on a 4-point scale.  Not only has Tucker excelled academically, but he also has earned respect from his peers on and off campus through his social skills and work ethics.  Tucker is genuine, intelligent, focused, and disciplined.  He is truly an authentic and transformational leader.  I have the pleasure of having him in my classes as well as serving as his advisor for four years.  


Outstanding Student Award in Early Childhood Education for 2020-2021

Nominator: Teri Peasley

Brianne Wofter

The Early Childhood Education program would like to nominate Brianne Wofter for the 2020/2021 Outstanding Student Award.  We are nominating Brianne because she is a superior student who excels in all of her courses. She is a creative and intuitive student who will be an excellent early childhood educator upon graduation. Brianne is a leader in the program and supports her peers without question by sharing resources, providing feedback on projects and assignments, and being a good citizen within the program. Brianne is currently completing her primary internship and will graduate in May. During her pre-primary internship in the fall 2020 semester, her mentor teacher communicated that, "Brianne is hands-down the best student teacher that I have worked with in my 14 years in preschool. She is kind, caring, dedicated to her job, and willing to try new things. Brianne has grown so much as a teacher and even if she isn't feeling confident about her abilities, it doesn't show in her performance at all. She is going to be the best teacher! For these reasons, Brianne is our nominee and will represent OUZ well.


Outstanding Student Award in Middle Childhood Education for 2020-2021

Nominator: Ray Rotella

Brittany Huffman

Brittany Huffman is a middle childhood education student with concentrations in math and science.  She is an excellent student with a 3.826 grade point average.   She had earned an Associate’s degree in Applied Science and Radiological Technologies.  She worked as an radiological technician until she decided to become a teacher.  She has been working diligently at her classes while also maintaining a job.  She has been a vital part of the student services department here at Ohio University Zanesville as a student worker.  Brittany should be working at her internship in the spring and graduating at the end of next spring semester.  She deserves this award because of her intelligence and dedication to learning, her motivation and drive to perform her best, and her perseverance through all the course work that she has had to take.  She is more than simply a good student; she is a good person whose smile enlightens everyone with whom she comes in contact. She will be an outstanding teacher.


Outstanding Student Award in History for 2020-2021

Nominators: Korcaighe Hale and Morten Bach

Tyler Brown

Morten and I would like to nominate Tyler Brown for the history department award this year. He is a graduating senior in the program. Tyler has consistently performed at a high level during his time as a history major, as his impressive GPA (3.98) illustrates.  But good grades alone does not make an outstanding history major. Tyler also worked hard as a student employee and volunteered for the annual History Day contest.  He helped his fellow students with their history homework, and he has been a quiet leader among his colleagues.  He is well deserving of this award, and as he graduates at the end of the term we will miss him greatly in the department.


Outstanding Student Award in Human Biology for 2020-2021

Nominator: Mohannad Al-Saghir

Coulter Wilson

Coulter Wilson is ambitious, sincere, responsible, energetic, thoughtful, assertive attentive, pleasant, courteous, and punctual. He is a hardworking student that shows characteristics that contribute to achieving success in the academia. He is determined to persevere and gives his best and take advantage of opportunities his school has to offer.  By embracing such disciplined behavior and high standard, he is likely to achieve better grades and it really shows in his grades in my General Microbiology class and lab this semester.


Outstanding Student Award in Nursing (ADN Program) 2020-2021

Nominators: Pam Sealover and Nursing Faculty

Mercy Muthee

The Ohio University Zanesville Nursing department would like to nominate Mercy Muthee, a third semester associate degree student, for the Outstanding Student Award.  Mercy is an outstanding academic student that not only reaches to master the content but takes it one step further.  She demonstrates a sense of inquiry.  She wants to understand the “whys”.  This is a trait that I know will take her far during her lifetime.  Faculty describe her as dedicated, professional, and caring.

The associate degree program attracts a variety of different types of students who work side by side to meet their goal of becoming a nurse.  Mercy chose the Zanesville campus for its small classes and serenity of the campus.  She is an international student from Nairobi, Kenya who has stepped outside her comfort zone to fully embrace the campus and our program.

In addition to her academic achievements, she has emerged as a student leader.  She has served as a Bobcat Ambassador and a Links Peer Mentor.  She was also nominated to represent the campus in the 2019 Propel Ohio Collegiate Leadership Summit and was one of the 2021 Diversity First Leadership Award winners. 

The Ohio University Zanesville Nursing Faculty are proud to nominate Mercy Muthee for this award. 


Outstanding Student Award in Nursing (BSN Program) 2020-2021

Nominators: Teresa Polen and Nursing Faculty

Jared Lumbatis

I would like to nominate Jared Lumbatis for the Outstanding Student Award for the BSN Nursing Class.  Jared is a junior BSN nursing student and has served as a student worker for the nursing lab on the Zanesville campus for the last two years.  He also serves as Vice President of the Junior BSN SNAZ officers.  During his time on campus, he has been an exemplary role model to other nursing students.

Prior to beginning as a student worker for the nursing lab, he served as a tutor on the Zanesville campus.  His calm and easy approach in tutoring and assisting other students has earned him many appreciative messages from fellow students.  When students miss a nursing lab and have to make up fundamental nursing skills, Jared assists these students in a calm and non-judgmental way that puts students as ease.  He takes time to break things down so students can better understand the material or skill.  During COVID quarantine, he offered to permit students access to his internet so they could obtain a better internet signal and continue with their studies.  Whether students accepted or not, he presented the offer to better help his peers.

As a student worker, Jared accepts any responsibility willingly, no matter how difficult the task.  One such example was a tedious task involving creating suture cards for student checkoffs.  Jared was provided a video to learn to tie suture knots and he proceeded to watch the video and complete the suture cards.  Later, it became apparent that the video demonstrated a right-handed knot-tying approach and Jared is left-handed!  He modified the actions from the video to accommodate a left-handed knot and accomplished the task at hand.

In clinicals, Jared is always willing to assist others as well as help other nursing students to improve their clinical skills.  He does this while maintaining his calm and nonjudgmental demeanor.  Both students and nursing faculty appreciate and trust Jared’s feedback and assistance.  He is well appreciated as well as liked in his nursing class.

It is evident that Jared not only cares about others but personifies a well-respected nursing student.  He goes above and beyond in his duties not only as a student worker, but also through the interaction with fellow student nurses.  He personifies an exemplary role model nursing student and soon to be Registered Nurse. 


Outstanding Student Award in Psychology for 2020-2021

Nominators: Dev Poling and Frank LoSchiavo

Jenna Tysinger

The Psychology Department is proud to announce that Jenna Tysinger is this year's recipient of the Outstanding Student in Psychology Award. As a senior psychology major, Jenna has a 3.98 cumulative GPA, having earned either an A or an A- in all her major courses.

Jenna is exceptional, not only in terms of her academic performance, but also in terms of her maturity and her sense of responsibility. She has been active on campus as a peer mentor, and she has been eager to gain as much applied experience as possible. For example, Jenna has worked with children in several tutoring/mentoring positions, as a camp counselor through the Muskingum Valley Educational Services Center, and most recently as a special education intern at Zanesville High School. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Jenna plans to enter a graduate program in school psychology.


Outstanding Student Award in Social Work for 2020-2021

Nominators: Michel Coconis and Tracy Pritchard

Erica Roberts

Ms. Roberts first came to us as a student who was in the midst of overcoming a crisis in her personal life which left her unable to finish her education degree (3 credits shy) at a regional campus of another university. I was certain she meant to stay in education and sought to redirect her there. For a week she considered, knowing she’d have far less work to complete with that route. Still, she wanted a change. As a student who was expecting the birth of her 3rd child, I thought this might be rough. But some people, with proper social and familial support, can rise up to and above some obstacles. She most certainly did that. Her academic record is quite strong even if her grades do not show the 4.0 level, she can do that level of work – her thinking is complex and she does not settle for mediocre. She immediately joined the flailing Student Social Work Association, took a leadership role in a class project I ran, and similarly leads many discussions in our senior practice classes. Additionally, she became a member of our social work honorary, Phi Alpha (last year) and became President of the SSWA this year, holding bi-weekly meetings with students virtually and speaking to each class about the opportunities. She’s a shining star – for her peers, for her colleagues, for her church and personal family and her community and she is a most welcome member to the social work community!


Outstanding Student Award in Sport & Lifestyle Studies for 2020-2021

Nominator: Kathy Normansell

Elaina Pletcher

The Outstanding student award for the Sport and Lifestyle Studies program for 2020-21 for the Zanesville campus goes to Elaina Pletcher.  In a program built around leadership, Elaina is a natural.  She is looked to by her peers to be the leader of group projects, while still seeking to involve everyone. She is never afraid to speak out to provide her thoughts in class discussions.  Elaina’s contentiousness as a student means she completes assignments to the best of her ability, after ensuring she understands the assignment thoroughly.  She seeks clarification if needed and submits quality work always on time.  As a member of the National Guard, Elaina has pride in her service and volunteers above requirements.  Elaina’s personal commitment to a healthy and fit lifestyle is exemplary. She takes pride in her strength in and out of the weight room and classroom. For all these reasons, Elaina is a positive role model of the Sport and Lifestyle Studies major who well deserves the recognition of Outstanding student.