Thursday November 20, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Schray earns national honors as top professor in West Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education have named Dr. Kateryna Schray of Marshall University the 2014 West Virginia Professor of the Year. Schray was among nearly 400 top professors in the United States who were finalists.

Schray, an English professor, describes her teaching philosophy as "embarrassingly simple: provide students with a supportive learning environment, identify and build on their strengths, and make each person an active participant in his/her own education, all the while remembering that learning is inherently joyful."

She credited colleagues for playing a large part in her receiving the Professor of the Year award.

"I am so grateful for and incredibly humbled by this recognition, but it is so very important for me to put this in context," she said. "My college seeks out and recruits committed teachers, and at every step of my career my colleagues and my chair have supported and encouraged me in my teaching vocation. I have the best colleagues a professor could hope for."

Schray is in Washington, D. C., today, where the national and state winners are being announced and honored at an awards luncheon at the National Press Club. She also will be attending an evening congressional reception at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

"We are supposed to wear business/professional attire to the reception at the National Press Club, but when I looked at the official group photo of last year's award recipients, I realized that I had no idea where any of them came from," she said. "So, I'm trying to figure out a way to wear a Marshall shirt, while still meeting the dress code, so that anyone looking at the photo would know that Marshall is represented among the winners."

She said she considers herself a "pretty good" representative of her department.

"All of us strive to make our classes substantive, meaningful, productive and memorable," she said. "In addition, I've had the privilege to team teach with great teachers at Marshall Jamie Warner, Susan Gilpin, Caroline Perkins, Steve Mewaldt, Bill Price, just to name a few."

Most of all, Schray said, she continues to be "absolutely amazed" by her students.

"Their ideas, their insights, their courage, their cleverness and upbeat natures, their generosity towards one another, their desire to serve others, their determination to make the world a better place," she said. "I cannot imagine a more rewarding career and I still can't believe how lucky I am. I have a lot to be grateful for, more than I can say."

Schray, who has  been at Marshall since 1996, when she was hired as an assistant professor of English, said she also greatly appreciates the work done by her colleagues at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

"Truly these teachers do the heavy lifting and I am in awe of their talents," she said. "Now that my oldest child is in high school, I recognize how much I am indebted to the teachers who have preceded me and I am so very grateful. I've also come to understand the important role a good principal plays, and the contributions of the essential people behind the scenes: school secretaries, counselors and specialists."

Schray earned her Ph.D. in Medieval Literature from the University of North Carolina in 1997. She received her bachelor's degree from La Salle University and her master's from Georgetown University. She was named the Marshall University Charles E. Hedrick Outstanding Faculty Award Recipient for 2012-13, and was the keynote speaker at the university's Winter Commencement last December. She also received the Pickens-Queen Excellence in Teaching Award in 2001 and the Reynolds Outstanding Teaching Award in 2009.

She is the fifth professor in Marshall history to have won the prestigious award. The university's previous recipients include Dr. Karen Mitchell, a mathematics professor, in 1995; Dr. John McKernan, an English professor, in 2000; Dr. Steven Mewaldt, a psychology professor, in 2003; and Dan Hollis, a journalism professor, in 2012.

CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program since 1981. Additional support for the program is received from Phi Beta Kappa, which sponsors the congressional reception, the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education and other higher education associations.

This year, a state Professor of the Year was recognized in 31 states. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process. Schray was selected from among faculty members nominated by colleges and universities throughout the country.


Photo: Dr. Kateryna Schray, second from left, works with three Marshall University students earlier this week. The students are, from left, Cassidy Dutcher, Chelsea Miller and Cayce Blankenship. Schray said all three are her former students who inspire her to keep striving for excellence and exemplify why she has "the best job in the world."  Photo by Rick Haye/Marshall University.

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
The Carnegie Foundation is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge.

Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in London, Singapore and Mexico City, CASE is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas.

Direct Link to This Release
Tuesday November 18, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

'Thanks 4 Dreaming' Dinner planned for American Dream Movement members

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Charles C. Meyers Jr., a spring 2013 graduate of Marshall University with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree, and founder/director of the American Dream Movement, will provide members of the American Dream Movement, their families and prospective members with a free Thanksgiving Dinner.

The dinner is called a "Thanks 4 Dreaming" Dinner, and will be served beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Pullman Plaza Hotel Grande Theatre in downtown Huntington.  The event will be presented by the American Dream Movement from the Huntington Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

The American Dream Movement was developed for African American male students in the 8th  through 12th grades.

Meyers said the purpose of the dinner is to thank the current members for their dedication to the program and to allow the prospective members and their families to learn about the program.

"Most importantly, it allows everyone to come together to enjoy a meal and one another's company," Meyers said.

The "4" in the title of the dinner represents the American Dream Movement's four values - bond, strength, dedication and achievement, Meyers said.

"It is important for a community to be able to come together and support one another," Meyers said. "One of the main focuses of the American Dream Movement is to ensure that each individual in the program understands that they have people in their corner who care about their success.  We must be willing to use the encouragement of family, mentors, friends and community members to help us strive to reach higher levels of success in life."

Meyers' previous initiatives have included Future Investment Day, A Gift to Remember in December, and the Words of Reflection Writing Contest.

Thirteen students became members of the American Dream Movement in September during a membership ceremony.

If anyone knows a student who would benefit from the program, or wants more information on the program, he or she may contact Meyers by e-mail at

Direct Link to This Release
Tuesday November 18, 2014
Contact: John Winfrey, Assistant Professor of Physics, 304-696-2755

Marshall to help bring Science Olympiad to West Virginia for students in grades 6-12

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's College of Science is helping bring a new opportunity to science students in grades 6 through 12 this academic year.

The Science Olympiad, which organizers say is the "nation's most exciting K-12 science competition," will take place in West Virginia for the first time Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, on Marshall University's Huntington campus. Winners of the West Virginia competition will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, for the national tournament in May.

Teams will compete in a series of 23 challenges, including those in life and social sciences; earth and space science, physical science and chemistry; technology and engineering; and scientific inquiry. Topics include entomology, fossils, crime science, bridge building and experimental design. A complete list is available online at

Dr. John Winfrey, assistant professor of physics at Marshall who is coordinating the West Virginia event, said that in most cases, individual schools will form teams of 15 students for the competition. However, in the case of more rural locations, a team of students may represent several schools. There are also opportunities for home-schooled students.

Teams may register until Jan. 30, 2015, with registration fees due no later than Feb. 6. Cost per school team is $250, with $60 going to the national organization. Additional teams from the same school are $150. If a potential registrant is unable to pay the fees, some financial assistance may be available by contacting Helen Bonham in the College of Science office at 304-696-4672. Further information on registration and other specifics is available online at

"We are very pleased to bring the Science Olympiad program to West Virginia," Winfrey said. "We think our state's students will benefit immensely from this competition."

Last academic year, 7,000 teams competed in the competition nationwide.

For further information, visit the Science Olympiad website at, or contact Winfrey by e-mail at or by phone at 304-696-2755.

Direct Link to This Release
Friday November 14, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall Recreation Center and First-Year Residence Halls partner again to bring holiday joy to Tri-State

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall Recreation Center and the Marshall University First-Year Residence halls are partnering this holiday season to help local agencies and children in the Huntington community.

Rec the Halls with Holiday Hopes can be compared to an "Angel Tree." Wish lists will be collected from local agencies such as Golden Girls, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Tri-State, A.D. Lewis Community Center, Ronald McDonald House, Branches, Pressley Ridge, Lily's Place and NECCO.

The wishes will be hung on a tree in the lobby of the Marshall Recreation Center and in both First-Year Residence Hall lobbies. Anyone interested may stop by the Rec or residence halls starting Monday, Nov. 17 to collect a wish! Then, he or she may bring their items back to that same location with the tag attached to help make the holiday dreams come true for someone in the Tri-State. All wish items must be dropped off by Wednesday, Dec. 10.

Nobody needs to worry about wrapping the gifts - the recreation Center and First-Year Residence Halls will take care of the wrapping. A wrapping party will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 12 to wrap the gifts for the agencies. Volunteers will be rewarded with snacks and drinks, while enjoying each other's company in a festive atmosphere.

For more information contact Dan Belcher, facility/operations coordinator, at 304-696-4651 or by e-mailing him at; or, Michele Muth, assistant director, marketing & memberships, at 304-696-2943, or by e-mailing her at

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday November 13, 2014
Contact: Leah C. Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, (304) 691-1713

Marshall University internal medicine resident team wins state competition

School of Medicine team will represent W.Va. at national tournament

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A team of resident physicians with the department of internal medicine at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine recently won a statewide medical competition, "The Doctor's Dilemma," sponsored by the West Virginia American College of Physicians (ACP). The event was part of the organization's chapter meeting in October.

Marshall's team competed against medical resident teams from West Virginia University and West Virginia University-CAMC to capture the coveted title.   Marshall now advances to the national tournament at the ACP's national meeting in April in Boston.

The Doctor's Dilemma is a medical "Jeopardy"-style competition designed to test medical knowledge of medical residents in a variety of disciplines from general internal medicine to subspecialty questions in neurology, oncology, pulmonology, cardiology and endocrinology.

"The Marshall team has worked together and prepared extremely hard, performing over and above residency requirements," said Eva Patton-Tackett, M.D., associate program director of Marshall's internal medicine resident program. "We are extremely proud of this team and know they will represent the Marshall Medical School and the state of West Virginia well at the national competition."

Marshall's team members include Hatiem M. Muafa, M.D., Alaa Y.F.Gabi, M.D. (chief resident), Aviral Roy, M.D., and Jason P. Mader, D.O. Charles E. Meadows, M.D., an associate professor with the department of internal medicine, serves as team coach.

Direct Link to This Release
Wednesday November 12, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

MU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi achieves Chapter of Excellence status

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University chapter of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi has achieved Chapter of Excellence status, Mary Todd, Ph.D., executive director of the society, has announced.

Todd said the goal of the Chapter Recognition Program is to reward those chapters that have exhibited outstanding performance as a result of the effort of their volunteer chapter officers.

"This past year, 53 of our 316 chapters received recognition status," Todd wrote in a letter of congratulations to Marshall President Dr. Stephen J. Kopp. "Both the headquarters staff and the Board of Directors are committed to providing chapters the tools they need to achieve recognition for their work with students."

Dr. Mary Beth Reynolds, president of Marshall's chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, said, "Marshall's chapter of Phi Kappa Phi thanks its officers, members, and Marshall's Honors College for making this recognition possible!"

Marshall's chapter has been in existence just 41/2 years. Its petition for a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi was approved in late May of 2010. Todd Green served as president of the Marshall chapter in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

"I am pleased that through the hard work of its members the Marshall chapter of Phi Kappa Phi achieved Chapter of Excellence status," Green said. "It means a lot to us as a newer chapter to receive this honor.  I hope we can build upon this in the future to make the Marshall chapter one of the best in the country."

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine. It is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines.  Approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni are inducted into the society annually from 300 select campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction can also qualify for membership in the society.

Direct Link to This Release
Tuesday November 11, 2014
Contact: Megan Archer, Alumni and Outreach Coordinator, College of Health Professions, 304-488-8863

Marshall's United Way campaign raises more than $28,700 for community

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's United Way campaign raised $28,736.89 during the 2014 university campaign Sept. 22 - Oct. 10. Thousands of lives across the region will be changed for the better with the help of funds raised by the Marshall community, according to Will Holland, director of resource development for United Way of the River Cities.

"We saw an 83 percent increase in the number of contributors - 53 donors to 97 donors - and a 30 percent pledge increase from last year's campaign total," Holland said. "Anytime we see a big increase like this, it is because of the committed individuals behind the scenes working hard to make an impact in our community. Marshall University has much to be proud of."

Michael W. Prewitt, dean of the College of Health Professions and current board member for United Way of the River Cities, said the amount raised by Marshall employees translates into thousands of people in our area who will be helped.

"If we wanted to see the actual impact these funds had on our community, we need to consider that 420 children were helped get ready for kindergarten, 170 adults were helped with job and life skills training, 238 youth gained healthy lifestyle habits and 1,972 individuals in need received a warm meal," Prewitt said. "We have the opportunity to make a positive difference and I hope we will continue to see participation increase in our community for many years to come."

Megan Archer, 2014 campaign coordinator, said she believes the participation level of the Marshall community will continue to grow as efforts are made to increase awareness and enthusiasm campus-wide.

"Plans are already underway for creating more visibility on campus for our local United Way all year, not just during campaign season," Archer said.� "The success of the 2014 campaign would not have been possible without the dedication of our committee members and the generosity of our faculty, staff and students."

To learn more about how you can give back to United Way of the River Cities, visit

Direct Link to This Release
Friday November 7, 2014
Contact: Megan Archer, Alumni and Outreach Coordinator, College of Health Professions, (304) 696-7153

Marshall graduate student granted Student Research Travel Award for annual ASHA Convention

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Megan Foster, a graduate student in the Marshall University College of Health Professions, has been selected to receive the Student Research Travel Award (SRTA) to attend the annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Orlando, Florida,�Nov. 20-22.

The award is given to the high-rated ASHA convention papers with a student as first author in each of the 27 topic categories.

Foster, a communications disorders graduate student, said she worked with a team of researchers to improve the lives of people with various disabilities living in Appalachia.

"I worked with classmates Jordan Lewis and Hillary Johnson to explore Appalachia's reputation for being a culturally rich region and how these cultural factors influence what it means to have a disability in Appalachia," Foster said. "This award is a recognition of our collective efforts. It's great to know that our hard work is being recognized nationally and that others are interested in our research."

Foster said the results of their study led them to establish clinical implications involving rehabilitation goals and strategies for treatment within the Appalachian region.�

"We found that acceptance of a disability is ongoing throughout the rehabilitation process for those with disabilities. Additionally, people with disabilities seem to change their identities based on a 'give-and-take' relationship with their support systems," Foster said. "One of our biggest implications reinforces the need to consistently reach out to caregivers and support systems when treating clients with disabilities. People living in Appalachia heavily rely on their support systems and prefer to stay close to the region when receiving treatment."

Dr. Karen McNealy, chair of the Department of Communication Disorders, said the purpose of the SRTA is to highlight the research activities of students and encourage careers in science and research. McNealy said award recipients would receive a $500 stipend and complimentary registration to help defray costs associated with attending the convention.

"The national recognition for this study shows that our communication disorders program realizes the importance of research and evidence-based practice in our field," McNealy said. "We always encourage our students and our faculty to pursue research endeavors such as these to broaden their experiences while at Marshall University."

McNealy will join her communication disorders colleague Pam Holland and physical therapy program director Dr. Penny Kroll in giving an oral presentation on their research with interprofessional education during the convention.

For more information on Foster's research, contact her at To learn more about this year's ASHA convention, visit online. For additional information on the Department of Communication Disorders and its research initiatives, visit online.


Photo: Megan Foster, 24, of Gallipolis, Ohio, will graduate in August 2015 with her master's degree in communication disorders. Foster will travel to the annual ASHA convention using the Student Research Travel Award Nov. 20-22.

Direct Link to This Release
Friday November 7, 2014
Contact: Megan Archer, Alumni and Outreach Coordinator, College of Health Professions, 304-488-8863

Marshall's department of public health seeks participants for breast cancer research

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University undergraduate department of public health is searching for women in 23 West Virginia counties to participate in breast cancer research.

Dr. Monika Sawhney, director of the undergraduate public health program, said she received a grant to conduct breast cancer research in West Virginia last spring. Sawhney said her department will have educational sessions in each of the 23 counties for those interested in learning more about early prevention of breast cancer.

"We want to reach these underserved populations in our state to raise awareness about breast cancer and help these women understand the importance of timely screenings," Sawhney said. "Participants will be asked to attend an informational meeting in their counties and then complete a survey for our research purposes."

Counties offering opportunities for the breast cancer educational sessions include Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Harrison, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mingo, Nicholas, Pleasants, Riley, Randolph, Ritchie, Summers, Upshur, Webster and Wyoming.

Time and location will vary for each county. For more information on how you can attend a breast cancer educational session in your area, please contact Sawhney at or by calling 304-696-2602. To learn more about the Marshall Department of Public Health, visit online.

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday November 6, 2014
Contact: Leah C. Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, 304-691-1713

Ashley B. Zawodniak, D.O., chosen as first Resident of the Month recipient

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Ashley B. Zawodniak, D.O.,  a second-year internal medicine resident, has been selected as the first recipient of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine's Resident of the Month program, Paulette S. Wehner, M.D.,  vice dean, graduate medical education announced this week.

"It is fitting that our first recognition of a resident be someone of Dr. Zawodniak's caliber," Wehner said. "She is a conscientious and hard-working resident who takes excellent care of patients daily and who has an immense passion for community service and caring for the less fortunate."  

In his nomination of Zawodniak, Larry D. Dial, M.D., chair of internal medicine, wrote that Zawodniak is a "superstar" and that "... (she) personally bought a homeless patient clothes and assisted him in the hospital and organized a quality improvement curriculum rotation committee."

In her nomination of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine graduate, Missy K. Browning, program coordinator in the department of psychiatry, wrote that "Dr. Zawodniak volunteered for the Marshall Medical Outreach Mam and Glam event, using one of her four days off from floor service � and spent the afternoon meeting with the ladies individually answering their questions and counseling them on women's health and overall wellness issues.    I'm certain there are many more lives touched by her generosity and compassion."

Wehner expressed appreciation to all who submitted nominations for November's recognition. 

"We had nearly a dozen outstanding resident and fellow nominees. While reviewing the nominations, we were simply amazed to learn of the exceptional educational efforts and humanitarian service that our residents and fellows display on a daily basis.  All of the nominations truly deserve recognition but unfortunately we can only choose one a month to publicly acknowledge," she said.

As part of her recognition as the November Resident of the Month, Zawodniak will receive items including a certificate of recognition and a designated parking spot.   Monthly winners will also be automatically entered into the Resident of the Year Award to be announced in May.


Photo: Ashley Zawodniak, D.O., was named the inaugural Resident of the Month at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday November 6, 2014
Contact: Dr. David Trowbridge, Associate Professor of History, 304-696-2717

Marshall faculty, librarians launch history website and mobile app

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Monica Brooks of Marshall Libraries and Drs. Dan Holbrook and David Trowbridge of the Department of History at Marshall University have announced the public launch of Clio, a website and mobile application for the study of history.

Named after the ancient muse of history, Clio, which can be found online at, has been built by Trowbridge and students assisting him over the past two years. Clio picks up a user's location anywhere in the United States and tells them about the history and culture that surrounds them, with a growing database that includes nearly 4000 museums, art galleries, monuments, sculptures and historical sites. In addition, contributors across the nation are adding hundreds of sites each month, Trowbridge said.

"Clio creates a fascinating journey that illustrates historical events, people and places across America," said Jackie Wheeler, one of the students who has worked on the project. "By creating an entry on Clio, you can help to broaden the availability of rich American history and passionately share events, some of which are less known. I have enjoyed being a part of Clio and bringing history to others in a new and wonderful way."

Clio provides a summary and backstory for each location, along with links to more information, Trowbridge said. Clio can also connect users to relevant books, articles and websites when they are ready to learn more about any particular topic.

In addition to guiding the public to physical sites such as monuments and museums, Clio includes "Time Capsule" entries that allow users to hold their smartphones up to the modern landscape and see images and videos of historic events that have not yet been commemorated with markers. For example, Clio can guide users to the precise location of a civil rights protest or a labor strike. Users can "feel history" as they stand at that location while viewing images and videos of the event and reading primary source documents and interpretations of the event written by scholars. For example, Clio shows the precise location of sit-ins in Huntington and Charleston, allowing users with smartphones to view images and videos of the sit-ins right where they occurred.

"Clio has given me the opportunity to unearth the historical significance of DuBois High School," said Hailey Horn, another of the students who has worked on the project. "Clio allows us to bring history to the present, and inform the community members of its importance."

Clio's goal is to connect everyone in the United States to the history and culture that surrounds them, Trowbridge said. Each entry can provide a basic summary, detailed backstory, images and audio/video clips, as well as suggested books and articles for those who want to know more. Entries for museums and archives provide addresses, hours, phone numbers and official websites, along with turn-by-turn directions. Because Clio can pick up a user's present location, it can always guide them right to the place, he added.

"Clio reaches beyond the textbook, allowing a user to access the history that surrounds us," said J. Lee Sigmon, another of Trowbridge's students. "Events, places and people are brought to the user, [making] Clio perfect for historically inclined tourists. Launch the app and a region's history comes alive."

Students, faculty and librarians recently filmed a video introduction to Clio, highlighting its capacity to connect users to the history that surrounds them. It is available at

Clio is available on any web browser or as a free mobile application ("app") in iTunes and Google Play.

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday November 6, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Rob Wheeler Memorial Scholarship established at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A fund known as the Rob Wheeler Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of former South Point High School teacher Rob Wheeler, has been established by the Marshall University Foundation, Inc.

The recipient of the scholarship will be a full-time undergraduate student who graduated from South Point High School in South Point, Ohio with at least a 3.0 GPA. The Office of Student Financial Assistance will select the recipient.

The scholarship was transferred from South Point High School to the MU Foundation.

Wheeler died on April 25, 1994 after a long battle with cancer.

" 'I am firm in my belief a teacher lives on and on through his students.  Good teaching is forever and the teacher is immortal,' " said Peggy Byard, quoting writer Jesse Stuart. Byard, now retired, also was a South Point teacher at the time of Wheeler's death.

"This scholarship insures Rob's legacy will live on by providing much-needed financial aid to South Point High School graduates," Byard said. "Rob was a fantastic teacher, mentor and friend, and this insures his vision for students."

Byard wrote the following about Wheeler in the 1994 high school yearbook:

"Rob Wheeler was the consummate teacher, going to any and all lengths to educate those students with whom he came into contact," Byard wrote. "He not only taught classroom subjects, but he taught about life and the beautiful things it has to offer each and every one of us. He was able to bring out the best in students, having that special 'teacher talent' of being able to bridge the gap between friend and teacher."

On July 5, 1975, Wheeler's wife, Alice, gave birth to twins, Ellen and Alan. The entire family has been active members of the First Baptist Church of South Point, where Rob was a deacon and a Sunday School teacher.

"The loss of Rob Wheeler was for me, as it was for many others, a very deep and personal loss," Byard continued in her writing. "What he did, what he was and the lives he touched could fill this entire book. He was a very special person, and he will be missed by everyone who ever came into contact with him."

Peter Kim, a 1990 graduate of South Point High School and son of Dr. Chong Kim, former dean of the Marshall University College of Business, also had high praise for Wheeler. He, too, wrote about Wheeler in the '94 yearbook:

"It's been said that a true friend is one who overlooks your failures and tolerates your successes," Kim wrote. "Mr. Wheeler took on several roles in my life: educator, advisor, disciplinarian and coach. In all definitions of the word, he was an outstanding teacher; but, more importantly in my life, Mr. Wheeler was always a true friend."

In also writing about Wheeler, South Point teacher Jamie Lester Meade said simply, "with energy, patience and love for his students, Rob Wheeler taught me how to be a teacher in today's world."

Anyone wanting to contribute to the scholarship may send a check made payable to the MU Foundation to 519 John Marshall Dr., Huntington, WV 25705, with Rob Wheeler Memorial Scholarship on the memo line.

Direct Link to This Release
Monday November 3, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Dr. Judith Silver featured speaker at winter commencement

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Judith Silver, who taught mathematics at Marshall University for 30 years before retiring last spring, will be the featured speaker as the university celebrates winter commencement Sunday, Dec. 14, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in downtown Huntington.

Commencement ceremonies begin at 2 p.m.

"I am honored to be invited to give the commencement address," Silver said. "I am hoping that my remarks will be helpful to the graduates at some time in their life, so I think I will talk about 'regrets.' At this point I have five main ideas to share with them, along with some experiences."

Silver will return to the classroom next spring, when she teaches the Yeager Seminar on art and mathematics. She previously taught at Marshall from 1978 through 1983 and from 1989 through 2014.

Dr. Stephen J. Kopp, Marshall president, praised Silver, saying, "Dr. Silver made significant contributions to Marshall University, the College of Science and the Department of Mathematics; but, most importantly, to countless students throughout her remarkable career. She succeeded in making the study of mathematics challenging yet enjoyable for her students. It is exceedingly appropriate she was selected as the 2013-14 recipient of the Marshall and Shirley Reynolds Outstanding Teacher Award. We are honored she is willing to speak at our winter commencement and we look forward with great anticipation and eagerness to hearing her address. She most assuredly will enhance this very important day in the lives of our graduates."

Silver, indeed, said she always tried to create a relaxed classroom for her students.

"I believe that a relaxed classroom atmosphere is essential to achieving maximal student learning," Silver said. "I do everything I can to reduce student stress and make my classes enjoyable and memorable. In each class, I feature a 'student star of the day' by showing successful homework or quizzes via the overhead projector. Most of all, I believe that learning is greatly enhanced by encouraging questions."

She likes to compare math to creating music.

"Once you have learned the basics, it is like mastering scales on a piano," Silver said. "Then, you are free to put feeling in the song, or to create your own beautiful proof of a mathematical idea."

Dr. Alfred Akinsete, chairman of the mathematics department, describes Silver as "a teacher of teachers."

"She has mentored, and continues to mentor, a large number of faculty and graduate students and teaching assistants," he added.

Mathematics professor Dr. Evelyn Pupplo-Cody said of Silver, "In the 30 years that I have known Judy, I have never heard anyone say a negative thing about her. Her colleagues appreciate all of her hard work and dedication to her job and to Marshall University. Her students appreciate her focus, clarity and fairness. I have a great admiration for Judy and what she has accomplished here at Marshall."

Silver earned her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Kentucky in August 1988. She served as interim associate dean of the College of Science twice during the 2005-06 academic year, and again during the 2008-09 academic year. From 2002 through 2005, she served as the associate chair for the Department of Mathematics, after an appointment as the interim head for the Division of Mathematics and Applied Science from 2000 through 2002.

Marshall University began conducting a winter graduation ceremony in 2008 with a convocation at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center. The speaker was Dr. Montserrat Miller, a professor of history. Winter commencement began in 2009 and the tradition of having a faculty member deliver the keynote address continued.

The five previous commencement speakers were Dr. Simon Perry, professor of political science, in 2009; Dr. Bonita Lawrence, professor of mathematics, in 2010; Dr. Jamie Warner, professor of political science, in 2011; Dan Hollis, associate professor of journalism, in 2012; and Dr. Kateryna Schray, English professor, in 2013.

Direct Link to This Release
Monday November 3, 2014
Contact: Megan Archer, Alumni and Outreach Coordinator, College of Health Professions, 304-488-8863

Public health students travel to Tanzania to administer 100-plus free health screenings

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University students from the undergraduate department of public health traveled to Tanzania this past summer in an effort to improve child and maternal health throughout the world.

Through this study abroad opportunity, students were given the chance to administer more than 100 free health screenings including prenatal care, HIV, pediatric and tuberculosis screenings on women, children and oPublic health students traveled to Tanzania to administer 100-plus freether afflicted patients.

Dr. Monika Sawhney, director of the undergraduate public health program, said students had the opportunity to learn about pressing health issues and gain practical experiences in a global setting.

"Our public health students were able to learn all about the Tanzanian health care system with special emphasis on child and maternal child health," Sawhney said. "We were able to offer these students an opportunity to explore aspects of our world that they would never have a chance to explore otherwise."

Minal Patel, 23, of Huntington, was one of 10 Marshall students who traveled to Tanzania to gain insight into how medicine and health care work in the developing world. Patel said she also wanted to break down any misconceptions she had about Africa.

"During our time in Tanzania, I learned there are many levels of health care, but it must all revolve around the local culture and their beliefs," Patel said. "Students should be interested in next summer's trip because there will be no shortage of learning, exploration and adventure.  Alongside seeing the real Africa and getting past all the misconceptions, you will learn so much about yourself. You gain insight into what you really want to do with your life."

Patel said the learning environment while studying abroad was unlike any other experience she's had since beginning her college career.

"This trip wasn't just about classwork and textbooks - we went into the field and visited hospitals, clinics and got a firsthand look into the Tanzanian health care system," Patel said. "We were learning from them while helping them at the same time.  This was a very interactive, hands-on learning experience, exactly what I needed to realize what public health is all about."

The upcoming Tanzania study abroad trip will take place June 8 - July 12, 2015. Cost of the trip is $4,235 plus airfare and the $250 application fee. Sawhney said students can receive undergraduate or graduate credit for coursework in public and maternal health, biology, anthropology, internship and service learning. Individuals interested in signing up before Jan. 20 can save $100. The final application deadline for the trip is Feb. 15. To learn more, please contact Sawhney by phone at 304-696-2602 or by e-mail at


Photo: Students from Marshall University's undergraduate department of public health traveled to Tanzania last summer to study the child and maternal health in the developing world. Students had the chance to administer more than 100 health screenings to native Tanzanians and also had the opportunity to swim in the Indian Ocean and explore wildlife in a real African safari.

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Friday October 31, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Students, faculty from Mexico to spend five weeks at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - One hundred and sixty-one students and faculty from Mexican universities will be arriving Saturday and Sunday on Marshall University's Huntington campus, where they will spend five weeks studying the English language as part of an international exchange program.

Officially, the program runs from Nov. 3 through Dec. 5. In a separate arrangement, 14 Saudi Arabian students will be joining this large group to receive general English instruction during the same period. The Saudi Arabian students are scheduled to arrive in Huntington today.

The visit of 160 of the Mexican students is through an international student exchange program between the U.S. and Mexico called Proyecta 100,000. Marshall intends to send American students to Mexico for future semesters to study Spanish as part of President Obama's 100,000 Strong initiative in Mexico.

Also coming to Marshall are three students who are not sponsored by the Proyecta program, but are enrolled individually. They are from Mexico, Thailand and Jordan. The total number of students visiting Marshall is 177.

One goal, said Ben White, academic program director for INTO Marshall, is for these Mexican students to return to Marshall to enter graduate school once this program ends.

"We are participating at the front end of an ambitious exchange program sponsored by the Mexican government," White said.  "There is the potential to develop links with a number of Mexican universities. It is a step toward the continued internationalization of campus."

Ryan Warner, coordinator of Study Abroad and Global Engagement at Marshall, said all the students are coming from two specific areas in Mexico - Puebla and Queretaro.

"The entire Proyecta initiative is in regard to a much larger purpose," Warner said. "Marshall University (Warner) and the HEPC (Dr. Clark Egnor) visited these two areas back in early October and Governor Earl Ray Tomlin provided us with a signed letter of invitation for the state of Queretaro's Governor (Jose Calzada Rovirosa) to visit West Virginia, and Dr. Egnor presented that letter to their governor. The plan is to potentially open up a state-to-state consortium between West Virginia and these two locations of Puebla and Queretaro, Mexico."

To celebrate the occasion and to welcome the visiting guests, the Office of Academic Affairs and INTO Marshall University will host an open house reception from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, in the Foundation Hall on the Huntington campus.

Classes will begin Monday, with orientation, which continues through Wednesday, Nov. 5. Changes have been made in housing to accommodate the students, with some students in single rooms offering to double up.

"The entire campus community, in a short period of time, has really come together to make it possible to host 177 international students," White said.

Most of the students coming to Marshall are STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students.

Orientation includes, among other things, visits to the Student ID office and the Immigrations office, campus tours, the IT department to get their computers set up and a welcome from MU President Dr. Stephen J. Kopp Monday morning in room BE 5 of the Memorial student Center at a time to be determined.

Stephanie Hurley, director of the student experience with INTO, Marshall University, said more than 35 American students from the department of modern languages who study Spanish volunteered to work with the incoming students during arrivals and orientation.

Also, tickets have been requested for the students to attend Marshall's home football game Friday, Nov. 28 - the day after Thanksgiving - against Western Kentucky.

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