2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Timothy EatmanTimothy Eatman
Ph.D. ’01 Educational Policy Studies
Inaugural Dean of the Honors Living Learning Community and Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Education at Rutgers University – Newark

Dr. Eatman joined the Syracuse University community as an assistant professor of higher education and director of research for Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA) in 2007. In 2012 he was promoted as faculty co-director of IA, a national consortium of more than 100 higher-education institutions and community-based partners working at the nexus of humanities, arts, and design. Eatman is a widely sought-after speaker, workshop facilitator, and collaborator who has earned worldwide recognition for his leadership in advancing research and practice on the multifaceted impact of publicly engaged scholarship in 21st-century-universities. He is a member of several boards, including the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement, through which he earned the 2010 Early Career Research Award. His breadth of research and field experience has led to a number of publications, including a co-edited 2017 volume titled “The Cambridge Handbook on Service Learning and Community Engagement.”

Johanna EinarsdottirJóhanna Einarsdóttir
’76 Curriculum & Instruction, Ed.M. ’77 Educational Psychology, Ph.D. ’00 Curriculum & Instruction
Professor and Dean of the School of Education at the University of Iceland

Dr. Einarsdóttir holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Oulu in Finland. She has conducted research in preschools and primary schools, and her work has been published widely. In addition, Einarsdóttir has been involved in several international research projects as a researcher and as a consultant, publishing collaboratively with international colleagues from Europe, the U.S., and Australia. She has served as a board of trustee on the European Early Childhood Education Research Association since 2012 and is an expert in educational transitions, children’s perspectives, and action research.

Rachel EndoRachel Endo
Ph.D. ’09 Curriculum & Instruction
Dean and Professor in the School of Education at the University of Washington Tacoma

Dr. Endo was named the founding dean of the School of Education at the University of Washington Tacoma last year. Widely recognized for promoting equity and excellence in education, she has presented and published her research extensively in the areas of bilingual education, critical approaches to multicultural education, and the education of immigrant and refugee Americans. Her recent awards include the Arthur J. King Curriculum Innovation Award in 2018, the Carl A. Grant Excellence in Research Award in 2017, and the inaugural AERA-REAPA Don T. Nakanishi Excellence in Mentorship Award in 2017.

Jon-Chao HongJon-Chao Hong
Ed.M. ’81 Vocational Technology, Ph.D. ’84 Vocational Technology
hair Professor at National Taiwan Normal University and Director of the Digital Game-based Learning Lab

Dr. Hong helps develop games for apps and the Web, and he has published numerous academic articles in international journals that focus on digital game-based learning, thinking skills, and creativity. While at Illinois, Hong was involved in creativity-training research that led him to organizing contests for youths. He also helped establish the Taiwan Creativity Development Association and organized the International Exhibition for Young Inventors. More recently, Hong has developed educational game apps such as Garden Science and Whywhy POE, which is hand-held technology that has promoted science inquiry and learning. He was honored in 2013 as an Outstanding Researcher by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan.

Linda Marie PerkinsLinda Marie Perkins 
Ph.D. ’78 Education
Associate Professor at Claremont Graduate University

Dr. Perkins serves as the director of Applied Women's Studies and director of Women's and Gender Studies at Claremont University. A historian of higher education for women and African-Americans, she was also the director of the university’s Africana Studies program from 2007 to 2014. Perkins has published extensively on black women in higher education and is the author of Fanny Jackson Coppin and the Institute of Colored Youth, 1837-1902 as well as the forthcoming book The Black Women Talented Tenth: The History of Black Women's Higher Education, 1850-1968. She is a former board member of the National Council for Research on Women and was the 2013 recipient of the Anna Julia Cooper Award in Education from the National Veteran Feminists of America.

Vicki StaytonVicki Stayton
Ph.D. '86 Special Education 
Professor Emerita of Western Kentucky University and Co-Director of Early Childhood Personnel Center at the University of Connecticut

Dr. Stayton coordinated the blended undergraduate and graduate early childhood education and early childhood special education degree programs while at Western Kentucky. She has published on these topics in both research- and practitioner-based publications and has directed numerous state and federal grants specific to preservice education and professional development. In addition, Stayton has presented widely at state, national, and international conferences and currently serves on three refereed journal editorial boards. She is involved in state and national initiatives within her field and is the chair of the Personnel Preparation Council of the Division for Early Childhood, and a member of the Professional Standards Development Workgroup of the Council for Exceptional Children.

David StovallDavid O. Stovall
Ed.M. ’98 Educational Policy Studies, Ph.D. ’01 Educational Policy Studies
Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Stovall’s scholarship investigates critical race theory; the relationship between housing and education; and the intersection of race, place, and school. To bring theory to action, he works with community organizations and schools to develop curriculum that addresses issues of equity and justice. His work led him to becoming a member of the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School of Social Justice High School design team, furthering his involvement with communities, students, and teachers. Stovall’s work in these realms has manifested itself further through collaborations with the Peoples Education Movement, which encompasses classroom teachers, community members, students, and university professors in Chicago, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. These individuals engage in interactive community projects centered on creating relevant curriculum.

2018 Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Meg BatesMeg Bates
MA ’04 Educational Psychology, Ph.D. ’09 Educational Psychology
Senior Research and Evaluation Scientist and Director of Digital Teacher Learning Research, UChicago STEM Education, University of Chicago

Dr. Bates is an educational psychologist who researches and develops educational innovations at UChicago STEM Education at the University of Chicago. She has led the development of several digital tools for STEM teacher learning, including the widely used Everyday Mathematics Virtual Learning Community (http://vlc.uchicago.edu). She has also developed an online financial-literacy course for teachers and an adaptive digital planning tool for teachers called CurriculumKit. Additionally, Bates has published numerous articles on how teachers use and learn from online tools, and she co-edited a volume on digital curricula in school mathematics. Bates has served as a curriculum writer on mathematics, science, and financial literacy curricula and, in addition to her Illinois degrees, earned a bachelor’s degree in English secondary education from Millikin University.

D'Andre WeaverD’Andre Weaver
Ed.M. ’10 Education Organization & Leadership
Community Superintendent of the Spring Branch Independent School District

Mr. Weaver is currently pursuing a doctorate in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership. He is passionate about helping students realize their dreams and is a proud former student himself of the Chicago Public Schools system. Following his time in college, Weaver taught multiple levels of English literature, served as principal at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Chicago, and assisted in various capacities with enhancing the education of college-eligible minority students and African-American students. In his current role as one of three community superintendents, he helps support 15 principals and more than 12,000 racially and economically diverse students. In addition, Weaver is part of a newly developed leadership team that is implementing an ambitious plan to create personalized learning experiences for each of the district’s 35,000 students.

2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Dave Edyburn

Dave Edyburn
Ph.D. 1987 Special Education
College of Education and Human Performance, Associate Dean for Research, University of Central Florida

Dave is a visionary leader in the field of special education. He has served the field in the capacity of an editor of five journals; published more than 150 articles; received more than $7 million in funding; and has presented his research nationally and internationally. His research interests include the application of technology to enhance teaching and learning. He has published and presented extensively on his work in the area of technology during the past 30 years, and his work in the field of special education has been cited often. Dave is a thought leader and a committed professional who seeks to help change and shape the lives of professionals, students, and families in the field of special education.

Mark GierlMark Gierl
Ph.D. 1996 Educational PsychologyProfessor and Director of the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation, University of Alberta in Edmonton

Mark’s specialization is educational and psychological measurement. His current research is focused on automatic item generation. Mark works closely with government agencies, testing companies, and academic publishers to implement item-generation principles produced from his research into their test development practices. He has published extensively during his 20-year career and is an extraordinary mentor who has inspired and fostered the intellectual development of many of his students. They, in turn, have gone on to do exceptionally well in their careers. Mark is the Director in the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation (CRAME) at the University of Alberta.

Elaine HorwitzElaine Horwitz
Ph.D. 1980 Curriculum & Instruction (MA 1975, LAS)Curriculum and Instruction Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Elaine has conducted groundbreaking research on the emotional experiences of second language learners and has influenced language teaching worldwide. She has been the director of an internationally recognized graduate program in the field of second Language learning and teaching at the University of Texas at Austin and continues to be an influential mentor to countless language teachers and researchers. Elaine holds a master’s degree in French language teaching, and her doctorate is in second language learning and teaching from the University of Illinois. She has 73 doctoral dissertations completed under her direction, as well as numerous master’s theses and two undergraduate honor theses.

Leslie RutkowskiLeslie Rutkowski
Ph.D. 2007, MS 2005 Educational PsychologyCentre for Educational Measurement Professor, University of Oslo, Norway

Leslie is internationally recognized for her research on large-scale assessments. She earned a master's degree in statistics from the College of LAS and a doctorate from the Department of Educational Psychology. Leslie has made a lasting impression through her research and teaching on educational inquiry and analysis. After completing research on post-traumatic stress disorder, she worked as a research associate with the Data Processing and Research Center in Germany, which is part of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Leslie returned to the U.S. in 2010 and became an assistant professor of inquiry methodology in the Counseling and Education Psychology Department at Indiana University. Five years later, her experience in the international statistics field led Leslie to her current position as a professor at the Centre for Education Measurement at the University of Oslo. She has been published in numerous journals and has published a handbook on large-scale assessments.

Michael WischnowskiMichael Wischnowski
Ph.D. 1996 Special EducationRalph C. Wilson School of Education, Dean and Professor, St. John Fisher College

Michael has served as dean of the School of Education at St John Fisher College since 2012. He has focused much of his scholarly work on systems-level policy and administration within the early childhood special education and early intervention fields. Michael has been published in both research and practitioner journals, as well as other publications. Highly regarded in his field, he has presented at state, national, and international conferences and has been a mentor to many. Michael has served as associate editor of  Young Exceptional Children, a practitioner-focused, peer-reviewed journal published by the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Steven WiseSteven Wise
Ph.D. 1981 Educational PschologyNorthwest Evaluation Association, Senior Research Fellow

Steven has been successful in various roles: professor, editor, mentor, author, supervisor, researcher, and leader. His achievements during his career in both academia and industry have extended to outstanding research and significant contributions to his field, to scholarly dissemination, to service to his profession, and to the mentoring of emerging scholars. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Steven co-developed the Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Education doctoral program and served as its first program head. He was also a founding member of the journal Applied Measurement in Education, one of the most influential journals in the field of educational measurement and assessment. Steven has also been a member of the editorial boards of multiple prestigious journals and participates on the Technical Advisory Committees for high-stakes testing programs. Steven has also served as a program co-chair for Division D, the American Educational Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education.

2017 Young Alumni Award Recipient

Steven LukeSteven LukePh.D. 2011, MS 2008 Educational PsychologyDepartment of Psychology and Neuroscience Center Assistant Professor, Brigham Young University
Steve received his doctorate in the Department of Educational Psychology in 2011, with a certificate of advanced study in second language acquisition and teacher education. During his time at Illinois, he received two teaching awards, including the Sandra Goss Lucas Award for excellence in teaching introductory psychology. Since graduating, Steve has published 25 papers that have appeared in the top research journals within his field. His work has been cited collectively more than 300 times, demonstrating a substantial early impact in the field of educational psychology. According to Kiel Christianson, Steve’s nominator, “Steve is on his way to becoming a superstar in the fields of cognitive and educational psychology.”

2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Christine Adrian

Christine Adrian ’92 C&I, Ed.M. ’93 C&I, Ed.M. ’06 EOL
Social Studies Building Leader, Jefferson Middle School

Christine’s passion for social studies and preparing students to become citizens is evident in her role at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign. In this position, she organizes schoolwide activities and constructs personal learning plans for the social studies department. Christine also facilitates professional development for the Champaign Unit 4 School District and works to align the district’s curriculum to the new College, Career and Civic Life framework. She won the Lincoln Lesson Plan contest from the History Channel in 2009 and was the 2009 Outstanding Mock Election Project recipient. In 2010 Christine was named the Illinois History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History; in 2011 she received the Outstanding Middle School Teacher of the Year award from the National Council for the Social Studies; and in 2012 she won the Award of Teaching Excellence in Illinois. Nominated by Kimberly Seobhan.

Elise DarwishElise Darwish ’88 C&I
Chief Academic Officer, Aspire Public Schools

Elise began as a kindergarten teacher in the inner city of Chicago and later relocated to California to work as an instructional coordinator at the San Carlos Charter Learning Center, California’s first charter school. Elise later collaborated with mentor Don Shalvey and Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings to start Aspire Public Schools, one of the nation’s first charter management organizations. Serving more than 14,600 students in 38 schools, Aspire’s model utilizes expanded learning time and small class sizes to optimize learning. During the last five years, 100 percent of Aspire graduates have secured admission to a four-year college or university.  As chief academic officer, Elise supports principals, oversees research pertaining to curriculum and assessment, and manages internal professional development programs. Nominated by Lizbeth Katsinas.

Kevin FavorKevin Favor, Ph.D. ’87 Ed. Psych.
Psychology and Human Services Professor, Lincoln University

Kevin has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to facilitating mental health outcomes for people of color and enjoyed a stellar career at Lincoln University, providing extraordinary service to students, faculty, and staff. At Lincoln University he has served in the roles of dean of Campus Life, department chair of the psychology department, and as a tenured professor. Kevin is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania and Maryland and maintains certification in the treatment of alcohol and other psychoactive substance use disorders from the APA College of Professional Psychology. He has served on committees and review panels for the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Centers for Disease Control. Kevin was named a People to People Ambassador for Mental Health and participated in the delegation to China and Tibet, investigating mental health systems within this cultural context. He also taught psychology as a visiting professor at Addis Ababa University. Nominated by Denice Ward Hood.

Gary SwansonGary Swanson ’74 Ed.
CEO and President, Dimage Studios LLC and former Professor

Gary is an internationally recognized and highly acclaimed educator, photojournalist, documentary and news producer, director, editor, speaker, and consultant. He has given numerous keynote speeches, served as organizer and chair at conferences, and presented workshops and lectured at embassies, festivals, and universities worldwide. Prior to his work in academe, Gary compiled a distinguished professional broadcast career spanning 13 years at NBC News, producing award-winning documentaries, prime-time news magazine stories, and covering breaking news in 26 states and Canada for the network. He has earned more than 76 awards for broadcast excellence and photojournalism, including three national EMMYs. His photography has won numerous awards and his works have been published in magazines, books, and displayed in art galleries worldwide. Nominated by Thomas G. Endres.

2016 Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipient

Brandon Wright

Brandon Wright, Ed.M. ’04 EOL
Partner, Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller Ltd.

Brandon’s current position as an attorney combines his belief in civic responsibility with an understanding of the laws that drive the functionality of schools. He was the youngest person to be elected to a school board in Illinois, as he was completing his undergraduate degree at Southern Illinois University. He has developed a particular specialty in the field of special education law and assists superintendents and directors statewide, helping them navigate the legal waters of the decisions under the purview of their leadership. Brandon regularly provides administrator academies and school in-services, and he has spoken at a variety of roundtables, division meetings, school board workshops, and conferences. Nominated by Donna M. Davis.

2015 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Alumni award recipient Lisa DiekerLisa Dieker, Ph.D. '94
Special Education

Dr. Lisa Dieker is a Pegasus Professor and Lockheed Martin Eminent Scholar Chair at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. She received her doctorate at the University of Illinois. In her current role at UCF she coordinates the Ph.D. program in special education, is director of the Lockheed Martin Mathematics and Science Academy, and is one of three faculty members who created and has a patent pending on a classroom simulator called TeachLivE™, which was adopted by 55 universities in the U.S.

Shelley HymelShelley Hymel, Ph.D. '82
Educational Psychology

After completing her doctorate in 1982, Shelley Hymel served as a faculty member in developmental psychology at the University of Waterloo. She later joined the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she holds the Lando Professorship in Social-Emotional Learning and has established a master’s degree program and a teacher training specialization in social-emotional learning. Hymel serves on research advisory teams for the interdisciplinary Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC and for the Committee for Children in Seattle.

Lucinda Lee KatzLucinda Lee Katz, Ph.D. '76
Early Childhood Education

Dr. Lucinda Lee Katz currently serves as the head of Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, California. Prior to that position she worked as chief education officer with Mayor Daley in Chicago and served as director and principal of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools from 1986 to 2002. Katz began her career with the National Teacher Corps Program in low-income schools in San Francisco and was the first Chinese bilingual bicultural teacher in the city's public schools.

Kenneth SlawKenneth Slaw, Ph.D. '87
Educational Psychology

Dr.  Kenneth Slaw’s fields of concentration include adult education, education administration, and children with special learning and health needs. He spent six years engaged in consulting work, working with state departments of mental health and developmental disabilities to monitor patient populations for early onset psychotropic medication side effects such as tardive dyskinesia. He helped put policies and care systems in place to remove children and young adults from medication prior to developing long-term, irreversible neurologic damage.

Lawrence L. SmithLawrence Smith, Ph.D. '72
Elementary Education and Educational Psychology

Dr. Lawrence L. Smith is President of Entrepreneurs in Education and a professor emeritus at Ball State University. His academic expertise is in diagnosing and teaching children with severe reading problems. Smith has researched for 20 years how technology can be used in the elementary classroom to help children improve their reading. He conducted the first study that compared children’s progress in understanding literature when they read from books and from interactive CDs.

Elizabeth TrummelElizabeth Trummel, B.S. '78
Elementary Education

Betty Trummel is an educator with 35 years of elementary classroom teaching experience. She taught Science Methods for Elementary Teachers at Northern Illinois University for 10 years. Trummel has a master’s degree in science, outdoor education from Northern Illinois University and is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. As part of education outreach associated with science research projects, she has had three Antarctic deployments that have been catalysts in her career and life, introducing her to polar science in action and providing the opportunity to spend months working alongside outstanding science researchers.

2015 Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipient

Neffisatu J.C. DamboNeffisatu J.C. Dambo, Ed.M. '13
Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
Neffisatu J.C. Dambo is a native of Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from high school at 16 and pursued her post-secondary studies at Southern Illinois University, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and elementary education. In 2006 Dambo earned her master’s degree in counseling and student development from Eastern Illinois University. She continued her studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned a master’s degree in the Department of Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership.