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College of Education > News and Publications > 2020: 04-06 news > Ashley Patterson earns Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award

Ashley Patterson earns Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award

An assistant professor of education, Ashley Patterson is this year’s winner of the Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award, the Penn State College of Education’s annual accolade made possible by Joan and David Cotterill to recognize faculty or staff for exemplary performances and leadership efforts.

Colleagues and students alike have said they are better off for having worked with or been mentored by Ashley Patterson.

The assistant professor of education is this year’s winner of the Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award, the Penn State College of Education’s annual accolade made possible by Joan and David Cotterill to recognize faculty or staff for exemplary performances and leadership efforts. The award includes resources for professionally related activities, including participation in conference, seminars and sabbaticals.

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Ashley Patterson, right, is this year's winner of the College of Education's prestigious Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award.
Among Patterson’s many professional, community and service endeavors are the Social Justice Collaborative, the D.C. Social Justice Fellowship, the Educational Policy Fellowship Program, the College of Education social justice minor, among many more.

Doctoral student Kaela Fuentes-Packnick, who this year was the recipient of the Graduate Student Recognition Award, praised Patterson as an adviser and mentor.

“From even before I arrived at Penn State, I felt that we were a good fit,” Fuentes-Patrick said. “Dr. Patterson never fails to very quickly and effectively get back to me with anything I need help with, whether it be coursework, my teaching responsibilities, my own research, or just general life and career advice. Her mentorship when I first began teaching undergraduate courses was unmatched. 

“Having spoken with graduate students across the college and the university, I have come to realize just how fortunate I am to have Dr. Patterson as my adviser. Her never-ending support, flexibility, willingness to listen, offer completely unbiased advice with a lack of ego driving our relationship as adviser/advisee appears to be a very unique experience among many graduate students and their advisors,” she said.

Doctoral student Gabriel Acevedo has had Patterson as an adviser since his first day in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction Ph.D. program.

“She has always been an incredibly dedicated and supportive advisor. Ashley always had faith in my teaching, my research, and she was always there to listen and guide me through this process,” Acevedo said. “She was tough when she needed to be, pushed me when you saw I was stuck, comforted me when I was losing it, and was a calming voice during the last stretch.

“I am not sure any words can explain how grateful I am to call her an adviser, an academic mom, colleague, but above all a friend.”

Patterson and assistant professor of education Efraín Marimón met five years ago at faculty orientation. “Given our shared passion for educational equity and social justice, we instantly connected,” Marimón said.

The two of them work together on the D.C. Social Justice Fellowship the Social Justice in Education minor, among other programs. 

“We designed the fellowship to encourage our students to make meaningful connections in fellowship and design a curriculum that challenged our students to think critically about today’s pressing issues using experiential teaching methods,” Marimón said.

“Dr. Patterson has demonstrated a parallel excellence in teaching, supervision, practice and leadership. She is wonderful with the students. She not only helps students with the day-to-day skills needed to be effective in their placements but also with the larger picture of finding their voices as teachers and advocates.”

Marimón said Patterson does not just facilitate sessions, she makes meaningful connections with the participants and inspires others to reach beyond their potential.

“In the last few years alone, participants have shared countless stories about the impact of her workshops on their classrooms and community work,” he said. “Ashley’s ability to connect with people across wide spectrums of experience, perspective and background is something that makes her a warm person, creative educator, and without a doubt the most deserving person for the Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award.”

Award winners are:

  • Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award: Ashley Patterson
  • Outstanding Teaching Award: Uju Anya
  • Outstanding Senior Researcher Award: Gerald LeTendre
  • Outstanding Junior Researcher Award: Jennifer Frank
  • Career Achievement Award: Simon Hooper
  • Climate Enhancement Award: JT Taylor
  • Outstanding Staff Award: Megan Foster and Darlene Kolesar
  • Graduate Student Recognition Award: Kaela Fuentes-Packnick
  • Undergraduate Student Leadership and Service Award: Taylor Young

Jim Carlson (April 2020)