In 2008, LaToya Marsh saw a need and moved to fill it. She started a cheer squad, the Greensboro Diamonds, for girls with mental and physical disabilities. They cheer in the state games, and in 2011 they brought home a gold medal. But winning is not the most important thing about the squad. “She has helped the girls believe in themselves,” wrote a parent of a Special Olympics cheerleader. “Many of them don’t feel they can do things that ‘normal’ girls do, but LaToya has assured them they are just as beautiful and smart as anyone else, and that they can achieve their dreams. She uplifts them every time she sees them.”
Marsh also volunteers for the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, MS Society, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation, YMCA, Urban Ministries, Alzheimer’s Association and tutors children.
“She always talks about wanting to make a difference in everyone’s life,” wrote a fellow Make-A-Wish volunteer. “She once told me her day is not productive unless she can say at the end of the day that she has helped someone or changed someone’s life for the better.”
Dr. Katherine Rawson, a cognitive psychologist who has been a faculty member at Kent State University since 2004, received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2010 - the highest honor bestowed by the government for scientists at the beginning of their careers. Her research focuses on the cognitive processes in learning from text and the optimization of learning in educational settings. Rawson has published 21 journal articles and several book chapters. She is associate editor for two major journals in her field and serves on the editorial board for two other journals. In both undergraduate and graduate courses, her teaching receives high marks from students. Open-ended student evaluation comments typically praise her for how much she knows, how well-organized her courses and lectures are, how much enthusiasm she conveys for topics and how much she respects students and cares about their learning. As a mentor, she is just as successful. "They view her as an exceptional role model for how to think about research, how to use one's time effectively and how to succeed in academia," wrote Dr. Maria Zaragoza, chair of the Kent State Department of Psychology, in her nomination letter. "They view her as incredible supportive and helpful, generous with her time, someone who always has their best interest in mind and encourages them to develop their own program of research. ...In summary, Dr. Rawson is outstanding in every way. She is an exceptional scholar, a superb teacher and mentor, and a wonderful colleague."
As principal of Sumner Elementary School, Dr. Brian Clarida believes all students can and will reach their full potential. He holds monthly student meetings and round table discussions so that students can have an open forum to voice concerns about school as well as their lives outside of school. To show students they matter, he has started a Community Day in which more than 50 business and political leaders come to the school to volunteer in classrooms. Clarida makes sure he too volunteers time in the community so students will have a good role model. He is active in Action Greensboro and SynerG Young Professionals. He serves on several advisory boards such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, Greensboro Historic Preservation Commission, UNCG Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations, Tapestry (Weaver Foundation) and the YWCA.
He has partnered with UNCG to have 50 student interns placed at the school. He has also served on several UNCG committees such as the Board of Visitors.
Hannum, who is manager of research at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, joined the center as a research analyst in 1999. She has also served as a training facilitator for executives seeking leadership development at the Center for Creative Leadership.
Although she qualifies as a young alumna, she has accomplished a lot in a short time. Hannum has established herself as a thought leader in the fields of evaluation, leadership and leadership development, and was awarded the Marcia Guttentag Award for early career achievement by the American Evaluation Association. She was a consultant to NASA, designing and conducting an evaluation of the affiliate component of the NASA Space Grant Program.
She was a visiting faculty member at Catholic University in Lille, France, and has been an adjunct member of the UNCG faculty since 2004. From July 2008 to this February, she was a senior leadership expert with The World Bank in Washington, D.C., serving on field missions to Timor-Leste and Burundi, where she evaluated eight leadership development initiatives in conflict-affected regions.
George founded Compass Financial Partners in Greensboro where he is a managing partner today. He has distinguished himself in his field by obtaining numerous professional designations and certifications. George has been recognized as a member of the “Top of the Table” of the Million Dollar Round Table organization – an achievement attained by only a small fraction of those in the financial industry.
George received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communication. He has displayed his pride and loyalty in UNCG through his continued involvement and commitment to the school. George was a member of the 1987 UNCG Men’s Soccer National Championship team. He subsequently established the George Hoyle Annual Scholarship awarded to a men’s soccer player at UNCG. George is currently the chairman of the UNCG Spartan club and has brought a new vibrancy and relevance to the organization.
George serves on the Board of Directors for the NC Chapter of Operation Smile. He and his wife are members of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of Greater Greensboro. George also coaches a YMCA basketball team as well as participating in adult soccer leagues on a statewide basis.
Strahl Named 2006 Outstanding Young Alumnus
By Jill Yesko, University Relations
September 18, 2006
Dr. Brian Strahl, a genetics researcher and assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, has been named the 2006 Outstanding Young Alumnus by UNCG.
The award will be presented as part of UNCG Founders Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 4:30 pm. at the McIver statue in front of Jackson Library.
Strahl graduated from UNCG in 1993 with a BA in both chemistry and biology. He received a PhD in biochemistry from North Carolina State University in 1998 and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Virginia.
Strahl, who won the Schering-Plough Research Institute Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was chosen by UNCG as its outstanding young alumni for his groundbreaking research in “understanding how gene expression is regulated by structural modifications of DNA,” said Dr. John J. Lepri, associate professor and head of the biology department at UNCG. “Brian has cultivated that UNCG spark into a remarkable record of accomplishment, and that encourages us all to keep striking the flint.”
In 2005, Strahl attended a White House ceremony honoring his selection for the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He was chosen as one of 15 Pew Biomedical Scholars in 2004 by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of California at San Francisco.
The Young Alumni Award is presented to UNCG alumni 40 and under. It recognizes exceptional achievement and significant contribution to the recipient's profession, community, society or to UNCG either through traditional channels or innovative approaches.
Meg was nominated by Dr. Kate Barrett, Faculty Emerita from the School of Health and Human Performance. Meg is currently the principal at Broadview Middle School in Burlington, NC. In addition to her degrees from UNCG, Meg also received a Master of Science Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from North Carolina A & T and a doctorate from UNC Chapel Hill in Educational Leadership in December 2001.
In her nomination statement, Kate Barrett writes “Since Meg’s graduation from UNCG in 1987, she has been continuously recognized for her ability as an outstanding educator.” She has received a number of awards, beginning in 1991 with the Altamahaw-Ossippee Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year Award. Subsequently, she as received the 1992 Edgar J. Hooks Young Professional Award, a 1997 Smallwood Fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill, the 2000 Wachovia Principal of the Year Award for the Alamance-Burlington School System, and recognition for North Graham Elementary as a Piedmont Triad Education Consortium “Signature School” and the 2001 North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development “Lighthouse School” Award.
As Barrett noted, all of these awards and honors point to a young professional with extraordinary commitment and ability to educate today’s children. The honors that came during her tenure as principal of North Graham Elementary are of particular significance. As principal, Meg entered North Graham, a school that was labeled by local administrators as “low performing” and in “shambles.” Since arriving in 1998, however, Meg successfully turned the school in a new direction, and describes North Graham as “a learning institution where staff, students, families and community members enjoy entering the front door.” Through her leadership ability and commitment to faculty and student learning, Meg led her staff to converting to a year round calendar, conducted needs assessment and put action plans into place based on those assessments, applied for and received grants totaling over $515,000 from various sources, improved testing scores to the point that North Graham has received “exemplary” status in all state testing, and created an environment in the school that is recognized for proving a safe learning environment for children and educators. As a teacher on Meg’s staff wrote, “In less that three years, North Graham Elementary has completely reversed its course under her guidance and direction.” She became principal at Broadview Middle School this past summer.
In her concluding remarks, Betsy Matchen, Exceptional Children’s Teacher at North Graham shared, “It is my belief that Meg Sheehan exemplifies the award criteria for the Young Alumni Award in every way. I once read ‘real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determination.’ In the North Graham school community, that person is my principal.”