Celebrating the Class of 2018

Warner School Honors Its Graduates at Commencement Ceremony
2018 The spring rain couldn’t dampen the hundreds of smiles of the Warner School’s 2018 graduating class and their families and friends during commencement weekend. A stream of graduates donning caps and gowns filled Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on Saturday, May 19, for the Warner School of Education’s 60th Annual Commencement Ceremony.
In just a short time, the class of 169 degree candidates—11 with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), 25 with a Doctor of Education (EdD), and 133 with a Master of Science (MS)—became alumni of the Warner School.
Commencement opened with welcoming remarks from University of Rochester President Richard Feldman, Warner School Dean Raffaella Borasi, and Board of Trustees Chairman Daniel R. Wegman. “It has been our tradition to focus the Commencement Ceremony entirely on the graduates,” said Borasi, “so today you will learn something about the story of each of our 2018 graduates.” The reading of biographies of the graduating students—a ritual that began several years ago—was a highlight of the Warner School ceremony.
Mary Ellen BurrisIn addition to conferring degrees and recognizing the graduates for marking their educational milestones, President Feldman and Dean Borasi had the distinct honor of recognizing Mary Ellen Burris ‘68W (Mas) with the University’s highest honor, the Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Award. Burris, senior vice president of Consumer Affairs for Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., was recognized for her contributions to the success of Wegmans and for her leadership as an advocate for the health of the company’s consumers and communities. Read more about her outstanding achievement and notable service.
Other Warner graduates were honored at the ceremony for their exceptional academic performance and commitment to education. The 2018 student award recipients were: 
The Walter I. Garms Award for Educational Leadership was presented to Callie Andler and Lindsey Feigenbaum. The Garms Award is named in honor of Walter Garms, professor emeritus and former dean of the University of Rochester’s School of Education, who was a leader in the study of both school finance and state funding in public schools. The Garms Award recognizes graduate students who show academic excellence and potential for excellence in educational leadership.
Andler earned her bachelor's in psychology from Stonehill College, and now her second master's from the Warner School in educational leadership. In 2006, she received her master’s in school and community counseling. Andler currently serves as a school counselor at the Leadership Academy for Young Men in the Rochester City School District, a job she loves.
Feigenbaum, a Seattle native, engaged closely with the Rochester community as a University of Rochester undergraduate studying brain and cognitive science. These experiences led her to pursue a master’s in education policy and secure an internship with the Empire Justice Center. She is passionate about pushing back against the rigid structural inequalities impacting urban education. Feigenbaum hopes to further her expertise in public interest law, and serve the Flour City community she now calls home.

The Eleanore F. Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to James Kostka. The Larson Award is named in honor of Eleanore F. Larson, an extraordinary professor who taught both undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Rochester’s 
School of Education. Larson’s passion for instructional excellence inspired her students to embrace a strong commitment to the education of children. The Larson Award recognizes graduate students whose commitment to teaching reflects Larson’s work.
James Kostka stands after being named the winner of the Eleanore F. Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching. Kostka is a GRADE scholar who exits the five-year program with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and psychology and a master’s and certification in chemistry and general science education. He will be teaching at New Visions AMS II in the South Bronx next year, and he cannot wait to bring his passion, enthusiasm, and creativity into the science classroom.
The Harold Munson Counseling and Human Development Award was presented to Audralee Doll and Jillian Burgess. The award is named for Harold Munson, professor emeritus, who initiated the school and community counseling programs at the University of Rochester’s School of Education and developed the programs’ high standards recognized by school districts and community agencies. The Munson Award is given to graduate students who reflect the mission and objectives of the Warner School counseling program.
While serving in the military, Doll earned her associate’s from the Community College of the Air Force and bachelor’s from Pepperdine University. Doll’s passion for positively impacting the education field led her to pursue her master's in school counseling with a specialization in school leadership. She now looks forward to pursuing her doctorate, becoming a school administrator, and advocating for students.
After graduating with a degree in psychology from SUNY Fredonia, Burgess started her career in mental health at the Villa of Hope as a skill builder. She pursued a master’s in community mental health counseling at Warner so that she could be better prepared to help families. Burgess hopes to work for a community agency, supporting children and their families.

The Tyll van Geel Award was presented to Andrea Barrett and Anika Johnson. The award is named for Tyll van Geel, professor emeritus, who is a renowned scholar of education law and applied ethical issues in education. Professor van Geel was instrumental in designing the educational leadership program at the Warner School. The Tyll van Geel Award is presented to doctoral students in educational leadership who demonstrate Professor van Geel’s commitment to thoughtful, ethical leadership and decision making, and rigorous application of scholarship to practice.
Barrett has over 10 years of higher education work experience. She started her career at the University of Maryland. Since 2007, she has been employed by the University of Rochester, first in the Office of Special Programs and later in the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship. Currently, Barrett is the executive director for the Master of Science in Technical Entrepreneurship and Management program.
Johnson, a native of Brooklyn, is a Deacon and holds God first. She's an Academic Counselor at the University. She also runs a makeup business to educate, empower self-love, and self-care practices to uplift women’s self-esteem. Johnson plans to develop an ALANA first-generation mentorship program to promote financial literacy. Johnson’s motto is “Keep Winning On Purpose!”

The Mary Ellen Burris Human Development Award was presented to Carolynn Brooks. The award is named for Mary Ellen Burris, a respected figure in the Rochester community who has built an illustrious career as an impassioned advocate for grocery consumers. Burris is currently a senior vice president of Consumer Affairs at Wegmans Food Markets, where, since 1971, she has used her knowledge of human development to find creative ways to empower millions of Wegmans shoppers to live healthier lives. The Mary Ellen Burris Award is given to graduate students who are devoted to bringing human development theory and research into practice to foster the health and well-being of individuals, schools, and communities.
Brooks earned a bachelor’s in biology/pre-physical therapy and athletic training from Houghton College, and now completes her master’s in human development with a specialization in family studies from Warner. Through a combination of work, volunteer and personal experiences, Brooks developed a passion for social justice and advocacy. She intends to use her education and experiences to support positive developmental pathways for victims of trauma.
Dean Borasi added in her closing remarks: “I would like to publicly recognize all those who have contributed to our graduates’ success—Warner School faculty and staff, and most importantly, the families and friends that sustained them in their journey.”
The University awarded the 2018 William H. Riker Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching to Joanne Larson, Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education at the Warner School, at the University’s Doctoral Degree Commencement Ceremony that was held earlier on Saturday. The University-wide award is given annually to recognize a faculty member who has excelled in graduate instruction, particularly in the University’s doctoral programs. Read more about her extraordinary contributions as a graduate teacher and advisor

2018 GraduatesThroughout commencement weekend, the University of Rochester used the hashtag #ur2018 on its social media platforms to celebrate festivities. Select photos, videos, and social media collections are featured on the University’s Commencement 2018 web page.

On behalf of the University of Rochester community, the Warner School congratulates its graduates and their families.

View photos from the 2018 Warner School Commencement Ceremony and the University's Doctoral Degree Ceremony.

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Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
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Tags: alumni, award, Commencement, educational milestones, Joanne Larson, student achievement, student award