Class of 2021 Graduates from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education
During a Commencement ceremony held on Saturday, May 8, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education bestowed baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees on more than 120 graduates.
Dr. Whitney Rapp, associate dean of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, offered congratulatory remarks to the graduates on behalf of Dean Joellen Maples, who was unable to attend the ceremony.
“Whether you are embarking on a teaching career, a librarianship, or a leadership role, today is the start of your new journey,” Rapp read. “In your future, don’t waste time being afraid in your personal life or your career. Remember what you have learned at St. John Fisher College. Don’t be afraid to speak out and speak up about inequities you encounter. Don’t be afraid to reach out—reach out to others, reach out across the aisles, and to reach beyond your wildest dreams.”
During the ceremony, Dr. Katrina Arndt, a professor of inclusive education, was given the Award for Teaching Excellence at the undergraduate level. The Award for Teaching Excellence recipients are chosen by students, and the award is given annually to full-time faculty members for outstanding work in the classroom. Award recipients must demonstrate thorough knowledge of their subject matter, solid preparation for class, clear and effective communication, and genuine enthusiasm for their job.
Arndt, who instructs both undergraduate and graduate courses in teacher preparation including schools, ability and learning, assessment, classroom management, and educational technology, has an extensive teaching background in special education in urban and suburban classrooms. Her research interests and consulting work focus on inclusive practices in schooling.
An advocate for education reform that supports inclusive practices for all students, another nominator wrote that Arndt’s “inclusiveness and the sense of community makes every student feel important; she regularly tells us that all of our voices matter. She is respectful of all identities, backgrounds, and beliefs, and encourages thoughtful discussion to explain our ideas to our peers.”
The nomination went on to say that Arndt is the “perfect candidate for this award, because she is what makes a classroom feel like a family, and makes Fisher feel like home.”
Dr. Matt Frahm, a doctoral candidate in the Ed.D. program and superintendent of Naples Central School District, offered remarks on behalf of the graduates, spoke of how the pandemic reshaped our understanding of what “essential” means in the workplace, and how opportunity should be fostered among students.
“As graduates of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, we know we have an obligation to help others realize their true potential, and the skills needed to make the world a better place,” he said.
As part of the ceremony, the School also honored recipients of its annual academic awards, recognizing the following students for their accomplishments in and out of the classroom:
- Outstanding Undergraduate Adolescence Educator Award: Clarissa Theresa Hensler
- Outstanding Undergraduate Childhood Educator Award: Felicia Marie DeAngelo
- Outstanding Childhood Education Student Teacher Award: Daniel P Guider
- Outstanding Adolescence Education Student Teacher Award: Archie J. Young
- Excellence in Adolescent Special Education Capstone Research Award: Mara Kathleen O'Neill
- Excellence in Childhood Special Education Capstone Research Award: Kelly Margaret Douglass
- Distinguished Library Media Award: Tiffany Leader
- New York Library Association's Dewey Scholarship: Jennifer McCorry
- Ronald Edmonds Award of Excellence: Heather A. Kemper
- Distinguished Educational Leadership Award: Stephanie M. Barg