The 30th Annual School of Education (SOE) Senior Recognition Banquet honored outstanding seniors within the SOE and its departmental programs. Seniors were recognized for their excellence in academic and fieldwork in education programs and their readiness to impact the world.
Of the 128 seniors graduating, six were honored at the banquet.
Audrey Elledge, of Frisco, Texas, received the EDICUT Pre-service Educator of the Year Award for her exceptional academic achievements during her time at Baylor and in the School of Education. An EDICUT (Education Deans of Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas) award is presented at every Texas private university education program.
Elledge was selected as a Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and has maintained a perfect 4.0, winning her the “Greek Life Cumulative 4.0 Award” as member of Chi Omega. She was inducted into Mortar Board, an academic honor society, and the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society. She has appeared on the Dean’s Academic Honor List every semester at Baylor.
Elledge served four semesters on the steering committee for Baylor’s Steppin’ Out and has travelled to Edinburg, Texas, and Cape Town, South Africa, for mission trips. Elledge also won two awards for her poetry at the 20th Annual Beall Poetry Festival, the Academy of American Poets Prize and the Virginia Beall Poetry Prize.
“Because of the service-oriented values instilled during her early years at Baylor, Audrey believes that she can bring positive change to communities beyond Waco,” Dr. Jon Engelhardt, Dean of the School of Education, said in presenting the award.
Elledge completed her internship at Midway Middle School and will graduate in May with a degree in Middle Grades English, Language Arts and Reading. Elledge will continue her studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., to incorporate arts into middle school education.
Amanda Packard, from Flower Mound, Texas, won the Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education Award, named after a former Baylor professor in the School of Education. Phi Delta Kappa International is a professional education honor organization that seeks to increase understanding of the educational process and supports universal public education.
Packard has served in a variety of leadership positions at Baylor. In the Kappa Chi Alpha sorority Packard served as ministry chair, service chair and pledge trainer and was inducted into the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society.
“Amanda is one of the most creative teachers, who uses technology to truly enhance instruction,” said Dr. Rachelle Rogers, Assistant Clinical Professor in the School of Education and Packard’s internship supervisor. “I never know what I will see when I walk into Amanda’s classroom, but I can bet that students will be engaged in a hands-on activity and will be challenged to think critically.”
Packard will graduate in May with a degree in Middle Grades Mathematics and will continue teaching at Midway Middle School where she completed her internship for SOE.
Barlow has served as secretary for Mortar Board this past year, has been a William Carey Crane Scholar in Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning since her freshman year, and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education.
Dr. Tony Talbert, professor of Curriculum and Instruction, who presented the award, quoted Barlow’s professors and said, “Jordan Barlow approaches everything she does with an attitude of excellence. She is passionate about her students’ successes and values the relationships she builds with them.”
Barlow said, “I want to teach in order to hold a position where I can encourage children daily. I want to be a cheerleader for each and every child. I chose Baylor because I wanted to learn how to integrate my faith into my teaching and I wanted to learn from the best.”
Barlow will graduate this May with a degree in Elementary Education and will be the lead mentor for the University for Young People at Baylor this summer.
Ashlyn Cramer, of Highland Village, Texas, received the Award for Outstanding Student in Middle School Education. Cramer knew early on she wanted to be a teacher and decided in high school that she loved literature and students in middle school.
Cramer has been involved in Slate Board and has served as both the junior and vice president Collegiate Recruitment Information Chair for Alpha Chi Omega. Cramer has been inducted into the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, serves as a Student Ambassador for Baylor’s School of Education, and works at South Russell Residential Hall as an Office Assistant.
In presenting the award, Talbert said Cramer is known to her students and professors for her energy, diligence, enthusiasm, passion and excitement for the classroom. “She is a natural teacher,” one professor said.
Cramer will graduate in May with a degree in Middle Grades English.
Smith said she does not just think of education as her major but as her calling in life. “Teaching is not just something I have always wanted to do, but it is something that I feel called to,” Smith said. “When a student finally understands a topic they have been struggling with, it makes my day.”
Smith’s professors have said Allie is confident, innovative, diligent and prepared. “Allie has a positive learning outlook always seeking to learn more about teaching mathematics with a smile,” Dr. Talbert who presented the award said. “You can tell when she teaches that she not only enjoys the content but she enjoys the students and works hard to make sure they are engaged in learning mathematics.”
Smith has been involved with Kappa Delta Pi, Baylor Transfer Living Learning Center, and the Baylor Fitness Department where she served as Fitness Team Leader. She also serves as a Baylor SOE Student Ambassador and has remained on the Dean’s List every semester since freshman year.
Smith is graduating this May with a degree in Secondary Mathematics.
Sasha Wells, of Lago Vista, Texas, won the Outstanding Student in All-Level Education Programs Award for her work in special education. Earlier this year Wells received the Texas Association of School Personal Administrators (TAPSA) Scholarship, a statewide honor.
Wells knew she wanted to teach special education when working with special needs kids at a horseback riding camp in high school. Wells has also been a member of Baylor’s Equestrian Team since 2011, serves as a Student Ambassador for the SOE and traveled to Costa Rica this semester for SOE’s spring break service trip.
“I love making an impact in children’s lives and seeing what they can accomplish both inside and outside of the classroom,” Wells said of her teaching experience.
In presenting Wells’ award, Talbert quoted Well’s instructors, saying, “Sasha represents the best about special education on campus, in the arena, and especially in the classroom. Sasha is hard working and has an amazing heart for the children she serves.”
Wells completed her internship at Castleman Creek Elementary School in Midway ISD and will graduate in May with a degree in all-level special education. Wells said, “Baylor’s School of Education has trained me to be the best teacher, Christian and person I can be.”