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2022 Celebration of Education

Bridges Magazine words

2022 Celebration of Education

Sister Rosemary standing at table while people applaude
Pictures of tables with people in Sam Noble Museum
Sally Beach and Vickie Lake standing and talking
Guests sitting at a table and clapping


The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education gathered in person for the first time in three years for the Celebration of Education on April 29 at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. In a departure from previous celebration events, the evening focused on the outstanding work being done by faculty and staff in the college.


A brief program led by Dean Stacy Reeder recognized college award winners, research excellence, work being done by centers in the college, and honoring those no longer with us and those who are wrapping up their careers.

Stacy Reeder and Delini Fernando holding a plaque

Leadership and Citizenship Award — Delini Fernando

Fernando joined OU in fall 2016 and became the professional counseling program coordinator in spring 2017. Over the past few years, the program has shown an increase in enrollment, thanks to several initiatives spearheaded by Fernando. In addition to her service to the program, Fernando’s colleagues view her as a source of positivity in the department, college and field. They have stated, “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Fernando as our colleague and one of our unit leaders. She has only been at OU for five years, but her positive influence has made her program, department and the college a better place.”

Stacy Reeder and Kelly Feille holding a plaque

Pre-Tenure Award — Kelly Feille

A member of the faculty since 2017, Feille took over as science education program coordinator in the fall of 2019, serving two years as the sole science education mentor of undergraduate and graduate students. Despite this difficult position, Feille has excelled as a scholar, educator and community member. She has established a strong record of research and scholarship in science education. Her work has been published in some of the most highly regarded and competitive journals. To date, Feille has published over 15 articles, including 13 for which she is the leading or sole author, as well as several book chapters and proceeding papers. One of the students she mentored stated, “Beyond teaching with a remarkable depth and clarity, along with inspiring our development at scholar teachers, one of the things that I admire most about Dr. Feille’s instruction is the effort and dedication she puts forth to connect to each student.”

Stacy Reeder and Daniel Hamlin holding a plaque

Research and Scholarship Award — Daniel Hamlin

Hamlin joined OU-Tulsa in 2018 after a post-doctoral fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and in just three years has significantly deepened his inquiry into issues of school choice, safety and parent involvement, emerging as a recognized expert in these areas through several high-profile publications as well as several media mentions and interviews. Nearly half of his 18 peer-reviewed journal publications to date are solo-authored and he has four more currently under review. In addition to traditional scholarship, he has taken on roles that attempt to bridge the gap between scientific work and the public, seeking broader accessibility of research to policymakers and the lay community. He is also a research mentor/advisor to our master’s and doctoral students, serving as dissertation advisor for 14 students and eight more as a committee member.

Stacy Reeder and Heidi Torres holding a plaque

Teaching and Advising Award;
Early Career Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring — Heidi Torres

Torres’s overall priority as a teacher, grounded in a strong ethic of care, is to engage her students in deep and meaningful learning experiences. Evidence of students’ positive responses to her careful teaching efforts can be seen in her course evaluations from students. Several courses received a score of 5.00, the highest score possible. During the pandemic, which required a massive revision and redevelopment of courses, with all graduate courses online and undergraduate hybrid, three of six of her scores were 5.00. Torres’s influence is not only contained to the classroom experience. She is committed to supporting the socioemotional wellbeing of students, particularly those from marginalized communities, and considers this task an essential part of her mission. She currently advises one doctoral student and five master’s-level students and serves on seven doctoral and four master’s committees. To date, she has supervised the completion of one master’s project and served on 30 doctoral and master’s committees to completion beyond those mentioned above, including 18 since the pandemic started in spring 2020.

Torres also received the Early Career Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring. As one of her student nominators said, “Dr. Torres has extraordinary communication and interpersonal skills because she is a fantastic professor with a pleasant personality. I chose her as my committee member because of her professional knowledge and easy-going personality. She is always open to share her knowledge and expertise with me and other students, which makes her an excellent mentor for students. She is one of my favorite professors at the College of Education at OU.”

Stacy Reeder and Kyong-Ah Kwon holding a plaque

Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring — Kyong-Ah Kwon

Kwon came to OU in 2016 and was named the Drusa B. Cable Endowed Chair in Education and Early Childhood Education in 2021. This comment from her group of nominators best sums up Kwon’s work: “Our first encounter with Dr. Kwon was in the summer of 2020, when she taught an online course from the Tulsa campus for the ILAC graduate students. In just four weeks, we got to experience her passion for teaching and her commitment to her students. The fall 2021 semester brought great joy and excitement as we discovered that Dr. Kwon would be on the Norman campus. Several of us made plans to immediately find her and embrace our moment to finally meet in-person the individual who impacted us so greatly. Her arrival has begun what we have lovingly nickednamed ‘The Dr. Kwon Fan Club.’ This group consists of several scholars from multiple disciplines who love Dr. Kwon and her work. We have organized bi-monthly dinner meetings where we could all enjoy each other’s company, relax from our stressful lives, and talk about research. These dinners have become our moments of respite in the hectic world of academia.”

headshot of Megan Beck standing outside

Staff Service Award — Megan Beck

Beck works in the Zarrow Institute on Transition and Self-Determination. In nomination letters, Beck is described as a great team member who is always willing to help anyone at any time. She monitors over 15 accounts associated with the Zarrow Institute while also helping to manage more than seven federal grants and eight doctoral students. To quote one nominator, “Megan is always so kind and beyond knowledgeable about her position and more.”