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DTCC 2013 Academic, Teaching, Support Services, and Community Engagement Awards Recipients

Erin Marie Souther Academic Excellence Award
Erin Marie Souther has been selected as Durham Technical Community College's Academic Excellence Award recipient for 2013. Souther is planning to graduate in May with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Laboratory Technology. She was the unanimous choice for the award, with her nomination letter submitted by all four faculty members in the Dental Laboratory Technology program, each of whom is a Certified Dental Technician (CDT). These faculty members are Alberto Camacho; Ricky Glasgow; Michael Patrick; and Greg Walton, program director.

Souther currently has a perfect 4.0 grade point average at Durham Technical Community College. She represents Tau Eta Sigma, the dental laboratory fraternity, in the Student Senate and has organized numerous activities for the group, creating a much-needed sense of community and spirit that has revitalized the organization. The fraternity bestowed the 2012 Outstanding Student Leadership Award upon her in appreciation for her hard work and dedication. Souther also received the 2012 Campus Fund Drive Scholarship from DTCC and the 2012 William Rogers Award from the NC Dental Laboratory Association (NCDLA). She volunteers regularly with Missions of Mercy, a partnership between the NCDLA and the NC Dental Society, providing free dental services for people in need. In her free time, Souther is an avid softball player and participates in corecreational leagues in Durham.

A native of Wilkesboro, NC, Souther earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art, graduating cum laude from Appalachian State University (ASU) in Boone prior to attending DTCC. While at ASU, she participated in many art exhibitions, including curated group, invitational, individual, and juried displays. ---Souther believes her artistic skills, eye for detail, and desire to work with her hands led her to choose the Dental Laboratory Technology field of study. "With my background in sculpting and experience in working with human anatomy, I feel confident that this is a field in which I can excel," Souther says. "I also get a lot of satisfaction from creating something that improves the quality of life for my patients."

She states that her plan after graduation is to work in a dental laboratory for several years until she has the skills to open her own lab, saying, "Ultimately, I would like to own a dental lab AND an art studio. I think I can do it!"

Those who know her have little doubt that she will accomplish both goals.

Theresa Fine-PawseyExcellence in Teaching Award
Theresa Fine-Pawsey represents the excellence Durham Tech demands of its instructors, and she will represent the college well as its recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Theresa is described by her peers as having "boundless energy" and being "fearless" in her approach to using new techniques in the classroom and as a "first-rate critical thinker." Her students describe her as being "engaging" and "always encouraging us to think outside the box" and "able to identify in me something that could be developed."

When asked to develop a concept for the new HUM 212 Capstone course, her desire to make the course as meaningful and interesting for students as possible led her to develop Visual Literacy and the Graphic Novel, a course students are excited to take and rave about once it’s over.

She also encourages students to engage with each other and the outside world in unique ways that allow them to discover different perspectives. For example, as part of an American Literature II course assignment, Theresa took students to visit a Picasso exhibit at the Nasher Museum to interact with the art and make connections between the art and the literature they were reading in class, allowing students to synthesize material across disciplines. Theresa also makes a point to add case studies or real-world application aspects to her assignments so that students can see a direct relationship between school and life. These types of innovations in the classroom are the mark of a truly excellent instructor.

Outside of the classroom, she is an asset to our campus community. She serves as a faculty advisor for Spectrum (an organization advocating for and supporting LGBT people on the DTCC campus); has done countless TLC presentations to share her work with her colleagues; has volunteered to lead one of Durham Tech’s first ever CLIP (Communities of Learning, Inquiry, and Practice) research groups; has worked with colleagues to develop programs that enhance our community experience; has served as chair of Faculty Council; serves on the TLC Advisory committee; and has represented Durham Tech as a presenter at several state and national conferences.

Mary KenneryExellence in Support Services Award
The Excellence in Support Services Award at Durham Tech is an award presented to non-faculty employees who promote excellence, innovation, and dedication in service to the students and to the larger community of Durham Technical Community College. The award acknowledges those employees whose contributions are of sufficient magnitude to be recognized by their peers, supervisors, and subordinates. Mary Kennery, Library Technician, Technical Services is the recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Support Services Award.

Due to a vacant position at the Orange County Campus, Mary has been working both on Main Campus and at OCC for 4.5 years – two to three days per week at each place.  She takes books and DVDs back and forth from Main to OCC for cataloging. In the 2011 fiscal year, she cataloged 2,862 books and DVDs. In the 2012 fiscal year, she catalogued and processed, 4,894 books and DVDs. She also orders all library materials and supplies for three campus libraries, maintains accurate records of funds, and processes all invoices. In addition to this, this year’s recipient is proactive about personally carrying materials between the two campuses, allowing students and staff to get needed items more quickly. 

Many classes at OCC are held at night, after the library has closed at 6 p.m.  Mary frequently arranges instruction classes after hours, so students can learn to take advantage of the library’s resources.

Two years ago, Mary volunteered to serve as an advisor for Business Administration even though she was already working two jobs at two different campuses. She now has 77 assigned advisees.

Mary has contributed to the community by volunteering to staff the Durham Tech table for Hillsborough Hog Day and Chapel Hill’s Festifall as well as participating on the Durham Tech team for the American Center Society’s Relay for Life in Orange County. She crocheted 20 blankets for Project Linus and donated new items for the OCC clothing drive. She has volunteered with projects for Martin Luther King celebrations. She was part of the Big Read planning committee and organized the Big Read event at the Orange County Campus in 2008.

Karin AbellExcellence in Community Engagement Award
The annual Excellence in Community Engagement Award is bestowed upon the employee demonstrating exemplary leadership and dedication to serving the community. Qualifying activities can include participating in, developing, or promoting volunteerism, service leadership, campus outreach, community service, civic participation, and service-learning. This year’s Excellence in Community Engagement Award recipient has modeled excellence in community engagement through several different roles. Karin Abell, Program Director for English as a Second Language in the Center for the Global Learner, received this well-deserved honor.  

As an individual, Karin has delivered over 7,000 books as a volunteer with Book Harvest, which provides new and gently used children’s books to children who would not otherwise have their own. Weekly, she shuttles about 350 books to a local clinic, where she’s become known as “the book lady.”

Through her innovative program outreach, Karin has coordinated one-day and multi-week trainings for over 230 area parents to learn to support their children’s educations and to minimize gaps in knowledge of the U.S. educational system, especially around college planning and financing. After securing grant funding for the project, she and her team built new relationships and enhanced existing partnerships with nine schools in all three of the school systems in Durham Tech’s service area to provide this critical training. Additionally, she incorporated service into a recent visit from the Toyama College of Foreign Languages in Japan. Inspired by a student’s idea to provide activities for children staying at the Ronald McDonald House while undergoing medical treatments, Karin organized an activity that developed craft kits and allowed the international visitors to learn about the Ronald McDonald House and its role in the City of Medicine.

Finally, as a club advisor, Karin has promoted service with students in the International Students Club.  After participation in several Habitat for Humanity and campus service events, she encouraged and supported the club in collecting books for Worldwide Book Drive, which distributes books to domestic and international literacy organizations. She challenged students to collect 400 books. In March 2013, the International Students Club received the organization’s Gold Award for the number of books collected—1,600, four times the initial goal!

Karin said that she thinks of herself as both a participant and promoter of service, and enjoys service because of its sense of accomplishment. She says, “Even though my job at Durham Tech provides a valuable service to the community, on a day-to-day basis it is overwhelmingly administrative, and it takes time to see the results of our work…[but with service,] I really feel like I did something that day. I feel a sense of immediate accomplishment.” She credits her dedication to service with finding the best activity to fit her interests: “In my case, the difference between thinking about serving and actually serving came down to finding the right opportunity.


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