02/03/2020 ASHLAND, Ohio -- Eight Ashland University faculty and administrators were honored during the University’s 34th annual Academic Mentor Awards recognition ceremony held Jan. 31. 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 Awards were presented to the late Dr. Iyad Ajwa, Professor of Computer Science, awarded posthumously to his wife Nadia; Dr. Dolly Crawford, Associate Professor of Biology; Dr. Jeffrey Weidenhamer, Trustees Distinguished Professor of Chemistry; Nicole Dyer, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Student Life; Dr. Cathryn Chappell, Associate Professor and Director of Quality Assurance and Accreditation; Dr. Mark Rubin, Professional Instructor of Criminal Justice; Dr. Stefan Swanson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music; and Dr. David Aune, Associate Professor of Religion
Friends, colleagues and family members attended the luncheon, joined by members of Ashland’s administration and Board of Trustees. Provost Dr. Amiel Jarstfer 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 Henry Smith, 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: Katie Bing, a senior from Wooster majoring in environmental science, nominating Crawford; Abigail Dingus, a senior from Mechanicsburg majoring in biology, nominating Weidenhammer; Cillian Donahue, a senior from Strongsville majoring in forensic biology, nominating Dyer; Kendra Wisdom, a Doctor of Education student from Ashland, nominating Chappell; Camille Pollutro, a senior from Painesville majoring in criminal justice, nominating Rubin; Sami Eron, a senior from Brighton, Michigan majoring in political science, nominating Swanson; Kyle Hutchinson, a senior from Medina majoring in psychology, nominating Aune; and Jonathan Meredith, a senior from West Salem majoring in computer science and Renee Lucas, a senior from Seven Hills majoring in computer science, both of whom nominated Ajwa.
Ajwa, who passed away Aug. 30 after a battle with cancer, joined Ashland University as an Assistant Professor in 1997. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Award for the 2013-2014 academic year during which he taught and conducted research at Umm Al-Qura University in Saudi Arabia. In 2005-06 he was granted a Senior Study Leave to teach at Abu Dhabi University. Ajwa's scholarly record included numerous peer-reviewed articles, grants and contributed papers. He served as Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science from 2014-2019 and developed the curricula for new majors in cybersecurity and software design and development.
Crawford joined Ashland University in 2014 and teaches courses in anatomy and physiology, general biology, field zoology, geographical information systems and vertebrate biology. She works with students in the Crawford Lab, which is focused on research in wildlife ecology and animal physiology. Crawford holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Science in Museum and Field Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Doctorate in Biology from the University of New Mexico.
Weidenhamer joined Ashland University in 1989 and teaches General Chemistry, courses in analytical chemistry and core science courses including Science as a Cultural Force and Lead and Civilization. His research with students and colleagues on lead contamination of consumer products has resulted in at least 14 recalls by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Weidenhamer holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Ashland University, Master of Science degrees in Agronomy from The Ohio State University and Analytical Chemistry from Louisiana State University and a Doctorate in Biology from The University of South Florida.
Dyer, who joined Ashland University in 2001, serves as Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Student Life where she oversees student activities, student organizations, orientation, community service, fraternity & sorority life, leadership programs, and diversity & inclusion. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Ashland University and a Master of Education from Cleveland State University.
Chappell joined Ashland University in 2004 and teaches graduate education courses. Her areas of expertise include assessment, multicultural education, peace education, and social justice issues, while her primary areas of scholarship include post-secondary prison education and libraries as community centers. Chappell received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master and Doctor of Education degrees in Social and Psychological Foundations of Education, all from the University of Cincinnati.
Rubin Joined Ashland University faculty in 2017 and serves as director of the Online Criminal Justice program as well as being a professional instructor in the program. With nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience, Rubin specializes in policing, homeland security, criminology, and cybercrime and human trafficking. He received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston, a Master of Education from Western Governors University and a Doctorate from Capella University.
Swanson is a film and concert composer who has scored more than 50 films and has written more than 60 compositions for the concert hall, including commissions from the Harmonium Choral Society, Lakeland College, and JJ Cooper. The recipient of the Susan and Ford Schumann Award, the Film Music Museum Award, and the Singing City Prize, Swanson received a Bachelor of Music from Rowan University, a Master of Arts from New York University and a Doctorate from Rutgers University.
Aune, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, joined Ashland University in 1996 and teaches a variety of courses, including Exploring the Bible, Exploring World Religions, Life and Letters of Paul, Understanding Islam, Advanced New Testament (The Gospels) and Christian Literature. His research interests include nonviolence in early Christian literature and inter-religious dialogue
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 is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) 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.###