College of Education honors alumni for achievements, service

Stefanie Tomlinson
October 29, 2018
2018 Alumni Society Award recipients

2018 College of Education Alumni Society Award recipients with Dean Monk (front row left) are, front, from left: Nicole Luchansky, Tracey Tardif; second row, from left: Elizabeth Burkhart, Mikayla Masley, Melissa Frank-Alston; back row, from left: Thomas J. Gentzel, Samuel B. Slike.

IMAGE: Steve Tressler/Vista Print Studios

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Seven College of Education graduates were recognized for their professional accomplishments, leadership and service during the annual College of Education Alumni Society Awards banquet held earlier this month at the Nittany Lion Inn on the University Park campus.

Samuel B. Slike, director of special education online programs at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, received the Alumni Excellence Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a College of Education alum. It recognizes career-long, sustained excellence of contribution and achievement in the nominee's chosen profession. Slike earned his bachelor of science degree in speech pathology and audiology from Penn State in 1974 and his doctor of education degree from Penn State in 1987.

Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director/CEO of the National School Boards Association in Alexandria, Virginia, was honored with the Service to Penn State Award, which recognizes alumni and friends who have made significant contributions of time and talent to the College and/or the University. He received a bachelor of science degree in community development from Penn State in 1973 and a master of public administration degree from Penn State in 2002.

Melissa Frank-Alston, executive vice president for academic affairs/institutional effectiveness and research at Augusta Technical College in Augusta, Georgia, received the Leadership and Service Award. The award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves in their chosen professions, in or out of the field of education. Selection is made on the basis of leadership and service within a career, a community or to society in general. Frank-Alston received her doctor of philosophy degree in workforce education and development from Penn State in 2000.

Elizabeth A. Burkhart, a physical education teacher at Wilson High School in West Lawn, Pennsylvania, was recognized with the Outstanding Teaching Award. The award honors a classroom teacher for overall excellence in teaching methodologies, knowledge of subject matter and ability to inspire students. Burkhart earned a bachelor of science degree in recreation and parks management from Penn State in 2004 and a master of education in curriculum and instruction from Penn State in 2010.

Mikayla Masley, a sixth-grade math teacher at West Pine Middle School in West End, North Carolina, received the Outstanding New Graduate Award, which recognizes baccalaureate graduates from the past five years who have distinguished themselves in their chosen profession. Masley earned a bachelor of science in child and early adolescent education from Penn State in 2017.

Two alumni received the Outstanding Student Teacher Award for excelling both in and out of the classroom while they completed their student teaching field experiences during the 2017-18 academic year. The recipients are Nicole Luchansky, a math teacher at Aquinas Academy in Pittsburgh, and Tracey Tardif, a kindergarten teacher at Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna, Virginia. Luchansky received her bachelor of science in secondary education in 2018 and Tardif earned her bachelor of science in child and early adolescent education in 2018.

Nominations now are being accepted for the College of Education Alumni Society’s 2019 awards. Click here for more information and to submit a nomination by the Jan. 31, 2019, deadline.

Established in 1968, the College of Education Alumni Society oversees important projects and initiatives that promote alumni engagement and enhance the mission of the College. For more information, contact Stefanie Tomlinson, assistant director of alumni relations, at

Last Updated November 07, 2018