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Citadel News Service
4 May 2008

Graduate College graduates 250, honors outstanding students

The Citadel Graduate College conferred degrees to 250 during commencement was held Sunday, May 4, and honored several others for their outstanding achievements. George Benson, president of the College of Charleston, delivered the commencement address for the 2 p.m. ceremony in McAlister Field House.

Each year the graduate school honors students who exemplify outstanding leadership and academic achievement. Here are this year’s awards.

Hirshey Award

The Hirshey award is given annually by the School of Education in honor of Charles Hirshey who served as head of education from 1969 to 1979. Hirshey was a pioneer in graduate education in the Lowcountry and a founding member of the graduate college.

This year’s recipients of the Hirshey Award are Barbara Ellen Rabon of Charleston and Donna Eby-Meeks of Johns Island.

Born on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and raised everywhere from Arkansas to Denmark, Rabon has a diversified background. Upon graduation from New Bern High school where she was a state level cross country runner and founding member of the Habitat for Humanity club, she attended Stetson University’s elementary education bachelors program in DeLand, Fla., During her college years Rabon worked helping people in need in Daytona, New Orleans, Louisville and Chattanooga. She spent three months in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand helping impoverished families. Upon graduation, she taught second and third grade for six years before becoming a teacher coach at Midland Park Elementary. During this time, she completed her Elementary Administration masters from The Citadel and has also simultaneously begun the educational specialist program in hopes of earning her doctoral degree.

Eby-Meeks completed her undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies in 1989 from Indiana University, South Bend. She has spent over 20 years in direct services working with children and families. Currently, she is an elementary school counselor at James Island Elementary School. She is a national certified counselor and a member of Alpha Tau Chi chapter of Chi Sigma Iota International Counseling Honor Society and belongs to the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association, the South Carolina Counseling Association, and the South Carolina School Counselor Association. While enrolled in the graduate school counseling program at The Citadel, she completed her supervised Practicum at Laing Middle School and supervised Internship at Pinckney Elementary School. At The Citadel she served as president of the Graduate School Counseling Association (GSCA) in 2007. Eby-Meeks completed her master’s degree in school counseling with certification in elementary school counseling in December 2007.

The Aline Mahan Award

The Aline Mahan Award is presented annually by the Psychology Department in honor of the first female professor at The Citadel and a driving force behind the creation of the college's psychology program. The award recognizes outstanding scholarship, technical skill and community service. The late Dr. Aline Mahan was an active and visible member of The Citadel faculty for 17 years and she was instrumental in the creation and development of graduate programs in psychology and education. She was founder and coordinator of the school psychology program.

This year’s award recipient is Audrey Dooley of Charleston for her outstanding record of accomplishment in the School Psychology graduate program.

A graduate with a degree in marketing from Tulane University, Dooley worked as an account executive in a New York City public relations firm before relocating to Charleston in 2005. Since entering the school psychology program she has held a graduate assistantship in the department, and she has been a leader in the campus chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology. Dooley has presented research at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists. She is currently preparing to publish her master's thesis on identifying ways of predicting scores on the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test and is completing her internship with the Berkeley County School District, where she will work in school psychology next year.

J. Patrick Leverett Award

The J. Patrick Leverett Award honors Professor Pat Leverett for his contributions to The Citadel as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology for 10 years. Leverett died in a 2005 plane crash in Alaska. The award goes to student of the Department of Psychology's master's degree program in clinical counseling.

This year’s recipient is Heather McConnell of Charleston for her outstanding record of accomplishment. McConnell first became interested in psychology in high school when she was presented with the challenge of dealing with the impact of a traumatic brain injury that occurred within her family. A graduate of the College of Charleston, McConnell enrolled in The Citadel’s Clinical Counseling Program in 2005. She is a member of the national honor societies for both psychology and counseling and is currently completing her internship at Marshal Pickens Hospital in Greenville.

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