Caps Off to Warner Graduates: A Look at May 2012 Commencement

Warner graduates at Commencement CeremonyIt was a day of pride and celebration for the 215 students receiving doctoral and master’s degrees and advanced certificates from the Warner School of Education. The graduating class gathered with family, friends, faculty, and staff on Saturday, May 19 to make their walk across stage in recognition of earning their graduate degrees in education.
Commencement festivities began Saturday morning with the University’s doctoral degree ceremony. The Warner School commencement ceremony then followed in the afternoon at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre and opened with a welcome and words of pride and triumph from the University’s Board of Trustees Chairman Edmund Hajim, President Joel Seligman, and Dean Raffaella Borasi.
“I am impressed by what you are doing and the commitment you make to students,” Seligman said to the graduating class as he reflected on some of his most influential teachers growing up. “I know that you will move lives.”
After welcoming remarks, special student awards were presented to the following eight Warner graduates for their exceptional academic performance and commitment to education:
The Walter I. Garms Award for Educational Leadership was presented to Miranda MacKay Cairns and Kathleen Smith. 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.
Cairns received her master’s in educational policy. Born in Washington D.C., she moved several times while growing up before graduating from Victor High School in 2004. In college, she discovered her passion for education and received a bachelor's in childhood education. Her desire to improve education led her to pursue a master’s in educational policy at Warner and to search for policy-related work.
Smith, who received her master’s in higher education student affairs, graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in psychology and Spanish from SUNY Geneseo. Following college, Smith completed a year of service through Rochester AmeriCorps working at Strong Behavioral Health in adolescent psychiatry. While pursuing her graduate degree at Warner, she also worked as a graduate assistant in the Rochester Center for Community Leadership supporting student leadership programs at the University of Rochester.
The Eleanore F. Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Chelsea Audin and Javier Bermúdez Reverón. 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.
Audin has worked with at-risk students in Rochester, where she worked to integrate mathematics into the afterschool curriculum in engaging ways. She used this experience to influence her student teaching. A native of Sudbury, Mass., Audin graduated with a bachelor’s from the University of Rochester last May. With a specialization in teaching inclusion adolescence mathematics and urban teaching and leadership, she will begin her career as a special educator at William Smith High School, an expeditionary learning school, in Aurora, Colo. next year.
Warner graduates receiving awardsReverón, a native of Puerto Rico, earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary history from the University of Puerto Rico in 2009. He came to Warner to pursue a master’s degree that aligned with his belief of social justice, access, and hope.  Now, through his knowledge of social studies education, Reverón will design a school and a curriculum that caters to the needs of Puerto Rican youth.
The Harold Munson Counseling and Human Development Award was presented to Lee A. Kehoe and Alyse M. O’Brien. 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.
As an undergraduate in brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester, Kehoe was involved in research projects, which included the publication of an article in the Journal of Family Psychology. While working toward her master’s in community mental health counseling, she volunteered at the Alzheimer’s Association and completed her internship at College Health Enterprise Senior Psychological Services. Kehoe hopes to continue on for a doctorate in counseling in the future.
As a volleyball coach at her old high school and club team, O’Brien’s athletes went to her for school, family, personal, and social issues, which was when she realized she wanted to work with youth in a counseling capacity. With her master’s in school counseling and a concentration in school leadership, O’Brien will continue subbing as a school counselor at her internship site in Greece through the end of the 2011-12 school year, and eventually look for a full-time position in New York, Virginia, or the Carolinas. O'Brien is considering pursuing a doctorate in either counselor education or educational leadership in the future.
The Tyll van Geel Award was presented to Theodore Joseph Pagano and Joseph Anthony Siracuse. 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.
Pagano, originally from Syracuse, earned a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from Binghamton University and a master's degree in higher education administration from Warner. Soon after, he began his doctoral degree in higher education and conducted a program evaluation for the Center for Study Abroad and Interdepartmental Programs at the University of Rochester. Pagano, an academic counselor at the University, will focus his efforts on diversity in study abroad at the University.
Siracuse, who received his doctorate in educational administration with a specialization in K-12 schools, is the assistant superintendent for instruction at the Wayne Central School District, having been a second grade teacher and a principal at the elementary and high school levels. A year into his current position and his dissertation behind him, he looks forward to putting his knowledge to use wherever the future may take him.
Warner CommencementIn addition to applauding the graduates for their great academic achievements, President Seligman and Provost Ralph Kuncl proudly recognized Karen DeAngelis, assistant professor in educational leadership, for her outstanding teaching and research, academic advising, and leadership in developing foundations in quantitative research. On behalf of the University of Rochester, Seligman presented DeAngelis with the G. Graydon ‘58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Nontenured Member of the Faculty.
To celebrate the great academic accomplishments of Warner graduates, the ceremony also included the reading of biographies for those receiving master's and doctoral degrees. “It has been our tradition to focus this commencement ceremony entirely on our graduates,” Dean Borasi noted to the audience. “So, there will be no commencement speeches. Rather you will learn something about the story of each of our 2012 graduates.”
On behalf of the University of Rochester community, the Warner School congratulates its graduates and their families. To view photos from the 2012 Warner School Commencement, please visit here.

Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
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