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Dr. Martha Shaw, right, was honored with the Vulcan Outstanding Teaching Award. She is pictured with Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Danielle Satre. Photo by Jeff Reed

Family and friends joined Reinhardt University students, faculty and staff Monday night in Flint Hall at the Falany Performing Arts Center for the annual An Evening of Honors ceremony. The event honors Reinhardt’s best and brightest students and the faculty who instill much time and effort into students’ daily lives.

Held each spring near the end of the academic year, the evening features scholarship and service awards for juniors and seniors, and recognizes faculty members’ exemplary work over the past year.

The 2018 Student of the Year for a traditional student was awarded to Ansley Michael Avera, who began thinking about Reinhardt University at only 14 years old. She opted to do a project on Reinhardt since that was where her older brother was attending – a place she referred to as “foreign.”

She found that Reinhardt had small class sizes and varsity athletic teams, which is what her 14-year-old self believed college should be. That “foreign” place she learned of in her early teen years quickly became her home. Upon arriving at Reinhardt, she immediately got involved with track and field, campus ministry, the honors program and more. She participated in many activities while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.

“Over my four years, Reinhardt means so much more to me than the small class size and sports teams that I saw when I was 14,” Avera said. “Reinhardt is a nurturing and loving community where students can get involved in multiple areas on campus, grow in leadership, thrive in academics, and even be friends with the President of the University on Facebook. Reinhardt is more than a university. Reinhardt is my home.”

Student of the Year Ansley Avera is pictured with her parents at the Evening of Honors celebration. Photo by Jeff Reed

Eric Scott Owens was given the non-traditional Student of the Year Award. The seasoned professional is focusing on earning his undergraduate degree in Biology. Owens, a U.S. Navy veteran, spent many years in the information technology sector, but the birth of his child caused him to want to do more to help others. He chose Reinhardt University and found a place of support as he works toward a career in allopathic medicine specializing in general surgery.

“I achieved several semesters on the President’s and Dean’s Lists for academic accomplishment and was inducted into the honorary Tri-Beta Biological Society,” he said. “Overall, the most important lesson I learned is that hard work, faith and the support from wonderful people can groom the best in all of us.”

The No Greater Love Award is given to a student who shows care for others and is ready to help. MaKayla Gwendolyn Newell was presented the award for her encouraging words, random acts of kindness and service to Reinhardt University. Filling in MaKayla’s name in the well-known I Corinthians 13:4-8 Bible verse, Reinhardt President Dr. Kina Mallard said she is the embodiment of being patient, kind and loving.


Roberts and Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Danielle Satre presented Dr. Martha Shaw with the Vulcan Outstanding Teaching Award.

“The Vulcan Outstanding Teaching Award goes to a faculty member who has consistently reflected excellence in their teaching and work with students through the use of creative and innovative instruction, availability to students both inside and outside of the classroom, willingness to revise their course periodically, commitment to educating the whole person, sensitivity to the diverse needs of students and encouraging students toward multicultural experiences and willingness to mentor other faculty,” Roberts said.

“I am humbled and grateful to be honored by my colleagues for my work at Reinhardt,” Shaw said. “We have so many great teachers who give their lives and hearts to this institution, and I am thrilled to work with them. My students are smart, kind, talented, and teachable. They make working here a joy.”

Among other faculty honored were: Dr. Aliya A. Donnell Davenport, who was given the United Methodist Exemplary Teacher Award; Dr. Ken Wheeler, who won the Jane England Teaching Excellence Award; Dr. SimonPeter Gomez, who was given the Faculty Research & Scholarship Award; and Jym Davis, who earned the Faculty Artistic Awards.

The student body selected Elizabeth Smith for the Elizabeth Moss Bailey Faculty Mentor Award, which was presented by Student Body President Luke Williams ’18.


Each School within Reinhardt University honors a single student each year. The following students were honored by their deans:

Arts & Humanities: Chloe Alexandra Laveing

McCamish School of Business: Luke Ellington Williams

Price School of Education: Kyle Simpson Covington

Mathematics & Sciences: Victoria Anne Cassidy

Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences: Peyton Timothy Holbrook

Performing Arts: Joshua Reed Baldwin

Professional Studies: Michael Tanner Wilson

Students were honored with Academic Program Awards and School Student Achievement Awards.

Academic Degree Program Awards went to:

ART: Alicia Robin Bland and Karley Elizabeth Harmon

BIOLOGY: Amy Brooke Williams and Laurel Kailey Payne


Accounting: Jon Marcus Miller and Abigail Kacie Catano

General Business/General Communication: Albane Marion Queinnec-Barreau and Chancler’Heston Rice Sadler

Management: Trevor Jon Freeman and Fabio Langer Pereira

Marketing: Matthew Jonathan Gray & Jorge Leonardo Ramirez

Sport Studies: Mary Ruth Wheeler & Jordan Lea Smith-Williams



Communication & Media Studies: Abigail Jean Snelson & Jordan Mariah Beach

Digital Media Arts: Dustin David Earl Nelson

Digital Film & Video: Matthew Andre Gordon

Public Relations: Karina Rodriguez-Jaimes & Adria Elizabeth Mulrooney

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Ivette Burgos-Valenzuela & Shawn Harrison McRae


Early Childhood Education: Taylor Ashton Weeks & Marilyn A. Youngblood

English Language Arts: Kyle Simpson Covington & Carleigh Rebecca Myatt

Math Education: Ansley Michael Avera

ENGLISH: Stephanie A. Acton & Carleigh Rebecca Myatt

HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION: Cynthia Kay Foust & Addison Nicole Bredekamp

HISTORY: Madeline Grace Gray

INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES: Luke Daniel Madden & Bradley Dane Niday

MATH: Michelle Liane Browning & Stephanie Catherine Grove

NURSING: George Richard Seddon


Music Education: Laura Anne Sellers & Sarah Logan Hamilton

Music Performance: Katherine Renee Manettas & Catherine Verda Worsham

Sacred Music: Joynita Vinshay Etheridge

Musical Theatre: Cameron Charles Newman Smith & Mikensley Elizabeth Clayton

POLITICAL SCIENCE: Thomas William Sizemore & Darian Zane Harris

PSYCHOLOGY: Kristina Mary Jones & Katie Teresa Payne


Criminal Justice: Tyler Marquis Gaines & Hannah Elise McKinley

Social Services: Nicolle Amaya