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Seminole State College names 2014 Endowed Teaching Chairs

Professor McGraw, Professor Aromando, Professor Donahou, Dr. Stokes and Dr. Laura Ross, Vice President of Academic Affairs

Four Seminole State College of Florida faculty members were honored with $5,000 Endowed Teaching Chair Awards during the  Spring 2014 Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 4.

Laura Aromando, Chesley G. Magruder Foundation Endowed Teaching Chair
Nursing Professor Laura Aromando has been teaching at Seminole State for more than 30 years. As curriculum chair of the registered nursing program, Aromando led the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) Self Study Report that resulted in full accreditation of the nursing program.

Aromando also mentors new faculty members, orienting them to the nursing program and the College overall, and her peers view her as a team player always willing to help. Of her colleagues surveyed, 100 percent gave her the highest ranking possible.

Aromando earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Seton Hall University. She also holds an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner degree from the State University of New York. Aromando also keeps informed of emerging topics and trends in her field, having written and published several articles and having presented at various workshops every year since 2006.

Eden Donahou, Siemens Endowed Teaching Chair
Mathematics Professor Eden Donahou, full-time faculty member at Seminole State since 2009 and adjunct faculty coordinator for the Mathematics Department, has been instrumental in redesigning the entire developmental math program by integrating an Internet-based tutoring and assessment program called Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) that allows students to proceed at their own pace, ensuring they are practicing concepts with which they need the most review.

Donahou is known for illustrating her curriculum with real-world application and makes points using humor and circumstances; she is overheard comparing math formulas to inner and outer cabins on a cruise ship and incorporating the cost of her niece’s wedding dress into classroom examples.

One student commented, “Professor Donahou is the best teacher I have ever had at Seminole State. I will actually go even further and say she is the best teacher I have ever had – period.”

Donahou holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Education from the University of Central Florida and a master’s from Cambridge College. Before coming to Seminole State, Donahou taught mathematics at Rock Lake Middle School in Longwood where she was honored with the 2009 Teacher of the Year Award.

Robert McGraw, Vinson Henderson Memorial Endowed Teaching Chair
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Professor Robert McGraw has taught at Seminole State for more than 17 years. McGraw, a Seminole State alumnus, has served as program manager and also teaches dual enrollment courses through a partnership with Seminole County Public Schools.

While teaching at Seminole High School, McGraw was named Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Instructor of the Year, Paramedic Instructor of the Year and Health Academy Teacher of the Year.

McGraw holds an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree in Emergency Medical Services from Seminole State, a B.S. in Healthcare Administration and a master’s in education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in health science from Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Lisa Stokes, Embarq Endowed Teaching Chair 
Humanities Professor Dr. Lisa Stokes has taught at Seminole State for more than 30 years.

Stokes continues to develop her scholarly pursuits through writing, conference presentations, books, articles and reviews and participation in community events in the areas of film studies and humanities. Stokes is one of the leading experts in Hong Kong Cinema, with three books and articles on the subject, as well as conducting interviews with film giants such as Roger Moore. Stokes also has been actively involved with the Florida Film Festival.

Stokes holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English from Emory University, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a doctorate of English from the University of Florida.

Endowed Teaching Chair Awards, established in 1996 and supported through community supporters, recognize some of Seminole State’s most outstanding educators for their invaluable contributions to the College. Applicants are nominated by their peers and screened by a committee of faculty and staff volunteers. Members of the Foundation for Seminole State College’s Board of Directors interview the finalists and select the honorees.

Four faculty members who were selected as finalists but not conferred with Endowed Teaching Chair Awards were recognized with Ken Sylvester Faculty Excellence Awards. Honorees are:

  • Humanities Professor Marisabel Irizarry
  • Biological Science Professor Amee Mehta
  • Social Science Professor Jennifer Middleton
  • Adult High School Professor Vanessa Wynn

The Faculty Excellence Awards are provided through Endowed Teaching Chair funding and acknowledge the invaluable contributions these outstanding educators provide to Seminole State College. Historically, the awards carry a $500 cash prize. However, contributions from Foundation Board members raised the award to $1,000 for each honoree, now two years in a row.

All eight honored faculty members will be invited to represent the College at next year’s National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Faculty Excellence Conference.

The Foundation for Seminole State College, founded in 1968, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that enhances the College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. Interested in establishing an Endowed Teaching Chair? Please visit the Foundation website.

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