Three of ARC’s top staff members were recognized Thursday for their outstanding work in the classroom and on campus in a small reception hosted by the Center for Teaching and Learning.
History professor Kristina Casper-Denman, biology professor Joan Brenchley-Jackson, and athletic equipment manager Keri Jumelet were asked to speak about themselves and what winning their award means to them.
“I had no idea that I was going to win when my name was called the week before classes started,” said Casper-Denman, winner of the ARC Patrons Chair Faculty Award and Honorarium.
The award is given every year to a member of the faculty who has been nominated by other faculty members, for their commitment to their students, the college and the community.
“It was amazing, because after teaching 18 years at ARC – a job that was started by mistake – I hoped one day to be in the same category as my mentor,” she said.
Carlos Reyes, dean of the department of behavioral and social sciences and Casper-Denman’s boss, also said a few words on her behalf.
“How she connects with her students is outstanding and I know we joke around alot but she really does transform and change lives – it is a real blessing to have her apart of our department,” said Reyes.
Jumelet, presented with the Patrons Meritorious Service Award for Classified Staff, was also surprised to be honored by coworkers and students on campus.
This award is given to the staff member who goes above and beyond their duties on campus and many of Jumelet’s co workers agreed that she embodied the meaning behind the award.
“I got a little emotional,” Jumelet admitted.
“I feel it is a very special award because I love my job and American River is another home for me – when I’m having a rough day I look to the award sitting on my work counter as a reminder that hard work is rewarded and appreciated.”
Brenchley-Jackson was the recipient of this year’s International Teacher Assistance Program (ITAP) award.
The award recognizes a faculty member who can accommodate students with disabilities and help them reach academic success. The faculty member is nominated by the students.
“What, me?” Brenchley-Jackson said of her initial reaction to winning the award.
“There are so many eager faculty members willing to work and help all students – I don’t consider myself unique.”
According to Kathleen Cronin, Coordinator of Learning Disabilities, the news did not come as a shock to the students who nominated her. They gave Brenchley-Jackson a standing ovation upon hearing of her win.
Along with her award, Brenchley-Jackson received recognition on the Wall of Honor in the Disabled Student Programs and Services building and a $200 stipend which she donated to the Natural History fund on campus.
“This award speaks of how you live daily,” Cronin said to Brenchley-Jackson at the reception.
Each woman was given a lilac vine at the end of the reception in recognition of their work for the campus and the students.