Accolades: Read About the News and Accomplishments from our Students, Alumni and Faculty/Staff

104516017-hands-clapping1-300x2001Accolades – below are news and notes from our alumni, faculty, staff, and students. We are proud of all the amazing accomplishments by our Neag family. If you have an accolade to share, we want to hear from you! Please send any news items (and story ideas) to shawn.kornegay@uconn.


David R. Hooper, a doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology, won the Doctoral Student Outstanding Podium Presentation at this year’s annual meeting of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, held in Las Vegas NV in July 2013. It was a competition among all doctoral students whose abstracts were accepted for presentation worldwide.

Tunde K. Szivak, a doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology, won one of the Women’s Scholarship Awards at this year’s annual meeting of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, held in Las Vegas NV in July 2013   It was a competition among all graduate students who applied worldwide.



Michael S. Allen ’93 MA in kinesiology, ’97 PhD in kinesiology was appointed to vice president for student affairs at The Catholic University of America. Prior to that position, he was associate vice president and director of athletics at the university. Allen has served for eight years as the University’s athletic director and spent a dozen years before that working in student-centered support programs at Florida Atlantic University and UConn.

Merrilyn Cummings ’68 BS in home economics education, was honored by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) with a Distinguished Service Award. A 45-year member of AAFCS, she is a dynamic, highly respected family and consumer sciences (FCS) leader. Cummings has sustained commitment to the FCS profession from her early years as a Connecticut 4-H member through her retirement.

Lawrence M. Fenn, ’70 BA, ’83 Ph.D. both in educational administration, joined the Franklin Board of Education as a part-time superintendent. For the past five years he served as a consultant and administrator in Long Island, New York. Prior to that time, he served for 22 years as the Lisbon Public Schools Superintendent and prior to that as a principal in Windham for nine years.

Mary Beth Kelliher ’05 MA in curriculum and instruction and bilingual bicultural education received the Accelerated Reading Model Classroom Certification Award.  She is a language arts literacy lab instructor at Goodwin Technical High School.

Jim Penders ‘67 BS in physical education was inducted to the Hall of Fame’s UConn wing by The Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame. Penders, who is the father of the current UConn baseball coach, also named Jim, was a co-captain outfielder for 1965 team that reached the College World Series. Penders, who played three years for the Huskies, scored the winning run against Holy Cross in the ’65 New England Championship game played at Fenway Park that sent the Huskies to the field of eight in Omaha.

Kelly Sanders ’13 Sixth Year Diploma, is the new principal at Noah Wallace. Sanders recently worked as a literacy specialist at West District School before becoming principal. She was last year’s Teacher of the Year in Farmington. Prior to serving as a literacy specialist, she worked as a first grade teacher and a reading recovery teacher at Union School. She said she was hired by former Superintendent Bob Villanova to work as a kindergarten teacher at West District after finishing her master’s degree at Smith College.

Gary Valentine ’80 BA in business administration, ’83 MA in kinesiology was crowned world champion at the International Weightlifting Federation World Masters championships in Torino, Italy. After earning his Master’s degree in exercise science from UConn in 1983, Valentine worked in the field of cardiac rehabilitation for 24 years. In 2009, he formed Valentine Strength, LLC, a strength and weightlifting consulting firm offering seminars and private instruction in Olympic Weightlifting.

Thomas J. Van Hoof ’96 MA in educational administration, was recognized with the following awards: Teaching Promise Award, UConn Chapter, American Association of University Professors and Friend of Nursing Award, Mu Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International. He also recently received a grant award for an educational computer simulation through the Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation. He’s an associate professor at UConn’s School of Nursing.



Dual Degree was a wonderful initiative that came out of TNE. 100% of our students in World Language graduated with the dual degree in 2013. It was five students, 4 in Spanish, 1 in French.

Neag’s Postsecondary Disability Training Institute held its 25th annual training institute. This year they were in Boston, with a record crowd of 333 attendees.

Middle School teachers from Willington, Shelton, Glastonbury, Ridgefield, and Sharon joined the Neag School of Education this summer to develop curriculum for the New England Board of Higher Education’s NSF-funded problem-based learning project.  Many thanks to Peg, Matt, Erica, Beth, and Eddie for their enthusiasm and expertise, and to the PBL team for your leadership!

Miligros Castillo-Montoya was the recipient of the 2013 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award provided by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). It’s a competitive award and last year they had 260 nominations, of which, only seven people were chosen for the award.

Wendy Glenn was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Standing Committee Against Censorship for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Her three-year term will begin after the 2013 Annual Convention scheduled for November 21-26, in Boston. She was also recognized as a recipient of an NCTE Research Award for a paper published in English Education.

Coventry Public Schools is delighted to be collaborating with Jae-Eun Joo. Joo has been working with them this summer, providing iPad training for teachers and administrators. According to their superintendent, David Petrone, “Our experience with this newest partnership with UCONN has been outstanding. Thank you for your collaboration and generosity.”

Alison Lombardi was recognized with an Emerging Diversity Scholar citation from University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity.

Joe Renzulli was an invited keynote speaker to 600 guests onIntelligences Outside the Normal Curve:  Factors That Contribute To The Creation Of Social Capital And Leadership Skills In Young People And Adults” for the International Conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, Louisville, KY. He was a keynote speaker for 350 guests on “The Importance of Promoting Gifted and Talented Programs In Developing Countries” for the Department of Psychology, Entrepreneurship Center, University of Ciputra, East Java, Indonesia.

George Sugai is being honored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on School Health (COSH) with the 2013 Milton JE Senn Lectureship Award. The Senn Award recognizes distinguished national service in the field of school health and/or contributions to the AAP Council on School Health that have significantly improved the welfare of school children. George will be recognized, along with his colleague Robert Horner, at the 2013 AAP National Conference and Exhibition (NCE) in Florida in October.

Suzanne Wilson has been appointed to the Inquiry Brief (IB) Commission/Accreditation Council with Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This is an unprecedented opportunity to truly shape CAEP as the new accrediting body for educator preparation through service within its first permanent governance structure. The Accreditation Council and its commissions will be having their initial in-person meeting October 20–24, in Washington, DC.

Mary Yakimowski, Marijke Kehrhahn, Dorothea Anagnostopoulos and Robin Hannds had a proposal accepted from the 2013 NNER Conference in Alberquerque. The presentation is “Assessment Activities with Purposive Partnerships: Solidifying the Map for Continuous Improvement.”