Kaela Fuentes-Packnick winner of Graduate Student Recognition Award

April 22, 2020

The College of Education is publishing brief profiles of faculty, staff and students who would have been honored at the annual spring appreciation and awards luncheon. 

Faculty, staff and students who have made significant contributions to their fields were selected through nomination letters prompted by their outstanding service and dedication to their job. 

Today’s featured award winner is Kaela Fuentes-Packnick, who earned the college’s Graduate Student Recognition Award.

This award honors a graduate student for outstanding scholarship, research and dedication to education and promise of professional excellence.

Fuentes-Packnick is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction who earned her master’s degree from Penn State in curriculum and instruction in 2011. She also has reading specialist certification and special education certification.

Ashley Patterson, assistant professor of education, has been Fuentes-Packnick’s adviser since 2016. “She consistently brings a fresh view to research conversations and asks questions that encourage me to interrogate my own thinking and to articulate my understandings with as much clarity as possible,” Patterson said.

“The best word to describe Kaela’s performance as an instructor is exemplary. The effects of her laudable classroom skillset can be seen in the ways those she has trained continue to implement ideas and practices they learned from her.”

Patterson, in her nomination letter, included a comment from one of her student’s Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness (SRTE): “I loved Kaela’s energy every single class,” the student said. “She was always so motivating and I genuinely looked forward to coming to her class every week. I enjoyed the way class was structured and how each week things were switched around to keep us engaged and interested in the content we were talking about. She is truly a role model for myself as a pre-service teacher.”

Maria Schmidt, assistant dean in the Office of Education and Social Equity, has known Fuentes-Packnick since she was a sophomore in high school participating in the College’s Summer College Opportunity Program in Education (SCOPE) program, and has worked with her in a variety of projects.

“Kaela exhibits great poise and eagerness in supporting the academic and social development of our students as a tutor, study skills coach, counselor and adviser,” Schmidt said. “I consider her an individual of positive and strong moral character, always displaying a high degree of honesty, loyalty and integrity.”

And Gail Boldt, professor of education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, said Fuentes-Packnick has stood out for her maturity, her sense of responsibility, her leadership, her incredible work ethic and the sophistication of her thinking and analysis of teaching practices, particularly in relation to intersections of minoritized identities and conceptions of disability.

“Kaela has consistently exhibited an extraordinary level of commitment to the well-being of her students, her peers, our department, the College and the University, and in so doing, has demonstrated outstanding skill, dedication and grace,” Boldt said.

Award winners are:

·      Graduate Student Recognition Award: Kaela Fuentes-Packnick

·      Outstanding Teaching Award: Uju Anya

·      Outstanding Senior Researcher Award: Gerald LeTendre

·      Outstanding Junior Researcher Award: Jennifer Frank

·      Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award: Ashley Patterson

·      Career Achievement Award: Simon Hooper

·      Climate Enhancement Award: JT Taylor

·      Outstanding Staff Award: Megan Foster and Darlene Kolesar

·      Undergraduate Student Leadership and Service Award: Taylor Young

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 22, 2020