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Gannon University Recognizes Outstanding Faculty, Staff, Students with Series of Awards

Published: 05/04/2021

Dr. Carmella Covell, awarded the SGA Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Carmella Covell, awarded the SGA Excellence in Teaching Award

Gannon University celebrated the notable achievements of faculty, staff and students through a series of recent award ceremonies.

The University is grateful to each of our awardees for their outstanding performances and contributions to the Gannon community and beyond, and congratulates them on these notable recognitions. 

Please view the awardees below for each respective category.

Distinguished Faculty Award 2021

Michael Messina, Ph.D., professor of marketing and director of graduate business studies, was honored with the 52nd Gannon University Distinguished Faculty Award at a celebratory ceremony on April 28. The distinguished faculty award is the highest award a faculty can receive at Gannon University.

Celebration of Excellence Award 2021

The Celebration of Excellence Award 2021 recognized faculty and staffs’ outstanding scholarship efforts and commitment to teaching, engaging and advising students and serving the community during a ceremony on April 30.

“It has been a year that we will not forget anytime soon, but (the Gannon) community has met and surpassed any expectation I or anybody had … We’re here today proving we did a lot more than just survive. You’ve achieved incredible things on behalf of the students and the University and each other,” said Gannon President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., during the ceremony.

See below for the Celebration of Excellence 2021 awardees:

Excellence in Advising Awards
College of Engineering and Business
> Celene Kalivoda, D.B.A.

College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences
> Sara Lichtenwalter, Ph.D.

Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences
> Melanie Gustafson-Ropski, M.A.

SGA Excellence in Teaching Award
> Carmella Covell, Ed.D. 

The Bishop Persico “Veritas In Caritate” Award
> Dominic Prianti, M.A. 

Undergraduate Research Award
> Saeed Tiari, Ph.D.

Academic Safety Award
> Douglas Oathout, B.A.

Gannon University 44th Annual Writing Awards Night
The University recognized students for their accomplishments in research writing, journalism and poetry during the 44th Annual Writing Awards Night on April 16. The winners of Gannon’s National High School Poetry Content were also recognized. Winners received a monetary award, a signed book by distinguished poet and guest speaker Sherwin Bitsui, and publication in the Gannon Writing Awards programs.

Congratulations to our first-place winners for each category below.

To view a full list of winners and honorable mentions, visit

Poetry Contest
Petra Shearer, senior in English and theatre

National High School Poetry Contest 2021
Andrea Saiz
“Witch’s Cottage”

Berwyn Moore Young Erie Poet
Tanvi Ugdiri
“A Wave of Words”

Research Writing Contest 2021
Graduate Category:
Carrie Griffiths, post-professional occupational therapy doctorate
“Perceived Facilitators and Barriers to Supervising OTA Fieldwork Students”

Undergraduate Category:
Petra Shearer, senior in English and theatre
“Manipulative or Misunderstood: Gender Stereotyping in Shakepeare’s MacBeth”

Freshman Category:
Natalee Stinebiser
“Water Quality and its Important Role in the Revitalization of Erie”

Journalism Contest 2021
Anna Malesiewski
“Students Raise Money for DefIANt Scholarship”

Ali Smith, sophomore in secondary education and English
“Pandemic Impacts Deaf Community?” 

Madeline Bruce
“The Role of Journalism in a Healthy Democracy”

Madeline Bruce
“Louis Tomlinson Emerges from Hiatus”

Alex Pepke
“Men’s Water Polo Begins Conference Play 2-0”

29th Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishments Conference
The Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference on April 24 provided an opportunity for students in colleges and universities across the region to present their research and creative accomplishment results in a public setting.


See below for a list of Gannon University student awardees and view the full list of award winners here.

Biology IV Category
Gabriella Goodwill, second place: “Phenotypic Plasticity in Lithasia geniculata Includes Shell Density”

Epidemiology & Public Health Category
Austin Hertel, second place: “Factors Influencing COVID-19 Spread on a University Campus Setting: Insights from an Epidemiologic and Metagenomic Surveillance Analysis”

Physics, Mathematics, Economics and Computer Science Category
Camryn Grey, first place: “Weakly Precedence – Constrained Traveling Salesman Problem”

Psychology & Social Sciences Category
Olivia Kelly, second place
“Analysis of Perceived Efficacity: The Relationship Between Self-Efficacy and the Development of False Memories”