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Published on April 17th, 2013 | by NSB Observer

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Former “Cuda” Honored at Daytona State

More than 150 students, three employees and an accomplished alumna were honored during Daytona State’s annual awards convocation, held on April 10.

Daytona State President Carol W. Eaton opened the ceremony reflecting on how academic success depends on teamwork among faculty, the college’s professional staff and students. “When those efforts intersect, amazing things start to happen,” she said. “Students, faculty and staff together begin to inspire each other. That place of interaction is a great place to be.”

Following the tradition of surprising the three employee winners, the president introduced and called up each awardee, as noted below.

paige sempsrottRepresenting career employees, the second recipient of the employee excellence award, Paige Sempsrott, resident of New Smyrna Beach, FL, is a native Floridian, born and raised in New Smyrna Beach and to this day is a proud “Cuda.” She joined the college in 2008 and has demonstrated a natural talent for customer service; her willingness to help is an inspiration to all who work with her. With a team-player attitude, she always rises to any challenge presented, whether professional or personal. As an active volunteer at the college, she participates in the diversity in education opportunity day as well as the Career Employees Association. She represents the college during local job fairs and has been instrumental in the implementation of the new e-application software.

Since 1999, a faculty member has been selected to receive the Presidential Teaching Excellence Award. This year’s recipient has been with the college since 2007 and has dedicated her life to continuing education for public service employees. Robin Davis, resident of Melbourne Beach, FL, has been lauded as the “trainer of trainers” by hosting and mentoring trainers throughout the state, having brought local, regional, national and international experts in multiple forensics areas, including crime scene, shooting reconstruction, active shooter, terrorism, driving instructor, gangs, drug investigations and officer discipline, just to mention a few.  To date more than 90 law enforcement officers have graduated from the New Detectives Academy which is now being modeled statewide by other training centers. Last year, she arranged the first FBI/Central Florida, FBI/National Associates Re-Trainer here in Daytona Beach that drew local as well as national experts in law enforcement training, management and educational delivery models.  This was attended by FBI associates and investigators from all over the state and Daytona State was headlined as the coordinator of training.

Representing administrative employees, Keith R. Kennedy, resident of Daytona Beach, FL, has been a faithful college employee for almost 30 years. He is the type of person who will simply ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?”  Often, he has been taken up on his generous offer and is asked to serve on committees and to help with a variety of situations where his input and perspective are greatly valued. Over the years, he has worn many hats, including that of adjunct instructor. He started as a custodian, and then moved to student development as a technician, working in the student services area.  Other hats include: counselor, advisor, director of community outreach and recruitment, director of retention and transition, director of admissions and community outreach.  Kennedy was promoted from director to assistant dean in 2004 and then to dean in 2010.

For the accomplished science alumnus award, Dana Johnson, resident of Gainesville, FL, received the Margaret Crumley Award for Distinguished Achievement in Science. The annual award, first presented in 2001, honors an outstanding alumnus who achieved an associate degree from the College of Science at Daytona State. Mrs. Crumley established this award to honor her son,John, and husband, Thomas. Dana Johnson earned an associate of arts degree from Daytona State College in spring 2011. A model example of a Daytona State graduate, Johnson has had remarkable success at a major university. Shortly after graduating from Daytona State she completed an internship at Marineland and transferred to University of Florida, and became actively involved in research, majoring in biology with a minor in entomology and nematology. For the past year and a half, Johnson has volunteered at a wildlife sanctuary in Gainesville, working in animal care and facility maintenance. Johnson is employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, conducting medical and veterinary entomological research while working on her honors thesis. She is also researching tick-borne diseases in the Microbiology Department at UF. Award recipients are nominated and selected by faculty of the Science Department and must be working in (or retired from) a science-related field, used scientific knowledge to improve their community, and have distinguished themselves in their chosen field of science.

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