College of Education and Health Professions to Honor Top Students, Notable Alumni

Alicia Welch, from left, Sarah Fisher and Samuel Skelton
Photos Submitted

Alicia Welch, from left, Sarah Fisher and Samuel Skelton

Alicia Welch of Elkins is the Presidential Scholar this year for the College of Education and Health Professions. Welch is a junior majoring in the exercise science track of kinesiology with a minor in nutrition. She plans to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy.

The university recognizes one student in each college each year as a Presidential Scholar, based on grade-point average, other academic accomplishments and faculty recommendations. The award was established in recognition of the investiture of James E. Martin as president of the university in 1980. The winner receives $1,500.

Welch is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and is on the Chancellor's and Dean's lists. Last year, she won the college's Henry G. and Stella Hotz Award for the outstanding sophomore.

This year's Hotz award winners are junior Sarah Fisher and sophomore Samuel Skelton. The award is presented to the top student in the junior and sophomore classes based on grade-point average and other academic accomplishments.

Fisher, of Mulberry, is majoring in communication disorders and plans to attend graduate school and become a speech-language pathologist. She would like to work in an Arkansas school district.

Fisher has been on the Chancellor's List since 2015 and has received multiple scholarships.

Skelton, of Springdale, is also majoring in communication disorders and plans to attend graduate school and become a speech-language pathologist.

The three students will be recognized at the college's annual honors and awards banquet this evening in the Verizon Ballroom in the Arkansas Union.

The college will also recognize senior scholars, Honors Program graduates, departmental student award winners and departmental alumni award winners.

Senior Scholars

First-Ranked Senior Scholars have a 4.0 GPA with all coursework completed at the University of Arkansas. They are Tatianna Balis, Natalie Braithwaite, Aubrey Burton, Caroline Fortson, Sarah Halford, Emily Merton, Allison Overdorf, Lauren Phillips, Anne Schexnayder, Samantha Thomas, Chelsea Walker and Paige Whitlock.

Senior Scholars have a 4.0 GPA with at least half of their coursework completed at the U of A. They are Bethany Adams, Haley Hicks, Taylor Jones and Courtney Woody.

Departmental Student Awards

Departmental awards recognize outstanding students in each academic department.

Curriculum and Instruction: Russell Johnson, career and technical education; Jennifer O'Neal, career and technical education; Sarah Halford, childhood education; Haley Carney, curriculum and instruction; Holly Underwood, curriculum and instruction; Kristy Knaggs, educational technology; Cassidy Gardner, elementary education; Brooke Shinneman, elementary education; Matthew Holden, secondary education; Zach Palombo, secondary education; Renee Speight, secondary education; Meleah Hoskins, educational leadership; Kristie Baumgartner, educational leadership; Michael Koonce, educational leadership; Sierra Clay, special education; Wendy Karcher, special education; Paulo Manuel, teaching English to speakers of other languages; Jessica Hasler, UATeach.

Education Reform: Heidi Holmes Erickson, best conference paper; and Elise Swanson, outstanding doctoral student.

Eleanor Mann School of Nursing: Tyler Wakefield, R.N.-B.S.N. expert leader; Robert McDaniels, R.N.-B.S.N. emerging leader; Jamie Puryear, R.N.-B.S.N. exemplary capstone; Megan Marks, Betty Battenfield award; Natalie Gohman, clinical excellence; JoEllen Holt, outstanding graduate student; Heather Dearing, D.N.P. best capstone project; Hope Ballentine, outstanding D.N.P. student.

Health, Human Performance and Recreation: Rachele Reynolds, public health; Lancia Doumbia, community health promotion; Tiffany Marcantonio, health, behavior and health promotion; Malik Allen, kinesiology exercise science; Samantha Mohler, kinesiology; Heather Elswick, kinesiology adapted movement science; Cory Butts, exercise science; Mariellen Veach, athletic training; Emily Floyd, kinesiology K-12 teaching, physical education, wellness and leisure; Garrett Stephens, physical education; Maryann Mitts, kinesiology pedagogy; Hailey Hurst, recreation and sport management; Alexyss Scott, recreation and sport management; Megan Turk, recreation and sport management.

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders: Laura Tilley, adult and lifelong learning; Kay Murphy, adult and lifelong learning; Casey Baldwin, communication disorders; Jasmine Nile, communication disorders; Ellen Bennett, counseling; Kendra Shoge, counselor education; Cameron Houin, outstanding Chi Sigma Iota member; Betty Stonesifer, rehabilitation counseling; Breanna Morrison, educational statistics and research methods; Kayla Woessner, higher education; Heidi Jaeckle, higher education; Mark Kennedy, human resource and workforce development; Robert Yancey, human resource and workforce development; Thomas Steele, human resource and workforce development; Randall Shakir, rehabilitation education and research.

Honors Graduates

Students graduating with college honors, which requires a minimum of 18 to 24 hours of honors credit depending on catalog year, are Jessi Balagtas, Casey Baldwin, Natalie Braithwaite, Katherine Branum, Rachel Dawson, Kelsey Ellis-Lepard, London Farrar, Jack Fawcett, Caroline Fortson, Mary Ann Gadberry, Aubrey Gahagan, Sidney Gill, Natalie Gohman, Elizabeth Gschwend, Ashley Harmond, Jane Justus, Megan Mikkelsen, Erin Phelan, Britley Pierce, Kaitlyn Reid, Alexandria Richey, Amanda Roberson, Mackenzie Rosenberg, Anne Schexnayder, Zachary Sebghati, Paige Sellen, Anna Tillman, Martha Upton and Rebecca Welch.

Students graduating with departmental honors, which requires 12 hours of honors credit, are Bethany Adams, Kelly Allen, Kayla Bakker, Tatianna Balis, Emilee Emery, Mackenzie Gross, Sarah Halford, Elika Hamer, Krista Kolbinskie, Jessie Ludwig, Nathan Max, Alanna Oliphant, Leslie Pervere, Lauren Phillips, Sarah Ramsey, Lindsey Russell, Xavier Smith,  Courtney Sprague, Paige Steiner, Katherine Taylor and Kyle Turner.

Departmental Alumni Awards

alumni award winners Balkin, Cudney, McIntosh, O'Neal
From left, Richard Balkin, Charles Cudney, Karen McIntosh and Mark O'Neal.

Academic departments also will honor departmental alumni award winners.

Richard Balkin, a professor of counselor education at the University of Mississippi, will receive an award from the Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders. Balkin is the author of six books and more than 50 journal articles. He is a Fellow of the American Counseling Association and editor of the Journal of Counseling and Development.

Charles Cudney, director of the Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative, will receive an award from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. He has led efforts to improve schools in Northwest Arkansas. The professional development of teachers and administrators is the primary focus of the co-op.

Karen McIntosh, vice president of care transition at Washington Regional Medical Center, will receive an award from the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. She is responsible for the implementation and effective management of initiatives that ensure the delivery of high-quality patient care. She has been a strong advocate for the nursing school, working with senior students to enhance their clinical practice and research.

Mark O'Neal, director of medical operations for the Chicago Cubs, will receive an award from the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation. O'Neal has represented athletic training in baseball at the collegiate, Olympic and professional levels. He is president of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and chairs Major League Baseball's Medical Advisory Board. He has guest lectured at the U of A and sports medicine organizations nationally and internationally.


Heidi S. Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions


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