Celebrating the 2022 Penn GSE Annual Award recipients

June 17, 2022
Saryu Sanghani and Leland McGee holding their awards

Penn GSE Annual Award recipients Saryu Sanghani and Leland McGee.

Awarded to current students, faculty, and staff, the Annual Penn GSE Awards recognize outstanding service and commitment to the Penn GSE community. Please join us in congratulating the 2022 honorees:

The William E. Arnold Award for Outstanding Contributions by a Student

Leland McGee, an Ed.D. candidate in Higher Education, has had a profound impact at Penn GSE through extraordinary dedication to student success and excellence. He has demonstrated a proactive commitment to improving the student experience by providing support, guidance, and a compelling perspective to individual programs and to leaders across the school. He has played an integral role in leading the diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice efforts at Penn GSE and has mentored countless students individually, advocating for and encouraging their ability to achieve success. His invaluable contributions to the Penn GSE community and to the field of education is recognized by the many students, staff, and faculty he has collaborated with.

The Laurie Wagman Award for Visual and Performing Arts in Education

Jin Yang, an M.S.Ed. candidate in the TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program, has demonstrated an innovative and creative vision in the field of education through visual arts projects showcasing the power of inclusion, individualism, culture, and choice. With a goal to advance classroom computerized learning, she has shared her scholarly involvement and exploration with peers and colleagues in the field and has promoted digital learning through visual arts in educational settings. Her efforts to share this vision with her peers and promote the advancement of education through visual arts are recognized and deeply valued by her peers.

The Penn GSE Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Ed Brockenbrough, a faculty member in the Division for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership, has demonstrated an innovative excellence in teaching that has created a lasting impact on his students at Penn GSE. His inquiry-based learning approaches encourage engaging classroom discussions that challenge his students intellectually and promote critical educational growth. His outstanding commitment to his students is illustrated through his intentional and meaningful leadership choices in the classroom, and his students greatly appreciate and recognize the impact his teaching has had on their thinking, scholarship, and world views.

Faculty Recognition of Service Awards

Dr. Amalia Daché, a faculty member in the Division of Higher Education, is recognized for her substantial academic and scholarship contributions at Penn GSE. She has made an impactful commitment to enhance the learning and exploration of her students in the classroom. Her varied educational activities encourage students to think critically and to engage in challenging conversations. Her leadership and scholarship have inspired her students and helped them to develop skills to be successful and innovative leaders in the field.

Dr. Suzanne Fegley, a faculty member in the Division of Human Development & Quantitative Methods, is recognized for her unwavering commitment to being an excellent educator and inspiration to her students. Throughout the academic year, she has created a rich and engaging classroom environment in which she has intentionally and energetically connected with her students. She has demonstrated a genuine interest and desire to teach and a willingness to adapt and learn throughout the year. Her dedication and commitment to education has been meaningful and cherished by her students.

Dr. Nelson Flores, a faculty member in the Division of Educational Linguistics, has had an immeasurable impact on the Penn GSE community. His educational and scholarship contributions are recognized and deeply cherished by the students, staff, and faculty he has collaborated with. His extensive involvement and commitment to the Latinx Affinity group at Penn GSE has illustrated his instrumental support of students and his dedication to building community for Latinx-identifying students, staff, and faculty at Penn GSE.

Staff Recognition of Service Awards

Charles Washington, a Classroom Technology Manager with the Office of Information Technology at Penn GSE, has had a profound impact on the many students, staff, and faculty he has supported. While the IT team has been in high demand, he has demonstrated a dedication to delivering resources and technology support to all. His approach to providing technology support is empowering, educational, and accessible, and he leaves others feeling comfortable and confident. His commitment to helping others overcome their technophobia is embodied in his demeanor, approachability, and ongoing support—all greatly appreciated by the Penn GSE community.

Diana Johnson, the Dean’s Office Executive Assistant, has been a valued colleague and friend at Penn GSE. She has been deeply appreciated by fellow staff members for her genuine kindness and compassion, frequently checking in with others and ensuring that others are well supported. Her colleagues have made note of her persistent support and care during these last few years, made especially difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her presence has been a source of comfort and care for all those she works with.

Lauren Scicluna, a Program Coordinator for the Division of Literacy, Culture, & International Education, is recognized for her continuous support to the International Educational Development Program at Penn GSE. Throughout the academic year, she has eagerly connected students to resources and opportunities to enrich the student experience. Her commitment to responding to student needs is greatly valued in the program and her knowledge and skills have helped students navigate their educational experience with ease and excitement at Penn GSE.

Student Recognition of Service Awards

Alexis Ditaway, an M.S.Ed. candidate in Higher Education, has had a significant impact on her fellow students and has demonstrated consistent strong and effective leadership at Penn GSE. As a Graduate Assistant for the Higher Education program, she has gone above and beyond in building community through valuable educational and social support programming. In the classroom, she is recognized for her invaluable perspectives that invite her peers to think critically and reflect on their world views. She conducts herself with a fierce dedication to equity that inspires her peers and colleagues. Her demonstrated commitment to including and uplifting the voices of her peers and encouraging others to be their full, authentic selves has been cherished by the Penn GSE community.

Chenelle Boatswain, an Ed.D. candidate in Educational Leadership, is recognized for her significant contributions in supporting and advocating for her fellow students. Her notable leadership and thoughtful design of programming to improve and enrich the Ed.D. student experience has created a lasting impact on her peers. She has made exceptional contributions to the diversity and inclusion efforts at Penn GSE through community building and individual mentorship. She has built meaningful, authentic relationships with countless students and has demonstrated a deep commitment to encouraging others to effectively navigate obstacles and access the support and resources necessary to succeed and thrive. Her extensive impact and enthusiasm are cherished by the many fellow students she has worked with.

Christopher Rogers, a Ph.D. candidate in the Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division, has been a valued Penn GSE student and dedicated member of the community at large. He reflects the core values and culture of Penn GSE through his community involvement. His significant contributions to underserved communities have demonstrated his extraordinary dedication and commitment to innovation, impact, and justice.

Sarah Gudenkauf, an Ed.D. candidate in Educational Leadership, has greatly advocated for and enriched the Ed.D. student experience. Her support efforts for her peers has created systemically sustainable change towards reliable and equitable solutions to better support Ed.D. students. She has led these efforts with humility and selflessness and has fostered a sense of community and connectedness throughout the doctoral student community at Penn GSE. The staff, faculty, and peers with whom she has collaborated all recognize her exceptional service to her fellow students and the lasting impact these outcomes will have on future cohorts of students.

Penn GSE Excellence in Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Saryu Sanghani recognized her calling and changed from a dual degree (Dental/GSE) status to a fulltime GSE student last fall. We immediately recognized the talent that graced GSE, and Saryu became a grad assistant in the Office of Student Services (OSS) this spring. Her positive impact on our community was also immediate. Saryu began working with the LGBT Center to fill a student support void at Penn GSE. She provided leadership collaborating with students, faculty, and staff to reconstitute a student organization supporting the LGBTQ+ community, the Penn GSE Pride Alliance. Her work institutionalizes a level of support for this community missing in years past. The synergy of this student/staff/faculty collaboration is unprecedented in the last 20 years at GSE and will instantiate community of support and scholarship.

Saida Harpi provided leadership for the relaunch of We Support Diversity of Mind (WSDM), celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. This student organization supports GSE students of color and allies in providing an inclusive community and support their scholarship. After working on her own strategy for navigating through the GSE ecosystem, Saida began this endeavor late in the fall semester. In addition to managing the rigors of her academic program, Saida organized members of GSE affinity groups to recruit students for WSDM. She inspired a core group to serve on the board, and under her leadership as president, they established guiding documents, a vision, goals, and a process for sustaining the organization. Saida worked closely with staff, faculty, and alumni to plan year-end events in less than a semester’s time! Her commitment to the expressed desire for a community where the voices of students of color are shared and heard has been unwavering. It is her hope that by reviving WSDM, students of color will have agency to co-create support resources and contribute to student success in their academic journey through Penn GSE.

Andre Zarate is a student in the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, one of Penn GSE’s executive-format programs. Andre has been a champion of diversity and inclusion and the “conscience” of the program. He has the unique gift of both challenging his colleagues to do better while also strengthening their ability to do so. When he speaks, everyone listens, and when people listen, they walk away committed to doing better and with specific strategies to accomplish it. Many of the members of his cohort can attest to learning and growing from Andre’s passionate example. Thank you Andre for being an exemplar.

You May Be Interested In