2023 Award Recipients

Stephen Owen

Stephen Owen, Ph.D., Professor of Criminal Justice
Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor Award

For Dr. Stephen Owen, “teaching is not a job, or a profession, or simply one of many professorial tasks; teaching is a lifestyle. Each time I walk into a classroom, it is in hopes of lighting a spark, within myself and my students.”

Dr. Owen prepares students to succeed professionally by encouraging problem solving and critical thinking. In a time when the criminal justice system is under increased scrutiny, Dr. Owen's students are being prepared to lead the way. His instructional style is building professionals who will bring innovation and change to the criminal Justice system, along with enhanced community engagement and safety.

He is not only a gifted communicator/teacher but also a caring individual that is dedicated to helping people learn. Former students have said if it had not been for Dr. Owen’s dedication to helping them be successful, they would not have succeeded.

As an accomplished teacher, administrator, and a credit to the national law enforcement community, Dr. Owen has been a mentor and a friend to generations.

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Rijac Cengic
Student Honoree

Since I have become acquainted with Rijad in my Crime Analysis Data and Technology class, I have been impressed not only with the quality of his coursework - which is high - but his attention to detail and feedback, always striving to put the best products forward.  Rijad takes pride in his work and shows a true enthusiasm for learning and for using the knowledge and skills he has acquired.   

Rijad was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and moved to the United States with his family in 2017. He attended high school at T.C. Williams in Alexandria, Virginia, where he was a member of the wrestling team and regularly volunteered at local food drives. He graduated in 2021 with honors and enrolled at Radford University in fall of 2021. He is majoring in criminal justice with a double minor in crime analysis and REAL expressions. Rijad currently works part time at the Highlander Success Center and is a member of the Radford University Disciplinary Committee. He has been named to the Dean's List multiple times and currently holds a 3.6 G.P.A. 

Rijad's goal after graduation is to become a federal law enforcement officer or a crime analyst. His interest in law enforcement stems from his great-grandfather, who was in law enforcement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and his stepfather, who is currently a special agent for the U.S. Department of State.

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Sarah Foltz

Sarah Foltz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology
Distinguished Faculty Advising Award

Considered, “a fantastic advisor”. Dr. Sarah Foltz “always recommended fascinating classes that seemed to slip by me and always ensured I studied a wide variety of topics that would increase my versatility and well-roundedness. She did not simply make sure I satisfied my degree requirements, but rather individualized her suggestions and tailored them to my desired academic/career path.”

Dr. Foltz has developed a reputation for excellent mentorship in one of the most student-centered departments on campus. Excellent classroom teaching is wonderful, but it is often a distant second to the power of individual relationships built through advising and mentorship. This work is often unseen by the world despite being essential for students’ short- and long-term success. She does this work with skill and kindness, which is exactly what all students need.

Her “advising philosophy can be summed up simply: an advisor should help students to discover and achieve both their potential and goals.”

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Madison Rader
Student Honoree

I first met Madison Rader during her very first semester on campus. She was the one student in my introductory biology class who regularly stayed afterward to ask questions, not about class assignments or grades, but about topics that had piqued her curiosity. Her curiosity led me to ask whether she was interested in independent research, and it was at that point that she admitted she was interested in a project I’d recently started: the biodiversity of graveyards. She took her interest in cemetery ecosystems, combined it with her additional love of chemistry and designed a project uniquely her own.

Madison is a Radford native, the next-to-youngest of many siblings. While her educational experiences during the COVID pandemic left her feeling unengaged and isolated, she has jumped into college with both feet and is making the most she possibly can of it. She wrote and received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship as a rising sophomore to study the potential impacts of embalming chemicals on local water quality. Her local roots have turned out to be an advantage in her research – her family connections helped her to locate and gain access to appropriate cemeteries as well as find individuals willing to donate well-water samples for her study. Madison has taken every opportunity offered her and excelled in each endeavor, using her quiet self-motivation to explore every angle without prompting and never complaining about long hours or unexpected results. She has an insightful scientific mind, a bright future ahead of her, and all the tools she needs to get there. 

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Katie Clouse

Katherine Hilden Clouse, Ph.D., Professor, School of Teacher Education and Leadership
Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Hilden Clouse puts her students and the university, before her own needs.  She is a servant leader through and through, and the breadth, depth and consistency of her service at Radford University (RU) and beyond is outstanding. “I can only imagine how many lives she has touched, indirectly, through her service. Our programs and greater university have benefitted from Katie's service, knowledge, confidence and joy.”

“In every role in which she serves, Dr. Clouse knows what RU is all about: the success of our students. This focus is where I believe she finds the energy to serve tirelessly and without ego whenever she has been called upon. It has been my absolute privilege and honor to work with her. She has made me, and others with whom she works, better in every phase of our work.”

Progress, Not Perfection is Dr. Clouse’s motto. Progress takes time and is often incremental. It is the hard work we put in every day, sometimes over the years, which results in progress.

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Lisa Allen
Student Honoree

This is Lisa Allen’s 31st year as a teacher. She’s taught music education in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Lisa earned her M.S. in Educational Leadership in the spring of 2022. She began earning her M.S. in Literacy Education in summer of 2023. When asked what sparked her to pursue a second master’s degree, she said, “Knowing how important it is for me as an Educational Leader to also be an instructional coach, I knew that pursuing my masters in Literacy Education was the next logical step, especially with the passing of the Virginia Literacy Act.”  Lisa is one of those teachers who loves what she does, she models what it means to be a lifelong learner, “I love to learn and I love to teach students to learn.” She lives this attitude each week in class. Her questions are endless, as is her positive attitude, and willingness to grow.  

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Tay Tan

Tay Keong Tan, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science
Distinguished Creative Scholar Award

Over the course of his career—and continuing to this very day—Dr. Tay Keong Tan has “a sustained record of outstanding creative contributions to the academic discipline.”

He has benefited our university community as it aligns with student-focused teaching and the application of professional practice and interests in the field of international development, while also leveraging a network of international partners.

Dr. Tan is known for providing transformative experiences that have changed the trajectories of students’ lives and he believes one of the most gratifying experiences as an educator is challenging faculty-student collaboration in team-based, research-intensive projects and presentations that meet a real-world need. 

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Riley Petroski
Student Honoree

Political Science major Riley Petroski is a creative researcher and outstanding orator. She has successfully completed research projects with programs ranging from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship to the Accelerated Research Opportunities, and several independent studies. She has been actively involved in student organizations, the Wicked Society, Mock Trial Team, and Model United Nations Club, serving as an executive committee member in all of them. In my Leadership Capstone, Demystifying Leadership, she has been a model student in all class meetings.

Riley Petroski came from a challenging family background, as a first-generation college student with roots in Central and Southwest Virginia. She exhibits and truly exemplifies Radford University’s Core Values of Innovation and Intellectual Freedom, by her deliberate and distinguished work in research and academic presentations. In the pursuit of the projects under my supervision, she has always been open to new challenges, has the willingness to innovate, try new things and be not afraid to fail.

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Heather Keith

Heather Keith, Ph.D.
Anna Lee Stewart for Contribution to Faculty Development Award

In nearly two decades at Radford University and ten years working to support all of campus, it is obvious that Dr. Heather Keith stands out as an awesome administrator. She creates an inclusive, supportive faculty-centered environment that faculty enjoy and thrive in. 

Dr. Keith has been nothing short of transformative for Radford University in her service as the Executive Director of Faculty Development and providing leadership to the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL).

Her work in faculty development and collaboration with colleagues across the university follows her teaching philosophy: that equity and empathy are the foundations of good teaching and faculty development.

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Madison Canterbury
Student Honoree

Madison Canterbury, a sophomore from Warrenton, VA, has made numerous and important connections in her short time thus far at Radford University.  She is an Elementary Education major with plans to teach and eventually earn a doctoral degree in order to support schools as an administrator and leader.  In addition to being on the Dean's List, she is the Elevate Research co-teacher for an honors section of Wicked Problems, and continues to hone her own exceptional collaborative, leadership, and problem-solving skills.  She did this last summer as an intern with the PATH Foundation in Fauquier County, working with the Afro-American Historic Foundation on the preservation of historical documents and in giving guided tours.  It is an honor to share this award with Madison.

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Avraham Boruchowitz

Mr. Avraham Boruchowitz
Administrative and Professional Excellence Award

Without a doubt, Mr. Avraham Boruchowitz is an unsung hero for Radford University. He and his limited office staff are tasked with helping our university meet federal, state, and local regulations for all manner of both personal and Environmental Health and Safety.

Mr. Boruchowitz has consistently demonstrated his commitment to supporting the university and our students. He always communicates with good humor, offers much appreciation, flexibility, and willingly supports student needs. His support has provided priceless service while contributing to student success.

By facilitating a culture presenting necessary, concise information with well thought out ideas he takes into account a desire to not overburden faculty. He is always receptive to feedback and has personally jumped in on many occasions to help complete necessary tasks in many research spaces.

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Madison Burtner
Student Honoree

Madison Burtner grew up in the small town of Berryville, Virginia. She was homeschooled alongside seven siblings. She worked hard academically and was also able to dedicate time to activities and opportunities that helped her develop in other aspects of her life including Taekwondo. She was able to involve herself in her community and take on unique leadership roles.

Madison is a junior Interior Design major and is very passionate about her chosen area of study. She believes that the built environment should be beautiful, functional, and sustainable. Design allows her an avenue to express creativity while developing her critical thinking skills. Madison is dedicated to expanding her academic experience through membership with the honors college and is further developing leadership skills through her role as a peer instructor.

One of her professors wrote when describing Madison: “Her work is always some of the best produced in the studios…She is outstanding at developing a concept and using the principles and elements of design to achieve that concept to create a unique experience for the users of the space. She was always a delight to have in class and works extremely well with others. She is hardworking, dependable, and positive.”