2016 Lynton Award Finalists

NERCHE is pleased to recognize five finalists for the 2016 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty.  These finalists were selected from an impressive pool of 29 nominees, all of whom are pushing the boundaries of community-engaged teaching, research/creative activity, and service in fundamentally new directions. 

The Award will be presented at the 22nd Annual Conference of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), "Charting the Future of Metropolitan Universities,” which will be held from October 23-25, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Lynton Award Finalists

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Nicole Breazeale
Western Kentucky University-Glasgow

Nicole Breazeale is an assistant professor of sociology at Western Kentucky University-Glasgow and an expert in empowering students, faculty, and community organizations to work together to improve society. Her academic interests include agri-food systems, poverty and inequality, community development, and critical pedagogy.  Nicole is known for developing a model of community-development service-learning for community colleges and regional campuses, pairing place-bound, working-class students with class projects focusing on marginalized community groups. She has integrated projects into six classes, including a renter's education project that culminated in a statewide bill that passed through the House. Breaking Ground, the most recent project, involves installing a jail garden and teaching food justice and sustainable agriculture to undergraduates and inmates. Nicole's current research on rural entrepreneurship received $350,000 in grant funding and four awards; it responds to the pressing need for new rural development strategies in a post-tobacco era. Nicole also advises the WKU-Glasgow Greentoppers, a student sustainability organization, and provides grant-writing and evaluation assistance to grassroots organizations. Nicole received her BA from Swarthmore and her MA from the University of Kentucky, before earning her doctorate in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010. Nicole enjoys puzzles, gardening, hiking, and cooking with her young son, Alexander. 


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Amy L. Cook
Counseling and School Psychology
University of Massachusetts Boston

Amy L. Cook is an assistant professor in the Counseling and School Psychology Department of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Previously, she worked in urban schools and mental health agencies, providing counseling services to students, clients, and families. Her research interests focus on reducing racial and ethnic inequalities in education and promoting equity, access, and positive youth development. She focuses on these outcomes through community-engaged research with youth in partner schools and organizations and through school-counselor training. She is committed to using scholarly research in a manner that advances democratic collaboration and educational equity. Dr. Cook teaches courses in cultural diversity in counseling; professional, ethical, and legal issues; collaborative consultation in schools; orientation to professional school counseling; research in counseling and psychology, and practicum. Through her teaching, she incorporates community engagement and scholarly research outcomes that prepare graduate students in developing social justice counseling competencies to empower urban youth. She speaks Spanish fluently and resided in Puerto Rico, where she attended the University of Puerto Rico.  She received a PhD in educational psychology with a concentration in counseling psychology from the University of Connecticut Storrs.  


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Tania D. Mitchell
Higher Education
University of Minnesota

Tania D. Mitchell is an assistant professor of higher education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. Her teaching and research focus on service-learning as a critical pedagogy to explore civic identity, social justice, student learning and development, race and racism, and community practice. She previously led an innovative program-based community engagement initiative for the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. She has also taught courses at UMass Amherst, Mills College, and California State University Monterey Bay where she developed the minor in Service Learning Leadership. Dr. Mitchell is a recipient of the Early Career Research Award from the International Association for Research in Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) and the American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. Her scholarship has been published in numerous books and journals, and she serves as an editor of two forthcoming volumes: Civic Engagement and Community Service at Research Universities: Engaging Undergraduates for Social Justice, Social Change, and Responsible Citizenship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and The Cambridge Handbook of Service Learning and Community Engagement (Cambridge University Press, 2016).


Therkelsen imageJes Therkelsen
Mass Communication and Journalism
California State University, Fresno

Jes Therkelsen is a documentary filmmaker, photographer, and an assistant professor of documentary storytelling in the Mass Communication and Journalism Department at California State University, Fresno. Confronting inequality, sustainable development, and environmental justice, his award-winning documentary work has screened in international festivals and broadcast on regional television. As a photographer with National Geographic Student Expeditions, he has worked in the Galapagos Islands, the Australian Outback, the Great Barrier Reef, Tuscany, Iceland, the Indian Himalayas, and the Namibian safari. He served as the first Filmmaker-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary in Virginia before joining the faculty at California State University, Fresno. Professor Therkelsen is affiliated with the Craig School of Business at Fresno State as a Coleman Fellow, a position where he integrates entrepreneurial concepts into his media courses. Professor Therkelsen has written on media culture, environmental filmmaking, and the relationship between international service-learning and documentary production.  


Tieken imageMara Casey Tieken
Bates College

Mara Casey Tieken is an assistant professor and the associate chair of education at Bates College.  A former third-grade and adult basic education teacher, her research focuses on racial and educational equity in rural schools and communities. Her book, Why Rural Schools Matter (UNC Press, 2014), is an ethnographic study of two rural Arkansas communities, examining the roles that rural schools play in rural towns—specifically how they shape a particular community and how they shape the racial landscapes of these towns. Her current project, funded by the Spencer Foundation, examines the factors shaping the college experiences—aspirations, transitions, and persistence—of rural, first-generation students. Tieken also studies community organizing for education reform, publishing an essay in A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform (Oxford University Press, 2011). In addition, she co-authored Inside Urban Charter Schools: Promising Practices and Strategies in Five High-Performing Schools (Harvard Education Press, 2009), a study of five urban charter schools, and has an essay about teaching antiracist history in all-White classrooms included in Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real about Race in Schools (The New Press, 2008). Mara received her Doctorate of Education from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.


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