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College of Education > News and Publications > News: April - June 2010 > Congratulations Students (compiled May 2010)

Congratulations Students (compiled May 2010)

An article acknowledging College of Education students for their accomplishments

Jordan West and Edward Smith, graduate students in the College Student Affairs program, have won the Exemplary Social Justice Contribution by a Graduate Student Award from the Commission for Social Justice Educators, a commission of the American College Personnel Association. The award honors full-time graduate students who have demonstrated leadership and activism in the area of social justice on campus and have modeled the qualities of a positive change agent in their community.

West and Smith were recognized for their exemplary work with the Ubuntu Intergroup Dialogue Program at Penn State. The mission of the Ubuntu Program is to provide structured, sustained, and facilitated face-to face meetings for people from different and often conflicted social identity groups. These encounters are designed to offer an open and inclusive space where participants can foster a deeper understanding of diversity and social justice issues through experiential activities, pedagogical interventions, individual and small-group reflections, and intergroup dialogues.



Kristy Potts ‘09 Chem, a master’s degree student in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in science education, has been awarded a prestigious Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) fellowship. This year, KSTF awarded 13 fellowships to men and women who have earned a bachelor’s degree in science, engineering, or mathematics and who plan to teach science and math at the high school level.

Potts’s fellowship, which begins June 1, is renewable for up to five years. During the first year, she plans to complete her Penn State master’s program. She then hopes to secure a full-time high school teaching position near Philadelphia, whereupon her fellowship would fund further activities. These activities would include attendance at periodic fellows' meetings to be held in various cities nationwide, where participants converse with other teaching fellows and gain exposure to a variety of resources, curriculum materials, research, and experts in the field. Potts would also participate in electronic discussions with the other fellows, develop and implement a personal professional development plan each summer, and complete a portfolio every year.

Financially, the fellowship provides tuition assistance, summer stipends, and funds for professional development.  Potts also is eligible for small grants to supply classroom materials.



Jason E. Gines and Alexa Hodge, students in Penn State’s Department of Counselor Education, Counseling Psychology and Rehabilitation and Human Services, received individual awards recently from the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Association (PRA). Gines accepted the PRA Graduate Student Award for Leadership and Advocacy, and Hodge received the Association’s Undergraduate Student Award for Leadership and Advocacy. The presentations were made at PRA’s annual Professional Development Institute, held April 22 at the Harrisburg Area Community College.

Gines graduates in May 2010 with an M.Ed. in the Rehabilitation Counseling program. He plans to enter Penn State’s doctoral program in Counselor Education and Supervision in August. Professor Keith B. Wilson nominated Gines for the award, saying that “Jason is an academically gifted student who is the co-author of two recent publications and an advocate for all.”


Hodge, an undergraduate student in the Rehabilitation and Human Services program, is enrolled in Penn State’s McNair Scholars Program. Associate Professor Liza Conyers nominated her for the award, saying that Hodge has a passion for improving the quality of life of those in need along with reducing disability stigma in the community. Hodge has received academic honors such as the Dean’s List, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and induction into the Golden Key International Society.