Students, faculty members earn awards

By Luanne Williams

Several Wingate University graduates and faculty members received special recognition during this weekend’s commencement ceremonies.

Manuela Lizbeth Sanchez Pacheco

The Budd E. and Ethel K. Smith Award, reserved for the graduating senior judged to have made an outstanding contribution through leadership of fellow students, went to Manuela Lizbeth Sanchez Pacheco.

A Golden Door Scholar from Charlotte, Sanchez Pacheco double-majored in environmental biology and mathematics, and made time for indepth research on the kudzu bug, which she did alongside biology professor Erika Niland.

“Manny is extremely responsible, honest and empathetic,” Niland said. “I’ve been extremely impressed by her work ethic as she conducted research with me for the last three years and presented at a national conference in the fall.”

A member of the University Honors Program, Sanchez Pacheco served as president of the Hooked on Helping Crochet Club, led a One Day, One Dog service project, tutored students in the Union County Public Schools and was also involved in the Latin American Student Association. She was also a lab assistant and a lead tutor in the Academic Resource Center. She has taken a position as a research technician at the University of Georgia.

Gracie Marie McCallister

The C.C. Burris Award, presented to the graduating woman who best represents the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service, went to Gracie Marie McCallister of Unionville.

Dean of General Education Carrie Hoefferle describes McCallister, a history major with minors in Spanish and international studies, as “the first freshman to have thoroughly grasped historiography” and said that she quickly established herself as a stellar student in all of her classes.

“This achievement did not come easy to Gracie,” Hoefferle said. “She worked very hard for it, consistently, for four years, showing her perseverance and resilience in the process. She is an excellent writer, reader, researcher and critical thinker.”

An honors student, McCallister researched the Reconstruction Era in the Piedmont with history professor David Mitchell as part of a Reeves Summer Research grant. She also served as a peer mentor for Gateway classes.

“She is empathetic, kind and supportive toward other students and is a true servant leader in her own quiet and thoughtful way,” Hoefferle said.

McCallister plans to share her passion for history with middle schoolers, teaching locally through North Carolina’s residency program while she continues to take education classes at Wingate on her way to full licensure.

Kyle Matthew Ring

Kyle Matthew Ring earned the A.F. Hendricks Award, which is presented to the graduating man who represents the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service.

A Gastonia resident, Ring came to Wingate as a management major, shifted to finance and later to accounting. He served as a resident assistant for three years and a peer tutor for two and was a member of the Biology Club and Delta Sigma Pi.

“He exhibited a high degree of maturity, integrity and self-discipline,” said Sergio Castello, dean of the Porter B. Byrum School of Business and Ring’s advisor. “He was always thinking about the best path forward. He also showed great leadership, time-management and planning skills.  He had the ability to analyze problems and find solutions.”

Kyle finished his coursework last December and started work for Red Ventures in January. This fall he plans to pursue his master’s in accounting at the University of South Carolina.

Kirby Elizabeth VonEgidy

The Fred H. Allen Award, which goes to the graduate judged to have best exhibited outstanding Christian leadership and to have been involved in significant Christian service projects, went to Kirby Elizabeth VonEgidy of Marshville.

VonEgidy double-majored in biology and communication with an emphasis in sports broadcasting. A cheerleader and member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, VonEgidy has also been involved in Wingate’s chapter of the nonprofit MEDLIFE (Medicine, Education, & Development to Low Income Families Everywhere). She is president of Delight Ministries, has served as a Supplemental Instruction leader and on the Student Government Association executive board. She is also a member of Alpha Xi Delta and of the National Society of Leadership and Success as well as Wingate’s Pre-Medical Club.

H.K. Helms awards

In addition to these awards, the University also handed out H.K. Helms awards to the following graduating seniors, who attained the highest scholastic average: Alexandria Mae Ashley, Francesco Di Genova, Jodi Ann Helms, Kelley Anne Jones, Gracie Marie McCallister, Hannah Lyn Nicholson and Roy Stepanov.

2020 student awards

Since 2020 graduates were invited back to campus for a belated commencement ceremony this spring, winners of the 2020 silver bowl awards were also recognized in a video released last week. Those students had received their awards late last fall. They are Diareth Lizbeth Flores Nava, the Budd E. and Ethel K. Smith Award; Judith Perez Castro, the C.C. Burris Award; Giacomo Viazzo, the A.F. Hendricks Award; Bailey Ann Freeburn, the Fred H. Allen Award; and Ebba Maria Stillman, the Jerry and Alice Surratt Award.

Faculty awards

The Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Excellence in Teaching, presented annually for meritorious teaching on the part of a professor who has been a member of the faculty for at least five years, went to Dr. Alison Brown for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Debra M. O’Neal Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes distinctive service in the classroom and is reserved for those who have been on the faculty for eight or fewer years, went to Dr. Christy Cobb.

Alison Brown

Brown, professor of biology and an 18-year veteran of the department, earned her undergraduate degree in biology and two master’s degrees at the University of Tennessee, then completed her doctorate in reproductive physiology at West Virginia University. She served as chair of the Department of Biology for several years and was instrumental in establishing a $50,000 endowment from GlaxoSmithKline to provide scholarships for female biology and chemistry majors. She also led the effort to develop an articulation agreement between Wingate University and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, paving the way for many of our graduates to pursue medical studies after graduation. Brown has mentored several students conducting research with her at the USDA Sheep Experiment Station in Idaho.

Christy Cobb

Cobb earned a bachelor of arts in religion and communication from Carson-Newman College, master’s degrees from Campbell University and from Wake Forest University, and a doctorate in religion from Drew University. Serving as assistant professor of religion at Wingate since 2016, Cobb’s engaging teaching and strong mentorship have enticed numerous students to pursue a major or minor in religious studies. Cobb published a book in 2019 titled Slavery, Gender, Truth, and Power in Luke-Acts and Other Ancient Narratives.

“Dr. Cobb is an inspiring instructor, always encouraging students to think beyond the surface level, be inclusive of all cultures and opinions, and get involved in research and other academic endeavors beyond the classroom,” wrote student Allison Barbee in nominating her professor. “She has helped students prepare for conferences, learn languages important to the field of Biblical studies, and guided students in potential career and life choices. Dr. Cobb is also one of the most encouraging and supportive professors I have ever met. My ultimate career goal is to become a professor one day, and I can say that if I can be half the professor and role model that Dr. Cobb is, I will have succeeded.”

Honorees for both awards are selected from nominations from students, faculty, administrators and alumni.

2020 honorees

Because the pandemic prevented the University from holding Commencement last year, belated awards were also announced for faculty winners nominated in 2020. Dr. Edwin Bagley, the C.C. Dickson Professor of Ethics, received the Corts Award; and Dr. Chelsea Kaufman, assistant professor of political science, won the O’Neal Award.

Edwin Bagley

Bagley, who retired at the end of the spring 2020 semester, had taught at the University since 1981. He began his studies with a bachelor of arts degree in English at Samford University and went on to earn master’s degrees in divinity and in philosophy, then completed a doctorate in philosophy at Tulane University. During his tenure at Wingate, he led students in W’International groups to South Korea, China, Cambodia, Russia, France, England and Germany. He supervised the semester-abroad program, Wingate-in-London, on two occasions and participated in a Fulbright Summer Seminar in India. An ordained Baptist minister, Bagley served as interim pastor for several area churches and is a favorite presenter of devotionals at meetings of faculty and of trustees.

“Dr. Bagley is an amazing professor who always allows students to express their points of view and appreciates and understands students’ perspectives,” said Gabrielle Slabaugh, a 2020 graduate who nominated Bagley for the award. “He is kind and wants students to learn and have fun with the material.”

Bill Coleman, executive officer of the American Society for Investigative Pathology and a 1986 alum, said the challenges brought on by the pandemic did not keep Bagley from delivering to his final students “the robust instruction they expected.”

“Dr. Bagley was undeterred by the interruption of the usual flow of the semester and embraced the new challenge of distance education,” Coleman said. He said Bagley deserved the Corts Award based on his “exceptional service to Wingate University, the recognition of his teaching expertise by his students, and the deep respect his peers give him as a person, as well as a colleague.” 

Chelsea Kaufman

Kaufman, who joined the faculty in 2018, completed her bachelor of arts in political science and Economics at Clarion University and her master’s and doctorate in political science at Purdue University. Her area of specialization is the field of rural politics, and she teaches courses in American government, global perspectives in political science and economics, and research methods. Kaufman has been recognized by the American Political Science Association. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, she taught a W’Engage course focusing on voting rights that included a bus trip through the deep South with a stop at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. 

“Chelsea Kaufman is always so very enthusiastic about helping students learn about and understand the U.S. electoral system and political behavior,” said Dr. Nancy Randall, vice provost for student engagement. “She regularly brings current events into the classroom. She employs a very diverse pedagogical style, including discussion, video clips with reflection, project-based learning, and of course her expertise delivered in part through lecture. Her students find Dr. Kaufman to be accessible, relevant and tough, but fair and engaging.”

Graduate faculty awards

Awards handed out specifically for faculty members serving graduate students went to Dr. George Schuppin, Dr. Sarah Nisly, Dr. Jacky Olin and Dr. Andrew Woods.

George Schuppin

Schuppin was named Graduate Faculty Member of the Year for 2021. The award, which includes a plaque and honorarium, recognizes “outstanding graduate teaching, scholarship and service.”

Schuppin, who retired April 30, received his master of science in animal science at Virginia Tech and his doctorate in human anatomy and cell biology at East Carolina Medical School. He began his career in the biotech industry and transitioned to academia in 2001, joining the Wingate faculty in 2014 as an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and director of the human anatomy lab.

He has been responsible for teaching the gross dissection anatomy course for both DPT and OTD students and has shared his expertise with numerous other groups on campus and beyond. Schuppin received the Student Impact Award in 2017. 

“Dr. Schuppin is a lifelong educator who has made it his mission to not only provide his students with the best learning environment but has also done everything in his power to be extremely accommodating and supportive,” wrote student Jessica Knutelsky in support of his nomination for the award. “He gives me the drive and motivation to want to be a lifelong learner. I could not imagine going through my graduate-level anatomy course without him.”

Sarah Nisly

Nisly, a pharmacy professor, was the Graduate Faculty Member of the Year for 2020. She received her doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Kansas, and this spring she received a master’s in education from the University of Illinois, Chicago. A board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist, she joined the Wingate University School of Pharmacy in 2016 as a clinical pharmacist and regional coordinator at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston Salem, N.C. During the past year, she precepted seven pharmacy students, re-established an online integrative medicine elective, and established a postgraduate-education preparatory elective for third- and fourth-year student pharmacists. Nisly also published 12 peer-reviewed original manuscripts and a book chapter. She presented 10 posters at state and national meetings and made two podium presentations.

Nisly serves on several committees at her practice site related to learner and preceptor development, in addition to providing clinical pharmacist services. A student pharmacist summarized his experience on rotation with Nisly with the following statement: “Morning conversations with Dr. Nisly, rounds, topic discussions, group discussions regarding patients, and all of the assignments were very instructive. I really learned a lot on this rotation, as the expectation was for me to be prepared to answer any medication-related questions that the team may have had. Over time, I became more comfortable working up patients and making recommendations because of Dr. Nisly.”

Andrew Woods

Andrew Woods, associate professor of pharmacy and vice chair of the Faculty Senate, was awarded the Excellence in Research & Scholarship Award for 2021. Woods received his doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in Memphis, Tennessee. He joined the practice faculty at Wingate in 2009 and currently provides clinical pharmacist services at Atrium Health in Charlotte, precepting third- and fourth-year student pharmacists.

Woods received national recognition for his work in respiratory medicine in 2020. He provided a lecture on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease to almost 1,300 pharmacists at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Midyear Clinical Meeting. His reputation as an expert in respiratory medicine has grown in recent years, and he is one of 60 clinicians and the only pharmacist in the United States retained as a speaker for Boehringer Ingelheim’s Speakers’ Bureau for 2021.

Woods was invited to join a consortium of clinicians in writing a review article focused on caring for patients experiencing an acute exacerbation of COPD in the hospital setting. He published two manuscripts and a book chapter in 2020, all of which were related to respiratory medicine. 

Along with WUSOP colleagues, Woods also presented an original research abstract on antidepressants and COPD exacerbations at the American Thoracic Society’s annual meeting, with an encore presentation for the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. In a year of challenges from the Covid pandemic, Woods’ expertise in respiratory medicine was recognized with numerous opportunities to educate healthcare professionals on respiratory pharmacotherapy.

Jacqueline ‘Jacky’ Olin

Jacky Olin was awarded the Excellence in Research & Scholarship Award for 2020. Olin received her doctor of pharmacy degree from Rutgers University College of Pharmacy in Piscataway, New Jersey, is a certified diabetes educator and is a fellow of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. 

A member of the Wingate faculty since 2007, she provides clinical pharmacist services at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, where she precepts third- and fourth-year student pharmacists.

Olin’s scholarly contributions earned two recognitions for outstanding work at the national level in 2020. Her work with a School of Pharmacy colleague on managing chemotherapy in patients living with HIV and malignancy was recognized by the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) with the Pharmacy Practice Literature Award. The same publication was also recognized by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Adult Medicine PRN Outstanding Paper of the Year Award. 

Olin routinely serves as a mentor on student and pharmacy-resident projects at her practice site, and she often speaks at state and national meetings. Additionally, she recently completed work on two original research manuscripts and finished a large project for HOPA.

May 16, 2021