Class of 2021 honors Penn State Abington education professor

May 17, 2021

ABINGTON, Pa. — The Penn State Abington Class of 2021 chose Ann Martinelli, associate teaching professor and program chair of elementary and early childhood education, as the winner of this year’s Ross Brinkert Lion Heart Award. 

Officials at Abington renamed the Lion Heart Award this year to honor their late colleague Ross Brinkert, associate professor of Corporate Communication. Brinkert embodied the qualities described in the award, which recognizes an inspiring member of the faculty, staff or administration who exemplifies the ideals of energy, effort and integrity. In addition, the person must demonstrate a commitment to excellence and uphold the standards of the University.

Brinkert was a treasured colleague of Martinelli’s. 

“Having his name attached to this award brings new meaning to what it means to be a Lion Heart recipient," said Martinelli. "In my actions, I tried my best to live more in Ross’s image — he was kind and gentle and would make everyone feel like someone. I brought these qualities into my interactions with students and chose to see my students as people first."

“When your foundation starts to shake or crack, come back to us and allow us to reaffirm it. You have the army of Penn State behind you, and I assure you that you will not break.”

— Ann Martinelli, professor, Penn State Abington

This is the second time Martinelli has been honored by a graduating class with the Brinkert Lion Heart award. 

“Winning the award once was a gift … winning it twice is a spectacular achievement for me especially this year with so many challenges. This award symbolizes the power of relationships established between a teacher and a student. Teaching during these challenging times pushed both faculty and students to transform and reinvent their practice,” she said.

“When you have amazing students you want to work harder to be your very best. The education class of 2021 has made me work harder to think critically about my practice to make the teaching and learning process be a more meaningful experience.”

Martinelli reminded students that Abington gave them a strong foundation.

“Do not let anything shake the core of that foundation. When your foundation starts to shake or crack, come back to us and allow us to reaffirm it and provide you with strength. You have the army of Penn State behind you, and I assure you that you will not break,” she said. 

One student who nominated Martinelli hailed her for always being available to students and providing guidance: “There are so many reasons to nominate Ann … including her passion for helping others, her drive to educate herself and others, her understanding, her ability to motivate … and her outstanding support that she provides to ALL of her students.”

About Penn State Abington

Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With about 3,700 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 23 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more. 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 17, 2021