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Student Scholar Day 2018

2018 Student Scholar Day Winners


Best Presentation

Courtney Tabish

Courtney Tabish


“Determination of Sugar Content in Gin”

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joseph Roberts

Best Poster Presentation

Bethany Elliott

Bethany Elliott

Theater: Acting and Design & Technology

“These Shining Lives Set design”

Faculty Mentor: Jason Harris

Alumni Award for Outstanding Presentation

Daniel Gray

Daniel Gray

Biology, Pre-Medicine

“C.Maculatus Reared in Real and Artificial Beans”

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gregory Fitch

Thanks to our alumni judgesfor taking time out of their day to witness firsthand the great work of our students!



About Student Scholar Day

Student Scholar Day was started by the faculty of Avila University in 2001 as a way for students of various disciplines to share their scholarly achievements with the Avila community. Over the years it has developed into an all-day event that celebrates the students’ dedication to learning and the high level of scholarship transpiring at Avila University.

Each and every student is encouraged to take part in this day of scholarly presentations, either as a presenter representing their field of study, or as an audience member in support of their cohorts. It truly is a day of inspiration and we are proud to recognize the many accomplishments of our students at Avila University.

Student Scholar Day 2018 took place on Thursday, April 19th and will feature Oral Presentations, Performance Presentations, and Poster Presentations. The 2018 program is available below. Information for the 2019 Student Scholar day is coming soon!

2018 Student Scholar Day Schedule

Student Scholar Day 2017 Highlights

Student Scholar Day 2016 highlights



Goal 1:

  • Promote and encourage student contributions to scholarly activity across the campus.

Goal 2:

  • Recognize and reward outstanding student achievements and scholarly activity.

Goal 3:

  • Promote interdisciplinary academic interaction among students and faculty.

Goal 4:

  • Reinforce the breadth of learning that characterizes a quality formal education.

Goal 5:

  • Support Avila University’s educational efforts regarding the importance of communication skills.

Goal 6:

  • Enhance community awareness of the high level of scholarship at Avila University.

2018 Committee Members

Jessica Brunsman, MSN, RN, CPN

Katie Burgess, Ph. D.

Leah Gensheimer, Ph. D. (Chair)

Dorie Kurtz, MLIS, MA

Paige Libbert, MLS

Sue Ellen McCalley, Ph. D.

Heather Noble, Ph. D.

Benjamin Pascoe, MFA

Marcia Pasqualini, Ph. D.

Joe Roberts, Ph. D.

Jordan Wagge, Ph. D.

2017 Committee Members

Jessica Brunsman, MSN, RN, CPN

Leah Gensheimer, Ph. D.

Dorie Kurtz, MLIS, MA

Paige Libbert, MLS

Sue Ellen McCalley, Ph. D.

Ron McCleary, MS

Francis Origanti, Ph. D.

Benjamin Pascoe, MFA (Chair)

Joe Roberts, Ph. D.

Jordan Wagge, Ph. D.

2016 Committee Members

Jessica Brunsman, MSN, RN, CPN

Shanda Curiel, Ph.D.

Lynn Gallagher, MSN, RN, CNE

Leah Gensheimer, Ph. D.

Dorie Kurtz, MLIS, MA

Paige Libbert, MLS

Sue Ellen McCalley, Ph. D.

Ron McCleary, MS

Francis Origanti, Ph. D.

Benjamin Pascoe, MFA (Chair)

Jordan Wagge, Ph. D.


Schedule for Student Scholar Day 2018

Check out the 2018 schedule here!

Past Schedules

For the 2017 Schedule, click here (PDF).

For the 2016 schedule, click here (PDF).




A special thank you to our 2018 Alumni Judges David and Greg

Past Alumni Judges

In 2016 we honored to have five special alumni of Avila University participate in the judging for the first time. These alumni will be selected one student to receive the Alumni Award for Outstanding Presentation. In 2017, we were pleased to continue the new tradition by welcoming in four alumni judges. 

Ellen Barnes ’11, ’12 (2016)

Ellen Barnes is a two-time alumna of Avila University; she received a graduate certificate in 2011 and an M.S. in Organizational Development in 2012. She received the Graduate Student of the Year award from Avila in 2012, and is a current Board of Counselor. She is President and Owner of Freedom is Beautiful, Inc for Seva. Ellen previously worked at Sprint, American Heartland Theatre, Doubletree Hotel, Lindt Chocolate, and I.T.S.

Matt Beal ’15 (2016)

Matt graduated in December 2015 from the undergraduate Advantage program in business administration and management. He is currently employed by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a large technology company with a strong education and technology. Matt volunteered at Steer Dinner 2016.

Lisa Gioia '81 (2017)

Lisa graduated in 1981 with a degree in Accounting.

Tricia Lyon '00 (2017)

Tricia graduated in 2000 with a degree in Nursing.

Betty Nwabuonwu ’90, ’08 (2016)

Betty graduated in 1990 with a bachelor’s of science in Information Science, and an MBA in finance in 2008. Betty is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business, and VP of Professional Development at PMI KC Mid-America Chapter. She has served on numerous boards in the community.

Brandi Riggs ’06 (2016)

Brandi was one of the first graduates of the M.S. in Organizational Development degree program, in 2006, and taught at Avila as an adjunct professor in 2011. She received the School of Professional Studies Alumni Award in 2015. Brandi is the Talent Acquisition and Retention Manager at McCownGordon Construction.

Ana Valdez ’96 (2016 & 2017)

Ana obtained a master's in business administration from Avila in 1996. She is a current Board of Trustees member, a Heritage Society member, has served as an Event Chair for Steer Dinner and received the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2013. She is current adjunct faculty in Advantage. Ana has spent nearly 20 years working with numerous non-profit, grass roots and community-based organizations, and has worked at Fortune 500 companies such as General Electric, H&R Block and Sprint. She has served on the boards of several Hispanic leadership organizations in the Kansas City area and was founding president of the Kansas City chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.

Amy Young '00 (2017)

Amy graudated from Avila in 2000 with a degree in Art.


2017 Student Scholar Day Winners

Best Presentation

Hanae Ishikawa

Communication - Advertising & Public Relations

“Veterans’ Voices Project Media Kit”

Faculty Mentor: Linda Strelluf

Best Poster Presentation

Ashtyn Sills and Jackie Jimenez


“Analysis of Gene Expression after Inhibition of the Hedgehog Signaling Pathway with Cyclopamine in Planaria”

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kate Burgess

Alumni Award for Outstanding Presentation

Brian Murphy

Pre-Health and Biochemistry/Molecular Biology

“Determination and Differentiation of Sugar Content in Gin”

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joseph Roberts 

Student Scholar Day - 2017 Highlights

Student Scholar Day - 2016 Highlights

Student Scholar Day - 2015 Highlights

Student Scholar Day - 2014 Highlights

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Remembering Dr. C. Larry Garrison Sullivan

Dr. Larry Garrison Sullivan

1944 - 2019 

During his 46 years at the university, Dr. Garrison Sullivan inspired us all. Please share your memories >

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Avila University - SOAR 2018

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