John G. LaBrie, dean of the School of Professional Studies (SPS) and associate provost for professional education, has announced the recipients of this year’s awards for outstanding SPS graduate students and faculty. “It is my pleasure to recognize these exceptional students and faculty for their contributions to Clark and our community,” he said.
Carly Massino ’20, MPA ’21, received the Laura Myers Community Service award. Given in honor of Dr. Laura Myers and her deep commitment to community advocacy and service to Clark, the award honors an SPS graduate student who made contributions to their community through their time, actions, talents, and dedication throughout the course of their program. These contributions are outside any volunteer work done on behalf of an employer or any internship/capstone project. The honoree serves as a role model for Clark’s mission to make the world a better place.
After graduating from Clark with a double major in sociology and psychology, Massino received her master’s in public administration through the fifth-year program. She worked for SPS as a teaching assistant for the Master of Public Administration Senior Leadership Capstone and Research Methods and Strategies course, and the MPA Organizational Behavior and Leadership course. She also was a student representative on Clark’s Community Affairs and Social Responsibility Committee, and volunteered with Pernet Family Health Service, Inc.
The Fern Johnson Award is presented to an Accelerated Degree Program fifth-year student who has excelled in academics and served as a positive influence for their fellow students and the Clark community at large. This year’s recipient is Hannah Brier ’20, MPA ’21.
Originally from South Portland, Maine, Brier received a bachelor’s in both community, youth and education studies and theatre arts and a master’s in public administration through the Accelerated Degree Program. While at Clark, Brier started and helped lead Main IDEA, was an admissions ambassador, worked as a campus visit coordinator for admissions, and was inducted into the Alpha Epsilon Lambda Honor Society. Grateful for all of the support she has received from SPS staff and faculty, Brier hopes to work in the nonprofit field.
Founded to recognize academic and leadership accomplishments of graduate and professional school students, the mission of the Alpha Epsilon Lambda Honor Society is to confer distinction for high achievement, promote leadership development and scholarship, encourage intellectual development, enrich the intellectual environment of graduate education institutions, and encourage high standards of ethical behavior.
This year’s SPS Alpha Epsilon Lambda inductees are: Marwa Alnaal, Che Anderson, Allison Bach, Cyndy Carboo, Elyssa Clairmont, Lindsay Corcoran, David Craig, Michaela Davies, Edgar Diengdoh Pyrtuh, Daniel Donahue, Alison Everett, Hoween Flexer, Molly Gammon, Lisa Gillingham, Sachin Hegde, Suzanne Henderson, Tinkle Jain, Srinithya Varma Kakarlapudi, Robyn Kennedy, Xuxin Lang, Effy Larkin, Caitlin Louie, Jordan Lumpkins, John Martin, Emma Narkewicz, Laura Paladino, James Palmerino, Savya Rawat, Adam Roche, Deborah Ruggiero, Tej Bahadur Saru, Jainee Shah, Harshita Sharma, Yan Shi, Praveg Shrestha, Eliza Sorenson, David Sullivan, Davina Tomlin, Catalin Veghes, Wantian Wang, Rose Wine, and Ting Yuan.
SPS students Hoween Flexer, MPA ’21, Lindsay Corcoran, MSC ’21, Tej Bahadur Saru, MSIT ’21, and Harshita Sharma, MSDA ’21, were also recognized for earning the highest GPA in their respective master’s degree programs.
Flexer is currently the senior director of regional services at the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, where she works on comprehensive economic development strategy, the human services coordinating council, COVID recovery, and various transportation, social services, and veterans outreach initiatives. An active member of her community, Flexer has served on the Killingly, Connecticut Board of Education for 11 years and looks forward to continuing her advocacy and empowering the disenfranchised in her community.
After graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in journalism from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 2009, Corcoran worked as a reporter and assistant editor at various media outlets throughout Central Massachusetts. She joined the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office five years ago and is currently the deputy communication director.
Originally from Nepal, where he earned a bachelor’s in computer science and information technology, Saru realized that a master’s degree from Clark would help advance his career in our growing tech-enhanced world. He is thrilled to be part of Clark and is grateful for the support the University has extended to him.
Sharma became interested in artificial intelligence and data analysis after receiving her undergraduate degree in computer science and engineering, and decided to pursue a master’s degree in data analytics at Clark. She worked as an assistant at the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), helping other international students navigate their Clark journey, and has worked at JVK Solutions.
Three SPS faculty members also received awards, based upon votes by their students.
Kerry Morris earned the Fiat Lux award, given to a faculty member who has taught for fewer than six semesters and is recognized as an up-and-coming teacher with great promise, and who is open to new ideas and approaches to teaching. Most of all, this person shows great enthusiasm for students and teaching, and has a bright future in higher education.
Morris joined SPS as an adjunct professor in May 2020, teaching both Issues and Cases, and Multifaceted Communication in the Public Sector — a special topic course she developed and launched this spring. Morris has more than 10 years of experience in regulatory compliance, public safety, and program management. She has worked in various roles involving legislative affairs, transportation management, auditing and finance, and currently serves as the damage prevention program manager in the Pipeline Safety Division at the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.
The Jonas Gilman Award for Outstanding Teaching, presented to a faculty member for their teaching effectiveness and creativity, went to Professor Julie Frechette. The award winner demonstrates effective skills in managing the art and craft of teaching, engages in activities to improve their teaching, and explores alternative methods of pedagogy.
An SPS professor since 2008, Frechette brings a passion for teaching diverse graduate students about new media and their social, political, and persuasive impact in the digital world. She helps her students gain skills in social media and media production, while also teaching them about the ways digital media shape and define human interactivity. Frechette is known for keeping her classes timely and engaging by integrating her research and scholarship into her teaching, and has been praised by Clark students for her caring approach — challenging them to reach their fullest potential.
Maura Webster received the Semita Vitae (Path of Life) Award, which recognizes a faculty member who has proven to be an extraordinarily conscientious, supportive, and inspiring mentor to advisees. Recipients of this award help students process information, refine decision-making and problem-solving skills, take responsibility, and evaluate and enhance academic strengths and weaknesses.
Webster’s background includes account management for a private public relations firm, nonprofit communications, government, and public service, and a growing software company’s marketing team. She is the founder, CEO, and chief strategist of LillaBlu Strategies, a boutique marketing company focused on authentic marketing that empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners to engage with their audiences more meaningfully. Webster’s marketing approach combines consulting and implementation with coaching and mentorship so all entrepreneurs have the knowledge, skills, and ability to grow their business and manage marketing team assets successfully.