The University of Mary Washington presented its top honors during commencement ceremonies Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11.
Courtney A. Lynn of Virginia Beach received the Colgate W. Darden Jr. Award, which is presented to the student with the highest grade-point average (GPA) in the four-year undergraduate program. She finished with a 3.99 GPA.
Joella Killian, professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, was presented the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious annual award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. The recipient is routinely a senior member of the faculty.
Melanie D. Szulczewski, assistant professor of environmental science in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, which is presented annually to an exceptional member of the faculty who has served the institution for at least two years but no more than five years.
Daniel J. Hubbard, associate professor in the Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems in the College of Business, received the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award. The winner is selected by the graduating class as the faculty member “whom they will most likely remember as the one who had the greatest impact on their lives.”
Louis A. Martinette, associate professor in the Department of Management and Marketing in the College of Business, was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award. The honor recognizes an exceptional full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in graduate teaching and professional leadership in a graduate program. The person selected must have served in a full-time position at the university for at least two years.
Lynn is a psychology major who received a Bachelor of Science degree. A statistics tutor for two years, the Department of Psychology named her as the department’s outstanding senior.
She has served as co-president of UMW’s chapter of Psi Chi, the international psychology society. Lynn has been named to the President’s List for six semesters and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board national honor societies that recognize students for scholarship, leadership and service.
Her research on children’s stress culminated in an honors thesis titled, “The Effect of Physical Activity on the Heart Rate Recovery of Children Under Stress.” This fall, she will enter the Ph.D. program in School Psychology at the University of South Florida.
Killian has taught at UMW for 29 years, joining the faculty in 1984. Students admire her for the thoughtful and tireless ways she approaches teaching. They view Killian as a role model and mentor.
“They freely share their academic and personal challenges with her and actively seek her advice and support,” Interim Provost Ian Newbould said. “The many long-lasting relationships she maintains with her former students serve as testimony to the positive impact she has had on them.”
Killian earned a doctorate in entomology from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A member of the Entomological Society of America and the scientific research society Sigma Xi, she is an expert in tree fruit entomology.
A member of the faculty for the past five years, Szulczewski is recognized for her interactive ways of engaging students and her innovative teaching methods.
“She works at helping students understand the complex scientific phenomena involved in the subjects she teaches,” Newbould said. “Students praise her as energetic, passionate and enthusiastic.”
Szulczewski spearheaded groundbreaking programs for the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, including a global inquiry course, the department’s first fully online course; its first field study course to be offered outside of Virginia and its first international course. She also initiated the development of the interdisciplinary environmental sustainability minor, a pioneering program that brings together courses from eight different departments. In just two years, the minor has more than 35 students from 16 different majors.
Szulczewski earned both a doctorate and a master’s degree in soil science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and French literature from Cornell University. An authoritative source on environmental issues, climate change and solar cooking, Szulczewski has presented her research at conferences such as the American Chemical Society, the Soil Science Society of America and the International Solid Waste Technology and Management Conference.