On April 26, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy community came together at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union to honor outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni at the first-ever SPP Celebration of Service.
SPP student Theo Caruthers served as MC for the evening and set the tone for the evening, telling the audience, “The time has come to recognize out great School of Public Policy community.”
Norman and Florence Brody Family Foundation Public Policy Forum Professor Betty Duke, who awarded the Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Teaching Awards, said, “I’d like to say congratulations to all our winners--and we are all winners here!”
Ph.D. student Matthew Regan was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognized a teaching assistant who provided an exceptional instructional experience for master’s or undergraduate students and outstanding support to the faculty instructor. The Outstanding Teaching Award was given to Adjunct Lecturer Doug Call to recognize his contributions to the teaching and learning mission of the University.
Next up were the student-focused awards. PSGA Academic Initiative Director Gabriel Stangl-Riehle handed out the Beyond the Classroom Award to PhD student Poorti Sapatnekar to honor her significant positive impact outside of the classroom. Sapatnekar’s nomination cited her work with a local after-school enrichment program with Hyattsville Middle School students studying math and science.
Master’s student Corinne Paul was awarded the Community Builder Award. In her nomination, it was noted that Paul is a “force of positive change in the School. She has a quiet strength that people are drawn to.”
Student Affairs Coordinator Tricia Arndts delivered the staff awards. The Unsung Hero Award was given to Program Management Specialist Kathy Monroe in honor of her efforts to go above and beyond for the School, improving the lives and work of faculty, staff and students.
Director of Career Services and Alumni Relations Bryan Kempton was awarded the Champion of Student Success Award for his demonstrated excellence in supporting SPP students and his commitment to providing exceptional assistance, guidance and inspiration.
“A university is about teaching for sure,” said Senior Associate Dean Philip Joyce, “But a major research university like the University of Maryland is also about furthering knowledge through research.” In honor of his research and his efforts to make significant contributions to knowledge and techniques in his field, Ph.D. student Juan A. Echenique was awarded the Innovative Research Award.
The Research Excellence Award was given to Nathan Hultman, director of the Center for Global Sustainability, to recognize his work pushing the boundaries of applied, interdisciplinary research. Research Professor David Crocker was given the Public Impact Award in honor his is commitment to the School’s mission to promote the public good.
Throughout the evening, awards were given to students, faculty, staff and alumni. “The SPP family extends beyond the school walls,” Caruthers said.
“The alumni are the embodiment of our mission,” said Assistant Dean of External Relations Chandrika Rallapalli. She awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award to alumna Amy Fischer. Rallapalli described Fischer as, “A stellar representation of the school and an all-around champion of the school.”
The Lifetime Service Award, distributed by Executive Dean William Powers, was given to longtime SPP Research Professor Allen Schick.
“He has written textbooks that have shaped entire fields,” Powers said of Schick. “There is simply nobody who cares more at his core about whether students are understanding what he’s teaching. This is who we want to be. This is the spirit we want to build our school around.”
“You can’t be a teacher is you don’t have students,” Schick said. “If you don’t love your students and have an interest in their future, you’re missing so much of the joy of being a teacher.”
The final award of the evening was the Dean’s Award, handed out by SPP Dean Robert C. Orr. “This award is to be given to someone who has made exceptional contributions to the School,” he said before announcing the winner: Nancy Gallagher, director of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland.
Dean Orr closed out the evening by thanking the entire community for their commitment to excellence at the School. “Here’s to another wonderful year at the School of Public Policy.”
You can view photos from the event on the SPP Flickr account.