The University of Iowa’s most prestigious awards for faculty, staff, and students were announced April 21 on the Hancher-Finkbine website. UI President Bruce Harreld and Vice President for Student Life Sarah Hansen introduced the history of the awards and the tradition of the Finkbine Dinner, which was canceled this year due to COVID-19, before recognizing this year’s recipients.
Hancher-Finkbine Medallions recognizing leadership, learning, and loyalty were presented to students Marissa Mueller, Kaydee Ecker, Dexter Golinghorst, and Bernadette Nelson; College of Pharmacy Professor Aliasger Salem; staff member Peggy Schoonover; and UI alumnus Carol Haveman Lynch.
Additional awards celebrating faculty, staff, and students were also presented:
Anthony Haughton, Joseph McDonell, Javier Flores, and Lindsay Agostinelli received Distinguished Student Leader certificates. The Philip G. Hubbard Human Rights Award, which includes a $1,500 scholarship, was granted to Charles Martin-Stanley II and Kaydee Ecker.
Amy Lenderink and Jason Kerst received the Robert F. Ray Faculty Representative Award, which honors outstanding student-athletes and provides $1,000 grants to recipients entering graduate or professional school at the UI.
Sherry Watt received the M.L. Huit Faculty Award, and Becky Gonzales received the James N. Murray Faculty Award.
In 1917, William Finkbine and Carl Kuhnle hosted the first awards dinner for UI men. In 1921, Finkbine’s daughter, Dorothy Finkbine Sauers, and her aunts introduced a similar dinner for women. The events were combined in 1972 and to this day are supported by an endowment established by William Finkbine, as well as other alumni, friends, and the UI Center for Advancement. Due to the cancelation of this year’s dinner, the 2020 recipients will be recognized at the 2021 event.
Marion L. Huit Faculty Award. Sherry Watt is a professor in educational policy and leadership studies in the College of Education. She is the leader of the Multicultural Initiatives Research team, where she conducts workshops and contributes to scholarly writing. Her research has been focused on privileged identity from which she has developed the Privileged Identity Exploration Model. The model identifies defensive reactions displayed in difficult dialogues. Watt is also the founder of The Third Thing Institute, where students use strategies to facilitate dialogues regarding complex social problems. The goal of this institute is to train individuals and teams to frame environments that promote trust, engagement, and collaboration. She introduces these same ideas with younger students by working with K—12 school districts to train educators on how to facilitate difficult conversations in classrooms. Additionally, Watt is involved in various educational initiatives that support students through their MA and PhD journeys.
James N. Murray Award. Becky Gonzales is an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In her four semesters at the UI, she has established herself as an educator who engages her students both inside and outside the classroom. While she is not a native Spanish speaker, she has used her knowledge of the language to develop further understanding of Hispanic linguistics and syntax. Gonzalez is involved in the Hawkeye First Generation Initiative where she serves as an advocate for first-generation students. She also is a full member of the DeLTA Center, a community dedicated to exploring the processes of learning and development through interdisciplinary research and community engagement. With her involvement in various areas within the university, she hopes to connect multiple departments to advance research.
Charles Martin-Stanley II
Phillip G. Hubbard Human Rights Graduate/Professional Award. Charles Martin-Stanley II from Onalaska, Wisconsin, is a doctoral student in the higher education and student affairs program in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies in the College of Education. His research focuses on persistence and retention of black men at historically and predominantly white institutions. Martin-Stanley has been recognized for this research by theMartin Luther King Jr. Research Symposium for the past two years. He also is the president for the Hubbard Scholars and has worked tirelessly to connect with students and create a more inclusive community of learning and support, becoming a role model for other members. Martin-Stanley’s involvement in various organizations, like Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Iowa City and Black Lives Matter Books and Breakfast, reinforces his belief that education is a human right that transcends the bounds of background and race.
Robert F. Ray Faculty Representative Award. Jason Kerst is a senior member of the Iowa Men’s Tennis team from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Kerst will graduate in May 2020 with a degree in management from the Tippie College of Business, as well as minors in Spanish and sport and recreation management. In addition, he is a member of the Honors program, and will graduate with Honors designation. Kerst has participated in a variety of community service and leadership experiences during his time at Iowa. He has been a representative on the Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (ISAAC) for the past two years and was elected president of the committee this year. He also serves as a senator on the UI Student Government (UISG). Kerst has earned the Presidential Committee on Athletics Medallion three times, is a five-time dean’s list honoree, is a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (spring 2019), an Academic All-Big Ten honoree (spring 2018, 2019), an International Tennis Association Scholar Athlete, was the Male Hawkeye of the Year recipient at the 2018 Golden Herkys, and is a four-year letter-winner. After graduation, Kerst will attend the University of South Carolina on a full academic scholarship where he plans to earn an MBA with career aspirations in athletics administration.
Robert F. Ray Faculty Representative Award. Amy Lenderink, a senior member of the Women’s Swimming and Diving team from Parker, Colorado, will graduate in May 2020 with a degree in psychology. She also will earn a certificate in leadership studies and a minor in human relations. Lenderink is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, has been on the UI dean’s list seven semesters, and has received the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar award twice (2018 and 2019). She has been a representative on ISAAC since 2018 and has served on the Leadership Team for Athletes in Action since 2017. She was selected as a team captain for 2019–20 season. After graduation, Lenderink plans to pursue a postgraduate degree in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies from the UI.
Distinguished Student Leader Award, Undergraduate. Anthony Haughton, an Iowa City, Iowa, native, is majoring in ethics and public policy and minoring in economics and African-American studies, with a certificate in sustainability. He is the vice president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and strives to promote brotherhood and academic excellence. As the director of communications for Hubbard Scholars, Haughton works to connect with students and create a more inclusive community of learning and support. He serves on various UI committees and works to benefit students. In January 2020,Haughton attended LeaderShape, an interactive experience that builds leadership skills, in hopes of gaining tools to better serve his community. Haughton also serves as the director of student services for UI Student Government. He has been part of many successful projects, such as negotiating the airport shuttle service, which helps students get to the airport during breaks. Haughton has been successful in integrating his various areas of study into uplifting others and giving back to his community.
Distinguished Student Leader Award, Undergraduate. Joseph McDonell, from Hiawatha, Iowa, is majoring in human physiology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He started his collegiate career at the age of 29 as a single father of two at Kirkwood Community College. Despite his nontraditional path, McDonell has been successful during his time at Iowa. His honors research at Iowa has been focused on defining a series of equations to predict gas-exchange abnormalities in premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. In the lab, he stands out as a leader and a hard worker and has been a prime example for other undergraduate students. McDonell has demonstrated leadership in many activities, including his role as a clinic coordinator for the UI Mobile Clinic, where he works to recruit volunteers to assist in providing free medical care to underserved populations. McDonell instructs students at Kirkwood Community College in his spare time.
Javier Enrique Flores
Distinguished Student Leader Award, Graduate/Professional. Javier Flores, from Brownsville, Texas, is a doctoral student in biostatistics in the College of Public Health. He first came to Iowa to participate in the Iowa Summer Institute in Biostatistics in 2014 while he was studying at the University of Texas. Flores served as the president of Biostatistics Student Association from 2018–19 and worked hard to promote diversity and inclusion at Iowa. He also was the sole graduate student representative to the College of Public Health dean search committee and played a major role in recruitment efforts. Flores has continued his involvement in the Iowa Summer Institute in Biostatistics by becoming a project advisor for the program. He is not only passionate about learning but is also committed to teaching and mentoring and worked as a visiting instructor at Grinnell College last spring. Flores’s long list of accomplishments have made him an inspirational role model for graduate students at Iowa.
Distinguished Student Leader Award, Graduate/Professional. Lindsay Agostinelli, from Boston, Massachusetts, is a MD/PhD candidate in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. She has spent the last 12 years conducting research on areas of the brain that have never been studied before and aided in the discovery of a novel set of neurons. Her passion and fervor for learning are exemplified by her involvement in research and exceptional academics. While her degree usually takes eight years to complete, she will graduate with a dual doctorate in just five. Agostinelli not only sees an importance in learning but also in educating. She is a teaching assistant in neuroanatomy, where she has leads by not just advice and good counsel but also by example. She has also been a mentor and tutor for many students who themselves have gone to pursue careers in medical scientist training programs.
Hancher-Finkbine Undergraduate Student Medallion and Phillip G. Hubbard Human Rights Undergraduate Award. Kaydee Ecker, from Stockton, California, is majoring in English and creative writing with a certificate in disabilities studies from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As a member for the Society for Disability Studies and president of the UI Students for Disability Advocacy and Awareness, Ecker has shown their passion for disability studies and advocacy. Ecker’s ability to lead with commitment and communication has led them to start many successful initiatives. They co-started the petition that resulted in the relocation of the Student Disability Services office to a more accessible location, gathering more than 3,000 signatures. Ecker also advocated for the creation of an ADHD support group facilitated by University Counseling Service. Ecker has made it their mission to be a voice for disability affairs. They are blending their passions by using the art of language to shed light on concerns of students with disabilities.
Hancher-Finkbine Undergraduate Medallion. Marissa Mueller from Ontario, Canada, is majoring in biomedical engineering on the pre-med track in the College of Engineering. She serves as the first-ever student-athlete representative for UISG. As the first person to hold this title, she has helped identify the roles and responsibilities of her position. Mueller also is vice president of the Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and aids in promoting positive athletic, social, and academic opportunities for all student athletes. Her passion for medicine, science, and sports is exemplified through her involvement on campus. Mueller has set records in javelin throwing for the Iowa Track and Field Team and is an active volunteer in various UI organizations. Through her vast involvement, Mueller has proven herself as an excellent student, athlete, and future doctor.
Hancher-Finkbine Graduate/Professional Student Medallion. Dexter Golinghorst, from Maysville, Iowa, is pursuing a juris doctor and master of health administration combined degree in the colleges of Law and Public Health. Golinghorst is serving his second year as the president of the Graduate and Professional Student Government, where he has worked to increase funding opportunities and partnership for research and mentorship. In addition, he has worked to include graduate and professional students in campus survey data. Golinghorst has been advocating for students with his involvement in the Path Forward Steering Committee, in which he has offered suggestions for improvement of the UI budget review process. He has earned the reputation of a reliable representative for students across colleges, departments, and backgrounds.
Hancher-Finkbine Graduate/Professional Student Medallion. Bernadette Nelson of Wyoming is a juris doctor candidate in the College of Law. She is the senior articles editor of the Iowa Law Review, a legal journal ranked in the top 10 nationally. Nelson also held the position of vice president for the Organization for Women Law Students and Staff, where she oversaw a program designed to support, encourage, and mentor female law students. Supporting and encouraging women has been a large part of Nelson’s mission at Iowa. She worked with the Voting Rights Restoration Clinic and Community Empowerment Project to promote social justice and equity, especially in underserved communities throughout Iowa. Nelson uses her skills to work for the common good and has advocated for immigrant rights and raised awareness and funds for breast cancer research. She has established herself as a public citizen and strives to use her knowledge for the public good.
Hancher-Finkbine Faculty Medallion. Aliasger Salem is a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Experimental Therapeutics in the College of Pharmacy. His research focuses on developing scientific techniques on novel cancer therapies and regenerative medicine. He has pioneered the integration of nanotechnology in cancer therapies. Salem has had an impact on the research done in his department. For the last seven years, he served as the head of his division and coordinated graduate programs, budgeting, and faculty mentoring. He has been a leader in promoting and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. He is especially proud of the number of underrepresented students that he is mentors. Salem exemplifies his commitment to educating and mentoring a wide spectrum of students by including PharmD researchers, undergraduates, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, and high school students on his research team.
Peggy “Peg” Schoonover
Hancher-Finkbine Staff Medallion. Peggy “Peg” Schoonover, an Iowa alumna, is a secretary for University Housing and Dining. Her journey at the university began in 1978 at the registrar’s office, and she joined University Housing and Dining in 1979. She has dedicated more than 40 years of service to the university and its students. University Housing and Dining has gone through many changes over the past four decades, and Schoonover has played a significant role in every transition. She has embraced new initiatives and changes in her department with grace. She has not only adapted to changes in databases and computer systems, but she has mastered them and is someone who others look to for guidance. Schoonover has been able to assess the needs of students and respond to them in the best ways possible. She is a key member of University Housing and Dining, training new staff and communicating with students and parents. Her wisdom and helpful attitude have gained her many nicknames, including “Aunt Peg.”
Carol Havemann Lynch
Hancher-Finkbine Alumni Medallion. Carol Havemann Lynch graduated from the UI 1969 with BAs in political science and psychology. She returned to the university for her professional degree, graduating with a juris doctor from the College of Law in 1972. As both a student and a professional, Havemann Lynch has been a trailblazing leader for women. She was the first woman attorney at ExxonMobil and the first woman to serve as president of the Iowa Law School Foundation Board. She has shown her love of and commitment to Iowa by engaging with law students in Iowa City, establishing the Class of 1972 Merit Law Scholarship, and gifting funds for the endowed Deanship of Iowa Law. She was elected to the University of Center for Advancement board in October of 2016 and is currently a member of the Governance Committee. Havemann Lynch is a true Hawkeye and is deeply committed to Iowa.