Faculty Awards, Valedictorian, Outstanding Seniors Announced

Anna Andes
Edward Slavishak

July 14, 2020

Susquehanna University has announced awards for valedictorian and outstanding seniors in the Class of 2020, as well as faculty awards for teaching, research and advising.

These awards are normally announced at commencement, which has been delayed until 2021.

Kara Eckert, a biology and Spanish studies major from Boalsburg, has been named valedictorian. Eckert has a cumulative grade point average of 4.0.

The Susquehanna University Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior Awards are presented to graduating seniors who exemplify Susquehanna's traditions of achievement, leadership and service.

This year’s awardees are Donovan Gayles, a political science and public policy major from Budd Lake, New Jersey, and Rachel Sweger, a business administration major and entrepreneurship and innovation minor from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

Faculty awards were given to Anna Andes, associate professor of theatre, the Donald D. Housley Teaching Award; Edward Slavishak, professor of history, the John C. Horn Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Creative Activity; and Michael Ozlanski, assistant professor of accounting, the Lawrence A. Lemons Distinguished Advising Award.

Each awardee receives an honorarium and will deliver an address to the Susquehanna community during the 2020-21 academic year.

Andes’ nominators consistently praised the strength of her work in the classroom, as well as her dedication and immense passion for theatre, her students and teaching. They described her as a champion of diversity and inclusion in education.

“Dr. Andes ensures her teaching amplifies underrepresented and marginalized voices, as most recently demonstrated by her co-authoring a play, Pageant of Agitating Women, illuminating the work of black suffragists who are too often ignored in history textbooks,” one nominator noted.

Andes earned her bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College and her doctorate from the University of Colorado Boulder. She joined the Susquehanna faculty in 2010. She also serves as director of the women’s studies minor and co-director of the Czech History + Theatre Global Opportunities program.

Slavishak was recognized for his exceptional record of scholarship, highlighted by his two books, Bodies of Work: Civic Display and Labor in Industrial Pittsburgh (Duke University Press, 2008) and Proving Ground: Expertise and Appalachian Landscapes (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018). His nominators highlighted his practice of engaging history students in his archival research, noting how this work prepares them for a variety of career paths upon graduation from Susquehanna. 

Slavishak earned his bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A member of the faculty since 2003, he has recently served as head of the Department of History and chair of the University Theme Selection Committee. He is the Digital Scholarship Program coordinator, co-director the Medical Humanities Initiative, and co-director of the Czech History + Theatre Global Opportunities program.

Ozlanski was described by nominators, including several of his current and past advisees, as someone who “has a keen interest in how his students and advisees are doing, and what they plan to do after graduation.”

“As a first-generation college student, I’ve relied heavily on the advising provided to me at Susquehanna University, and it is extremely useful having someone who truly has an understanding for what they do,” one nominator shared. “I truly believe that if it weren’t for his guidance and support, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate in four years with 150 credits to sit for the CPA exam.” 

Ozlanski earned his bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University and his doctorate from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He has been a faculty member of the Sigmund Weis School of Business since 2015.

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