GTEP graduate honored with PSU Commendation Award
GTEP graduate Kristina Voskes was honored at the 2010 graduation with a PSU Commendation Award for her outstanding academic achievement and service among students.
From fall 2009 to spring 2010, Ms. Voskes conducted her student teaching in the sixth grade at Conestoga Middle School in Beaverton, split between two subject areas, language arts and social studies. Supervising teacher Terry Brown says,
“She is the very best middle school candidate I have worked with in the seven years I have participated in this program, and with 22 years as a public middle school administrator, I can say without hesitation she is ready, extremely capable, and would be a superior asset to any staff.”
Ms. Voskes is a political science graduate of the University of Oregon, where she participated in two internships, one with the Holt International Adoption Agency in Eugene and another as a camp director in Italy for American teenagers whose parents were serving in the U.S. military in Afghanistan. As a member of the National Political Science Honor Society, her background and the GTEP program helped her create language arts and social studies projects that gave her sixth graders insight into local and global issues.
At Conestoga Middle School, she distinguished herself by choosing special projects that deeply engaged her students. She founded the Conestoga-Kipture School Exchange Program, in which she identified a small school in rural Kenya and contacted them about participating in a pen-pal program. She organized the letter-writing project with her students and personally paid the postage to send the letters to Africa. The Beaverton students were thrilled to get responses to their letters from the Kenyan children. In May 2010, she won a Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Teaching Scholarship for passionate history teachers at the secondary level from the Beaverton chapter of DAR, and plans to use it to fund a continuation of the pen-pal project.
Another project she designed for the sixth graders engaged the students’ interest in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She created minilessons around poetry construction and had her language arts students write poems about the Olympic events. Students then compiled them into a publication and conducted readings. Cooperating teachers Linda Fetzer and Kathy Lorentz give Ms. Voskes high marks for her creativity and achievements at their school. “This project was incredibly thorough and motivating for all of the students,” they say.
GSE professors took notice of her skills as well. Dr. Susan Lenski invited her to participate in a special teacher-as-researcher project. The focus of the project was to research and identify student voices in writing.
In addition to her teaching license, Ms. Voskes has earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. “She is an outstanding example of a GTEP graduate,” says Professor Gayle Theiman, her supervising teacher, who recommended her for the PSU Commendation Award.
Ms. Voskes is grateful for her experience in GTEP. She says, “PSU and GTEP have done so much for me over the past year, and I am so grateful for their support and guidance in getting me where I am today.”
Ms. Voskes has accepted a teaching position in Issaquah, Washington, and has moved to Seattle to begin her first school year there.
Doctoral student, Suad Alazzam was the recipient of the PSU Commendation at the EdD level. Read more about Dr. Alazzam and her research.
PACE graduate collects top university award
GSE master’s graduate Mark Duyck was awarded the President’s Award for Community Service for his work with veterans with disabilities. He is a physical therapist assistant, a licensed healthcare provider who works with a physical therapist.
Mr. Duyck is a graduate of the Postsecondary, Adult and Continuing Education master’s program (PACE) and earned both PACE graduate certificates, Teaching Adult Learners and Student Affairs. He is currently providing assistance to students with disabilities at Chemeketa Community College in Salem and works with both the Salem and Yamhill Valley Chemeketa campuses. He is also teaching distance courses in physical therapy for Lane Community College.
Mr. Duyck grew up on a farm, where he learned that working hard often produces successful results. He attributes that lifestyle with his success throughout his school years.
“The work ethic I learned at a young age has led me to a lifelong education journey through three private universities, two community colleges, and the completion of my graduate degree,” he says. “I’ve learned to identify good teachers who really care, who have instilled in me the tools to become a successful student.”
Mark Duyck’s final paper, “Strategies to Facilitate Success for Student Veterans Affected by Hearing Loss and Traumatic Brain Injury,” identifies successful ways to support the increasing population of returning veterans on PSU’s campus.
Mr. Duyck participated in three internships during his master’s program, working in the disability services departments at OHSU, PSU, and Chemeketa Community College. He attributes these experiences with helping him find his current teaching positions. The PACE master’s program has opened several doors for him, in spite of the current economic climate. He will continue to work as a licensed physical therapist assistant while exploring his teaching opportunities.
PACE students bring to their program unique perspectives on learning that are informed by their more advanced career experiences. Mr. Duyck, who is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi, has a strong start on his future as an educator in the field of physical therapy. “Through my own critical reflection and personal assessment, I was led to my vocation of nurturing and planting seeds of knowledge and fitness in my clients,” he says. “In addition, my clients and students have rewarded me with their gift of teaching me. My advocacy work has called me to esteem the human dignity of the marginalized, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.”
The PSU Commendation Awards were established to recognize and encourage outstanding academic achievement and service among students. Each year PSU awards one Commendation Award to an undergraduate and a graduate student from each school or college. Commendation Award recipients are also considered for the annual Awards of Excellence, which are given to one undergraduate and one graduate student from the whole University.