Ashland University Students Honor Their Mentors

Ashland University Students Honor Their Mentors
Faculty members honored with the annual Mentor Awards this year are (left to right) -- Dr. Joe Mackall, Deana Kehres, Dr. David Vanata, Dr. Mason Posner, Dr. Dennis Gruber, Jill Solis, Dr. Emily Hess and Dr. Jeri Berryman.

1/26/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Eight Ashland University faculty members were honored during the University’s 32nd annual Academic Mentor Awards recognition ceremony held Jan. 26. The program recognizes faculty whose academic leadership with regard to students extends beyond the classroom. The mentors, each nominated by an Ashland student, were presented an engraved silver plate at the event held in John C. Myers Convocation Center.

This year’s Mentor Award recipients are Dr. Jeri Berryman, clinical assistant professor; Dr. Dennis Gruber, chair of Health Sciences Department and clinical assistant professor; Deana Kehres, clinical assistant professor; Jill Solis, adjunct clinical education instructor; Dr. David Vanata, associate professor of Health Sciences; Dr. Emily Hess, visiting assistant professor of History; Dr. Mason Posner, professor of Biology/Toxicology; and Dr. Joe Mackall, professor of English.

Friends, colleagues and family members attended the luncheon, joined by members of Ashland’s administration and Board of Trustees. Provost Dr. Eun-Woo Chang welcomed the guests and presided over the event, while also commending the award recipients and the students who nominated them. The awards were presented by Dustin Ness, chairman of the academic affairs committee of the Board of Trustees; and President Dr. Carlos Campo provided remarks.

Students nominated faculty or staff members using the criteria of history of their relationship, how they benefited academically, how their personal development has been enhanced by their mentor and what impact the mentor has had on the student’s progress at the University. Selections were made by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Ashland University Board of Trustees from the information included in the nomination letters.

Students who submitted winning nominations included: Nicole Ziegler, a senior from Medina, Ohio, majoring in Nursing, nominating Berryman; Jessica Zeitz, a senior from Bellevue, Ohio, majoring in Athletic Training, nominating Gruber; Mary Camm, a senior from Findlay, Ohio, majoring in Nursing, nominating Kehres; Gabrielle Hetzel, a senior from Hilliard, Ohio, majoring in Nursing, nominating Solis; Grace Reichard, a senior from Nevada, Mo., majoring in Dietetics, nominating Vanata; Halle Hershberger, a senior from Sugarcreek, Ohio, majoring in Political Science, nominating Hess; Matthew McDonald, a senior from Uniontown, Ohio, majoring in Forensic Biology, nominating Posner; and Maggie Andrews, a senior from Mansfield, Ohio, majoring in Creative Writing, nominating Mackall.

Berryman, who joined Ashland University in 2013, serves as a clinical assistant professor in the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She received a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Indiana Wesleyan University, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ohio State University, an Associate Degree in Nursing from Regents College and an LPN from North Central Technical College.

Gruber, chair for the health sciences department, clinical assistant professor and program director for athletic training, joined Ashland University in 2003. His areas of expertise include acute and chronic pain and qualitative research. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Youngstown State University, a Master of Science from Ohio University and an Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies from Georgia Southern University. He is a site visitor and review team member for CAATE and a certified athletic trainer.

Kehres, who serves as clinical assistant professor of nursing in the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences, joined Ashland University in 2014 and she holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ashland University and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Akron.

Solis joined Ashland University in 2017 and currently teaches Advance Simulation and Complex Care Clinicals through the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University and is working to complete her Master of Science in Nursing as a Nurse Practitioner.    

Vanata, who joined Ashland University in 2002, serves as director of the Dietetics program and as associate professor of health sciences in the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Stockton College, a Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Florida State University and a Ph.D. Human Nutrition from the University North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Hess, who is a visiting assistant professor of History, joined AU in 2007 and received a Bachelor of Arts from Malone University and her Master of Arts and Ph.D. from Case Western University.

Posner joined AU in 1999 and serves as professor of Biology and chair of the Department of Biology and Toxicology. Posner is known for involving students in his research of eye lens biochemistry and cataracts as well as eye lens development. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, and his Master of Science and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

Mackall, who joined Ashland University in 1996, is a former journalist with a Bachelor of Arts from Cleveland State University, Master of Arts from University of Central Oklahoma, MFA in fiction writing from Bowling Green State University, and Ph.D. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He serves as director of the creative writing program and instructor of nonfiction writing for the AU MFA program; and is co-founder of River Teeth:  A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative.

In nominating the recipients of this year’s Mentor Awards, the students wrote one-page essays about their mentors. Passages from these essays were distributed at the luncheon.

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.  ###