Shepherd University's Division of Graduate Studies held its fifth annual awards banquet on Thursday, May 2 in the Storer Ballroom honoring two graduate students and one faculty member with distinguished graduate studies awards.
The honorees included Caitlin Pollard, who received the distinguished graduate student of scholarship award; Elizabeth Apolinar, who received the distinguished graduate student of professionalism award; and Dr. Belinda B. Mitchell, who received the distinguished graduate faculty award. This year the distinguished graduate faculty award was named in honor of Dr. Douglas C. Smith for his more than 40 years of experience in higher education.
Dr. Christopher Ames, vice president for academic affairs at Shepherd, gave opening remarks, and Dr. Scott Beard, dean of graduate studies and continuing education, presided over the awards banquet. The keynote speaker was West Virginia Delegate Tiffany Lawrence, who graduated from Shepherd with degrees in business and political science.
Caitlin Pollard, who earned a master of arts in college student development and administration, and Elizabeth Apolinar, who earned a master of arts in teaching, were nominated and selected from more than 200 graduate degree-seeking students. The finalists for the distinguished graduate student of scholarship award were Pollard, Christopher Bryant, Michelle Files, Jennifer Hess, and Lindsey Larson. The finalists for the distinguished graduate student of professionalism were Apolinar, Bryant, Hess, Jose Luis Moreno, and Karen Rice.
Nominees were sought from each of the five degree programs including master of arts in teaching, college student development and administration, master of arts in curriculum and instruction, master of business administration, and master of music in music education. The awards were decided through an application process that was judged on pre-determined criteria and was reviewed by a panel of faculty and staff members. Apolinar and Pollard each received $300 awards, plaques, an award medallion to wear with commencement regalia, and their names placed on a permanent plaque in the Office of Graduate Studies.
Dr. Belinda Mithchell, a graduate faculty member teaching in both the master of arts in teaching and the master of arts in curriculum and instruction, was selected from faculty members who were nominated by the graduate program coordinators and fellow faculty. Nominees were considered by a peer-reviewed panel from multiple disciplines to determine the finalists, and the winner was based on teaching, scholarship, and service. The other two finalists were Dr. William "Chip" Zimmer, graduate program coordinator of the master of business administration program, and Dr. Sylvia Shurbutt, professor of English and Appalachian Heritage WIR project director and coordinator. Mitchell received a personal plaque, medallion to wear with commencement regalia, her name placed on a permanent plaque, and a $500 professional development award.