Mount St. Joseph University

Celebration of Teaching and Learning recognizes outstanding scholarship, achievements

Academics, Press Releases, School of Arts & Humanities, School of Behavioral & Natural Sciences, School of Business, School of Education, School of Health Sciences

Mount St. Joseph University will honor outstanding academic contributions by students and faculty on April 14 during the University’s annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning showcase of academic poster presentations, lectures and discussions. The keynote presentation will be, “Caring for our Common Home: Responding Together to Climate Change” by CaroljeanWillie, SC, Ph.D., and moderated by Dr. Jamie Titus, Dr. Kate Lassiter, Sara Ward and Jeffrey Bohrer.

The annual honors convocation recognized students, faculty and staff who were nominated for outstanding awards by their peers.

Distinguished Student Award

This is the highest honor the Mount bestows upon graduating seniors in the traditional and nontraditional baccalaureate programs and the graduate programs.  The recipients must demonstrate superior academic performance, community service in keeping with the Christian mission of the Mount, and dynamic interpersonal communication skills in academic and community settings.
     Traditional Student Award: Erija Nealeigh, Bachelor of Science, Biology. Erija will give the afternoon commencement address representing undergraduate students.
     Graduate Student Award:  Hayley Lantz, Master of Arts in Teaching. Hayley will give the morning commencement address representing graduate students.

St. Catherine Medal—Molly Brauch, Religious Studies

The St. Catherine Medal is sponsored by Kappa Gamma Pi, the national Catholic university honor society.  It is named for St. Catherine, the patroness of scholars, and honors unusual and unselfish service, an active commitment to faith, and service to church and community.

Sister Elizabeth Cashman Service Award—Monica Brucher, Middle Childhood Education

Given to a student who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the mission of the Mount through involvement in, and initiation of service.  Special consideration is given to applicants involved in Service Learning Campus Ministry and other University or University-club sponsored events.

Dave Scharfenberger Community Service Award—Amanda Schrand, Inclusive Early Childhood Education

Given to a student who has demonstrated exceptional service to the University and the greater Cincinnati communities.  Special consideration is given to those students involved in the Plus One Service Learning Credit, a Service Immersion Trip or a service-oriented club or organization.

Bing Litonjua Award for Excellence in International Understanding—Maxwell Baltzersen, Business Administration concentration in International Business

Awarded to a junior or senior who has demonstrated excellence in international understanding, especially with respect to issues of social justice.

Sister Adele Clifford Award—Heather Christensen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

This is the most prestigious teaching honor presented to a full-time member of the faculty.  It is named in honor of the late Sister Adele Clifford, a Sister of Charity and long-time professor of biology as well as a former president of the Mount.  Student nominations play a significant role in selecting the recipient. Clifford Award recipients are nominated by students and chosen by a committee consisting of past faculty recipients and current students.  The nomination requirements include a narrative essay in support of the nominee and a minimum of five signatures of students experienced in working with or taking at least one class with the nominee.

Dr. Christensen’s nomination for the Clifford award was supported by over 100 students. They have experienced “Dr. C” as a professor who brings out natural talents in students. Enthusiastic, with clear expectations for the students, she is a professor who takes a personal interest in students and is willing to help them outside of class. Her nomination materials state: “Her genuine intentions and teaching strategies make her the ideal professor. She encourages class participation by asking critical thinking questions to get student's brains going. She believes that writing is a huge part of our daily and professional lives… With that in mind she asks us to connect life events that are relevant to class topics and writing skill together in the classroom, which she includes in one lecture a week.  Finding time to meet with her to go over material outside of class is never hard to do. A meeting with Dr. Christensen always results in students leaving feeling more confident about class material, a more positive outlook, and most likely a piece or two of chocolate. She takes a personal interest in each of her student's lives. She wants to know their career ambitions and help them get there.”

Heather’s interest in connecting to students outside the classroom was also noted. “Dr. C is great about connecting the Mount with organizations in the community that serve others. A prime example of this is with the Blood: Water campaign that she is helping Group Fitness lead. The organization helps to build wells and establish water hygiene in Africa. In addition, it is a good way to encourage the Mount community to make healthier beverage choices. Dr. C also helped Group Fitness to participate in the Beautiful Lengths campaign, where she donated her hair as well. Dr. C is about helping students to see that they are in the position to help people and that is where their energy is best spent.”

Emerging Scholar Award— Kate Lassiter, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Religious and Pastoral Studies

This award is presented to a tenure track Assistant Professor who has achieved outside validation that the kind and direction of his or her scholarly work has potential to make a significant contribution to the discipline.
Since her arrival at MSJU in 2012, Dr. Lassiter has, through her contributions to the fields of Religion and Pastoral Theology, far exceeded the criteria to be named this year’s Emerging Scholar.

Dr. Lassiter’s work has been published in the International Journal of Practical Theology, Journal of Reflective Practice: Formation & Supervision in Ministry, and in Journal of Pastoral Theology, all of which are rigorous, peer-reviewed journals.  Through these published articles, Dr. Lassiter is establishing her national and international reputation as a scholar, having been evaluated by a group of peers who view her work as important to the growth of the field.  Dr. Lassiter has also presented numerous papers at regional, national, and international conferences, having most recently presented her work at the Society of Pastoral Theology Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Lassiter’s scholarly efforts have culminated in the publication of her monograph titled Recognizing Other Subjects: Feminist Pastoral Theology and the Challenge of Identity by Pickwick Publications in 2015.  Her book, which explores issues of identity-gender, race, class, and orientation-in providing “just care,” has been called “path breaking.”

Distinguished Scholar Award—John Ballard, Ph.D., Professor of Business Administration

This award, presented to an Associate or full Professor, recognizes the skill and contributory aspect of his or her career as a distinguished scholar who has been nationally and/or internationally recognized for scholarly achievement.

John Ballard, our 2016 Distinguished Scholar, is Professor of Management in the School of Business. He is recognized nationally and internationally as a management scholar. In the 1990s John pioneered foundational studies in organizational smoking policies.  Later he became a recognized scholar in designing organizations, and still later with colleagues he pursued Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research. With over 50 peer-reviewed publications and presentations, John’s scholarship has been significant and continuous.

For historians he created the Joseph Juran project, salvaging the files of a PBS special on Dr. Juran. These files contained extensive interview videos with 30 major business leaders mostly in the United States and Japan. In so doing, John gave the world a lost video of a young Steve Jobs that has been viewed over 70,000 times on YouTube.

In the past five years John’s main scholarship has focused on reducing the gap between management scholars and management practitioners. John has worked to reduce this gap through blogs, guest blogs, tweets, and most recently the publication of his book, Decoding the Workplace: 50 Keys to Understanding People in Organizations. The Midwest Book Review said, "Decoding the Workplace is as informed and informative a read as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking.  (It) should be considered critically important reading for anyone working in a corporate environment." Gregg Popovich, Head Coach of the NBA San Antonio Spurs, endorsed saying “(it) should help anyone improve his or her ‘people IQ.’” Decoding the Workplace breaks new ground creatively. It is the first book with a scholarly organizational behavior foundation written with easy readability specifically for people in the workplace.

Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award—Sylvia Dick and Susan Lawrence, Art Department

This award honors an outstanding colleague who demonstrates exceptional teaching as an adjunct faculty member.  Candidates are nominated by the department chairs.

The Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award usually honors a colleague who demonstrates exceptional teaching.  This year we have an unusual situation.  The two adjunct faculty members being recognized have worked together as a team in the Art department, and it was clear that one could not be recognized without honoring the other as well. The 2016 recipients of the Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award are Sylvia Dick and Susan Lawrence from the School of Arts and Humanities. 

Susan and Sylvia bring to their teaching more than sixty years of combined experience with art education at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  That’s two careers worth of wisdom that they draw on in their work with our art education students. For a third year they have been a combined force in spearheading summer art workshops for art educators; this allows art educators to appreciate the quality education that students can obtain here at the Mount.  Mount alumni themselves, their commitment to art education, to their students, and to the Mount is inspiring. They participate fully in, and sometimes even host, department and gallery events, and they participate in planning and curriculum development as part of the Department of Art & Design. Their work with the Ohio Art Education Association and the Southwest Ohio Art Education Association gives the Mount a strong regional presence in art education.

Elizabeth Seton Mission Award

The mission of the University is the heart and soul of the Mount and defines who we are and how we teach, mentor, and guide our students.  The Mount’s Elizabeth Seton Award recognizes members of the administrative and support staff who have demonstrated individual commitment to living out the mission in service to students and the University.

     Mission Award, Support Staff—Robin Campbell Massie, Administrative Assistant, School of Business
Robin has been associated with MSJ in multiple capacities in which she has demonstrated outstanding commitment.  Robin has had several roles here at the University over the years. Her first position was in the housekeeping department.  In this position she was able to show her pride in the work she completed.  One of the highlights of her life has been the completion of her bachelor’s degree while being employed at MSJ.  After graduation Robin accepted the position of Administrative Assistant in the School of Business. In this role she is the “heart” that provides caring and the “head” that keeps us all organized. She organizes and coordinates the undergraduate and graduate spring semester honors and awards dinners and programs.  She coordinates the School of Business retreat, workshop, and meetings with the School of Business advisory board.  She is the contact person for all the adjuncts.  Her kindness to everyone and welcoming and friendly spirit to everyone who comes into the offices make the School of Business a very positive environment in which to work.


     Mission Award, Administrative Staff—Lynn Taber, Records and Registration Coordinator, Registrar’s Office
Lynn is the school certifying official, working with our Veteran students. Veterans will come talk to Lynn for course advice and just to stay connected. Many a veteran has said that their Mount experience was wonderful thanks to Lynn. Lynn has assisted with VIC (Veterans in Community) and functions sponsored by VIC, such as basket raffles for donating money to scholarships and sponsoring a guardian on the honors flight to Washington, D.C. She works with all students who are taking classes through consortium arrangements. Her focus is on student success and she works diligently to help them understand that partner school’s requirements and the requirements of taking an online course.  Lynn also coordinates graduation for the Registrar’s Office and works with all graduating students to make sure all the details are correct to give them a wonderful day of celebration.  Lynn wants the best for every student at Mount St. Joseph University.
Lynn is very service oriented.  She has gone to New Orleans twice now.  For example, Lynn enjoys getting involved with Founder’s Day for the Mount’s patron saint, Trick or Treat for the children, and the Harvest Home parade with the Veterans. Last year Lynn was involved with Lauren Hill’s journey and all the events that were organized around our inspirational hero.

Alpha Chi, presented by Joel Thierstein, Ph.D., Provost
A national coeducational scholarship society honoring students who have demonstrated academic excellence and exemplary character.


Emily Bostian
Andrew Bruner
Elisabeth Ashleigh Burg
Kelly Burger
John K. Copella
Kyle Damen
Olivia Dean
Anthony Faillace
Vanessa Godines
Jacob Allen Hedrick
Debra Kaye Jones
Christine Laake
Madison Jonelle Long
Hilary Elyse Massengale
Megan Mary Moore
Madison Perry
Natalie Marie Rudolf
Allison Schuler
Cynthia Shivers
Kaitlyn Sterwerf
Kathleen Taylor
Sidney Trasser
Angela J. Turck
Sayzon Turner


Kappa Gamma Pi, presented by Dr. Thierstein
The national college honor and service society for honors graduates who demonstrate outstanding scholarship, service achievement and leadership ability.  Members further pledge themselves to continued leadership and future service.

Graduate Students
Maria C. Aielli, MA Laura Jacobus Rue, MSN
Barry Lee Chambers, MBA Carla Joisil, MSN
Valerie Jean Christie, MSN Rebecca Long, MA
Melonie June Eads, MA Kimberly Ann Muse, MSOL
Janet S. Gilbert, DNP Kelly Ann Pidgeon, MBA
Donna Rebecca Mae Harris, MSN Natalie Elaine Robinson, MA
Margaret Ellen Hocker, MBA Maryann D. Shirkey, MSN
Dawn Marie Honican, MSN Sarah Ann Taulbee, DNP

Undergraduate Students
Kimberly Marie Baker, BS Megan Mary Moore, BA
Emily Frances Bates, BA Chelsea Jarie Ralls, BSN
Gabrielle Bolin, BA Natalie Marie Rudolf, BS
Hilary Elyse Massengale, BSN


Chi Alpha Sigma, presented by Steve Radcliffe, Director of Athletics
An honorary college athletic society which recognizes high academic achievement, exemplary character, positive attitude, and sport letter winners at the college level.


Sean Birnbrich
Andrew Booth
Joseph Ely

Morgan Hoehn
Kaitlyn Hoelmer
Matthew Hofmann

Nathanael Hornback
Rachel Jackson
Paige Kiesewetter

Sean McElroy
Mackenzie Money
Peter Rideout

Danielle Ripperger
Amanda Shelby
Caleb Smith

Erica Walsh
Michael Weil
Pamela Wisniewski

Academic Achievement, presented by Dr. Thierstein

Awards are presented to those full-time students who have completed at least 29 semester hours at Mount St. Joseph University while maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade point average.

Kimberly Marie Baker  Erin Nicole King
Emma Marie Beyer Christine Ann Laake
Gabrielle Patricia Bolin Tyler Michael O’Neil Potter
Anna E. Drees Natalie Marie Rudolf
Mary Katherine Dole Meghan Jo Safreed
Annalise M. Eckhoff Megan Cecelia Simmermeyer
Morgan Michelle Hoehn Kathleen Rose Taylor
Carolyn Rosella Kesterman Jacqueline Marie Unkrich


Honors Program, presented by Peter M. Robinson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History
Designed for highly motivated and high achieving students who take a series of challenging and fascinating courses during their years at the Mount.

Kimberly Marie Baker
Johnnay Mikayla Benefield
Gabrielle Patricia Bolin
Kelly Burger
Molly Beth Ehrnschwender
Joseph Ely
Sarah Nicole Kaiser
Megan Mary Moore
Kayla Thieman

Alumni Book Award, presented by Dr. Thierstein
Presented by the Alumni Association, this award recognizes students for outstanding scholastic or service achievements.

Logan Chowning
Sebastian Cunningham
Emily Hertel
Megan Simmermeyer


Dr. Peter D. Mosher Physical Therapy Book Scholarship Award
presented by Marsha Eifert-Mangine, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Physical Therapy
To recognize current MSJ DPT students for their scholastic, professional, and service achievements that contribute to the profession of physical therapy.  The award is intended to support the integration of life and learning into professional practice as a compassionate and competent health care provider.  The Dr. Peter D. Mosher Physical Therapy Book Scholarship Award is an award of three core texts that are utilized extensively in the second and third years of the DPT curriculum.  Current Mount DPT students are recognized for their scholastic, professional, and service achievements that contribute to the profession of physical therapy.


Benjamin Fannin
Lindsey Moore
Alexis Smith
Morgan Steinberg


Physical Therapy White Coat Award Recipients


Myles Beeman
Mary Broering
Jocelyn Brown
Lauren Cain
Jill Carroll
Colton Church
Joshua Cook
Becca Cooper
Haley Copes
Allison Dilts
Benjamin Fannin
Bill Fullen

Kyle Haas
Samantha Harrigal
Kaitlyn Harris
Danielle Hausfeld
Carly Hughes
Rebekah Hunt
Paige Illing
Adam Mattingly
Patrick McNamara
Lindsey Moore
Karen Muddiman
Phillip Mueller
Alexander Niemann
Juliana Prine
Logan Sillies
Alexis Smith
Caleb Statler
Jonathan Steiger
Morgan Steinberg
Samuel Stratton
Katherine Waggoner
Ryan Warren
Alesha Williams
Benjamin Wilson
Nicole Wirth