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Four Tristate Educators to Be Honored at UC’s December Commencement Ceremony

UC’s fifth-annual Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Awards will be presented at Commencement on Dec. 12.

Date: 12/3/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover, Ashley Kempher, Lisa Ventre

UC ingot  
  • A first for UC’s Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Awards, as a high school teacher is nominated by two UC students for his unforgettable ethnic studies class.
  • A UC student honors a teacher that she never had in the classroom, but who inspired her for life.
  • A high school biology teacher is revered for fostering an appreciation for science.
  • A former high school French teacher is praised for considering a “challenging” student an opportunity.

      All will be honored with UC’s fifth-annual Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award as the University of Cincinnati celebrates Commencement at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 12, in Fifth Third Arena.

      Each of the honorees will be presented with a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded to a student of his or her choosing who plans to attend UC in the 2010-2011 academic year. They’re also invited to join UC President Gregory H. Williams at a special brunch that will take place at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 12, in Room 850, Lindner Center.

      Earlier in the fall, future UC graduates from the Cincinnati USA region were invited to honor the K-12 educator who fueled their pursuit of a higher education. The recipients were selected from a pool of 32 nominations that were reviewed by a UC committee that included representation from the Office of the President, UC faculty, staff and students.

      The recipients of the 2009 Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award are


      Maria-Rosa Arbona – Saint Ursula Academy teacher Maria-Rosa Arbona, a 45-year veteran of teaching, will be honored by Alyssa Penick, a UC double major in biology and neuroscience who says this teacher fueled her passion for science. “I probably would not have been a biology major had I not had this woman for a teacher,” Penick says of Arbona. “She fostered an appreciation for science. But her class was about more than biology. She taught us how to be strong, independent women. Her legacy will always live on in the women she has inspired.”


      Joy Brubaker – Matt Stuckey says he was considered a “challenging” student during his years at Wilmington High School, but remembers one teacher who considered those challenges to be opportunities. Their bond later led to an experiential learning opportunity and college credit for Stuckey, a 21-year-old senior at UC who is majoring in political science and communication. He will be honoring his former French teacher, Joy Brubaker, who retired after teaching for 25 years and is now teaching part-time at Wilmington College.


      Rebecca Feltner – December UC graduate Emily Neal, who’s earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, is honoring the special education teacher who pulled her out of study hall at Anderson High School to become a peer mentor. “Rebecca truly made an impression on me with her selfless nature and enduring kindness, patience and spirit,” says Neal.  “I’m very thankful for her.” Feltner, who earned her master’s degree from UC, has taught for 15 years. She currently teaches for the Forest Hills School District’s Transition-to-Work Program for 12th grade and beyond to prepare young adults with disabilities for vocational fields.


      Joe Yoshimura – Walnut Hills High School teacher Joe Yoshimura is a 33-year-veteran of teaching. He’s the first to be nominated for the award by two future UC graduates, Ashley Renee Townes, a health promotion and education major, and Christine Hessel, a nursing major. Both Townes and Hessel remember the life-changing experience of taking Yoshimura’s ethnic studies class their senior year in high school. Townes says it was his course that first stimulated her future interest in working with underrepresented populations, as well as in attending a university like UC with a diverse student population. Hessel, too, says she chose UC because she wanted to further explore the diversity introduced in Mr. Yoshimura’s classroom. She says his emphasis on social responsibility also influenced her future career in nursing.

      UC’s December Commencement ceremony recognizes graduates who finished their associate, bachelor or master’s degrees last summer or this fall. All doctoral students graduating during the 2009-10 academic year will be invited to the June 11, 2010, UC Hooding Ceremony.

      UC Commencement Web site