Professors’ commitment applauded with 2018 Boehlke faculty fellowships

2018 Boehlke engaged faculty fellows at McDaniel College
August 28, 2018

Five professors have been named Charles A. Boehlke, Jr., Engaged Faculty Fellows in recognition of their exceptional commitment to their students — in classrooms and research labs, in career and internship experiences, on soccer fields and even ski slopes.

The 2018 Boehlke Fellows are Kerry Duvall, assistant professor of Business Administration; Dana Ferraris, associate professor of Chemistry; Spencer Hamblen, associate professor of Mathematics; Jennifer McKenzie, associate professor of Kinesiology; and Wendy Morris, associate professor of Psychology and acting dean of the faculty.

As part of his $1.825 million gift to the College, alumnus and trustee Chuck Boehlke established the fellowship program to reward faculty members who provide strong mentorship and experiential-learning opportunities to students, especially within the areas of independent student research, community-supported learning, internship support and study-away experiences.

Engaged Faculty Fellows each receive a stipend of $5,000 per year or a course release, plus up to an additional $2,000 per year for professional development or other engagement-related work. Fellows are selected annually for a two-year period and are not eligible to reapply for a five-year period.

“Strong mentorship and innovative use of applied learning are valuable components of the McDaniel experience,” says Boehlke, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2015. “This gift is designed to recognize professors who do those things really well.”

Each of the Boehlke Fellows provides mentorship, leadership and experiential opportunities to apply their learning to their students in a diversity of fields.

Kerry Duvall helps students develop a professional persona through resume writing, interviewing skills, securing internships and career planning. She coordinates the highly successful Interviewing Day, where students from three majors in the Economics and Business Administration department interact with more than 25 representatives from various companies in the region. Duvall also coordinates Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA), which provides student volunteers to help low-income community members prepare their income taxes.

Dana Ferraris, fresh from a career as a cancer pharmaceutical researcher, is both advocate and activist on behalf of his students, the College and science itself. An active mentor and sponsor of student research, he helps students design and conduct research projects, serves as faculty mentor to the women’s soccer team and is the recipient of the Nora Roberts Award for community outreach. Whether he’s delivering bagels to the women’s soccer team early Saturday morning or standing in front of a high school chemistry class explaining college science, he’s always finding ways to engage with students.

Spencer Hamblen has made undergraduate mathematics research — a relatively new idea on college campuses nationwide — the standard among mathematics majors. He encourages and then mentors original research for capstone projects, while assuring his majors are comfortable in the community of mathematicians. Through his Jan Term course, “Conference Experience in Mathematics,” students over the past seven years have attended MathFest as well as the regional Mathematical Association of America meetings, where they’ve earned acclaim for posters, presentations and math competitions such as Math Jeopardy.

Jennifer McKenzie’s research as a McDaniel student collaborating with her professor have had an enduring influence on her life and career. Since returning to her alma mater as a professor, she has created similar transformative research experiences for her students, helping them to better understand concepts, apply knowledge to solve real world problems and be part of scientific method in action. As co-advisor for pre-professional Allied Health programs, she has seen a 75-percent acceptance rate into grad school. McKenzie, a 2001 graduate in Exercise Chemistry, actively facilitates research experiences, oversees internships, sponsors clubs and mentors Kinesiology students.

Wendy Morris makes an important assumption in her approach to student-faculty research. She believes that undergraduate students can produce high quality projects and promotes this idea by instilling in her students the confidence that they have the potential to be capable contributors to their discipline. Morris regards her students as research collaborators and offers them a flexible experience. She is advisor to Psi Chi, the international honor society in Psychology, and still finds time to be advisor of the College’s ski and snowboard club.         

Charles A. Boehlke, Jr., is a retired executive vice president and chief financial officer of MSC Industrial Direct, a publicly traded distributor of industrial supplies headquartered in Melville, N.Y., where he served on the company’s board of directors until his retirement in 2011. He previously spent 17 years at Black & Decker in various positions, including chief financial officer for Black & Decker Mexico. He has often served as a guest lecturer in business classes at McDaniel. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of Miami in 1980 and was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society in 1979.

The 2018 Charles A. Boehlke, Jr., Engaged Faculty Fellows are (l.-r.) Dana Ferraris, Spencer Hamblen, Kerry Duvall, Wendy Morris and Jennifer McKenzie.