BUIES CREEK -- There has been no greater time than the present when the world needs to see servant leadership demonstrated, Edward M. Gore Sr. said as part of his remarks Friday during the Campbell University School of Education’s 21st annual Commissioning Ceremony in Turner Auditorium. Among those best suited to provide that servant leadership are the more than 85 seniors in the School of Education who were commissioned Friday to mark their transition to their professional careers, added Gore, a member of the Campbell University Board of Trustees and namesake of The Gore Center for Servant Leadership.
Campbell President Jerry Wallace concurred: “There is no group that goes through this place to be ‘the salt of the earth and the light of the world’ that are more relevant to making that happen than students who graduate from the School of Education.”
During the ceremony, each of the seniors majoring in professional education, psychology and social work received a pin of the School of Education emblem to serve as a reminder of their call to be servant leaders and to mark the beginning of their internship, student teaching and field work experiences. The students also recited a pledge to “honor and serve others and accept others with sensitivity and courage . . . with God’s help.”
“In the School of Education, across all programs, we focus on developing skills that prepare our graduates to build professional relationships and apply professional work ethics that lead to success as servant leaders,” School of Education Dean Karen Nery said. “Graduates from the School of Education . . . are encouraged to be persons of visions, to look to the future, and become leaders of their professions.”
Three examples of the kinds of servant leaders who have graduated from the School of Education were honored during the commissioning ceremony with alumni awards. Jennifer S. Thomas (2003) received the Distinguished Service Award, Dr. Shelly Amen (2000) the Outstanding Alumna Award, and Rebecca Garland (1981 MEd) the Lifetime Achievement Alumna Award.
Garland, the chief academic officer of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, delivered the keynote address. “All of you have chosen very noble professions -- education, social work and psychology,” Garland said, “and you represent the best of society.”
But as the students begin to navigate their rewarding yet stressful professions, she encouraged them to develop a particular set of virtues: purity; self-restraint and patience; giving and charity; composure; admiration and kindness; labor, integrity and discipline; and humility.
To develop those virtues, Garland added, the students must also have “a tad bit of selfishness.” Specifically, she advised the students to take the time to develop a passion outside of work and to “find that perfect getaway scene where you can go in your head to get immediate release from stress.”
“Find your passion and peaceful spot,” she added, “which will help you get to your other virtues and help make life just a little better.”
Before Garland's address, three seniors from each of the School of Education’s area of studies received The Gore Center for Servant Leadership Awards for their academic and extracurricular achievements and for displaying servant leadership. They were Brittany Bridges (social work), Hayley Redding (professional education), and Audrey Zopp (psychology).
Short biographies of the three students and the three alumni that the School of Education honored with awards Friday follows.
Shelly Amen '00, Outstanding Alumna Award
Amen, who grew up near Milwaukee, Wis., joined the U.S. Army as a parachute rigger at age 18. She was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., where she earned her jumpmaster wings. She spent a year in Korea; and during the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91, she was deployed to Iraq, where she participated in the aerial resupply of Kurdish refugees. After seven years in the military, she was honorably discharged as a sergeant.
While working as an EMT and as a partner at a small cargo aviation company, she studied biology and psychology at Campbell, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2000 and received the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Biology. She then returned to the Milwaukee area to attend the Medical College of Wisconsin and complete a MD/Ph.D. program. While there, she received a $100,000 National Research Scholars Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to support her graduate work, which included studying the molecular alterations in the brain that develop during cocaine dependence and investigating potential anti-craving medications for this disorder. She completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology in 2009; and when she completed her MD in pscyhiatry 2011, she received the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Outstanding Student in Psychiatry Award.
Today, Amen is a resident physician in the Neuroscience Research Training Program in the Yale School of Medicine’s psychiatry department. Her research focuses on investigating the neural mechanisms underlying drug dependence and treatment of those struggling with this life-altering condition.
Rebecca Garland '81 MED, Lifetime Achievement Alumna Award
Garland, who received her Master of Education from Campbell in 1981, is the chief academic officer of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Her office is in charge of implementing education policy set by the federal government, the state government and the state Board of Education. She also oversees assessment and accountability, teacher education programs, career/technical education, exceptional children, support to low performing schools, and anything related to curriculum and instruction for the state.
Before becoming DPI’s chief academic officer, she was the executive director of the N.C. State Board of Education and held a variety of administrative positions with the Alamance-Burlington Schools and the Orange County Schools. Her other experience includes serving DPI as a regional curriculum specialist and as director of the statewide program for gifted children. Her career in education began as a Language Arts and social studies teacher at what was then Harnett Middle School. She later became an instructional specialist and coordinator of gifted programs for the entire Harnett County Schools system.
In addition to her master’s from Campbell, Garland earned her bachelor’s in history from UNC-Greensboro and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from N.C. State University.
Jennifer S. Thomas '03, Distinguished Service Award
Thomas received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Campbell in 2003 and went on to earn her Master of Social Work in 2005 as a Child Welfare Collaborative Scholar through N.C. A&T State University and UNC-Greensboro.
Following receipt of her MSW, Thomas joined the Chatham County Department of Social Services as a case manager and foster care social worker. In that position, she provides services to families to help keep children in the home and addresses the risk factors leading to family disruption. She also collaborates with other community agencies to coordinate services to families, participates in permanency planning action meetings, and supervises BSW interns who attend UNC-Greensboro and Appalachian State University.
Her community activities include sitting on the Foster Parent Recruitment Committee, chairing the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, volunteering with the Bonlee Volunteer Fire Department, and serving as a Citizen Emergency Response Team instructor.
Brittany Bridges, Social Work
Bridges, a lifelong resident of Lee County, is majoring in social work and minoring in psychology. At Campbell, she has been a member of the Social Work Club, Psychology Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Worship. This year, she has served as president of the Social Work Club and vice president of the Psychology Club. In addition, she is a member of the Phi Alpha social work honor society and Psi Chi psychology honor society, and she has been a student ambassador for the School of Education and an Orientation ambassador. Her internship experiences include Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) work with Harnett County. After graduating in May, Bridges plans to attend law school and continue to advocate for abused and neglected children through the GAL program. She aspires to be a family court judge.
Beyond Campbell, Bridges is a champion equestrian. She and her horse Hampton, an Irish sport horse who competes under his registered name Derrymor, have been repeatedly named the U.S. Eventing Association’s and the N.C. Dressage and Combined Training Association’s Horse of the Year in whichever division they have competed in.
Hayley Redding, Professional Education
Redding is a middle grades major with concentrations in Language Arts and social studies. As the former president of Campbell’s Collegiate Middle Level Association (CMLA) chapter, she led the club to becoming one of only four Tier 1 organizations on campus recognized by the Inter-Organizational Council. She also has represented the university and co-organized the State CMLA Business meeting at the state convention, co-organized the CMLA Fall Symposium that Campbell hosted in Raleigh in 2012, and attended the 2013 CMLA Fall Symposium held at Western Carolina University in October.
Her other activities include serving as a student ambassador with the School of Education and being a member of the Mabel Powell English Club. This past summer, she also worked with and mentored young adolescents at Super Camp in Florida.
Audrey Zopp, Psychology
Zopp is a psychology major who plans to attend law school in the fall. She’s a member of the Student Government Association and president of the Psychology Club. Her other activities at Campbell have included serving as an ambassador for the School of Education, a peer mentor for CUFS 100, and a member of the Ethics Debate Club.
She is also involved with the Young Republicans of Harnett County. She volunteered for N.C. Senator Ronald J. Rabin’s political campaign in 2012, and she has been an intern for N.C. House of Representative Mike Stone.