Around WakeTech

College Recognizes Student, Faculty and Staff Excellence

RALEIGH, N.C. (April 26, 2021) - Wake Tech is pleased to announce this year’s faculty, staff and student recipients of the college’s Excellence Awards.

Twenty faculty and staff members were awarded for their service and dedication. Six students received Academic Excellence awards. The Excellence Awards are sponsored annually by the Wake Tech Foundation, which receives and administers private sector funds for scholarships and college programs.

Because of COVID-19, Wake Tech was unable to host an in-person Excellence Awards event. Instead, the college recognized award recipients with a virtual celebration and delivery of flowers, a gourmet snack box, and a plaque to their homes including a personal note from Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls and Matt Smith, Vice President of Development and Strategic Partnerships, thanking them for their hard work and dedication to the college. All recipients also gift a cash award.

In addition, the Instructor of the Year, Adjunct Instructor of the Year, Staff Member of the Year, Student of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year received a cake, balloon bouquet and trophy delivery.

Six students received Academic Excellence Awards:

  • Hope Young, Applied Engineering & Technologies 
  • Brenda Pianigiani, Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences 
  • Ruben Arrieta Mendoza, Business & Public Services Technologies 
  • Karsen Tutor, Health Sciences 
  • Chloe Saito, Information Technology 
  • Abdul-Rahman Sweilam, Mathematics, Sciences & Engineering  

Eight faculty members received the Excellence in Teaching Award:

  • Marcia Toms, Academic Success & Transition Resources 
  • Patricia Mills, Applied Engineering & Technologies 
  • Robert Mayhew, Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences 
  • Jeff Myers, Business & Public Services Technologies 
  • Francine Sack, Health Sciences 
  • Chad McKenzie, Information Technology 
  • Tracy Cheatham, Mathematics, Sciences & Engineering 
  • Paul Drosnes, College and Career Readiness 

Four adjunct faculty members received the Excellence in Teaching Award:

  • Zach Taylor, Applied Engineering & Technologies
  • Cristine Kardas, Mathematics, Sciences & Engineering
  • Heather Lisk, Health Sciences
  • Doug Foster, Information Technology 

Benita Clark, Human Resources and College Safety, received the Excellence in Executive Leadership Award.

Four staff members received Excellence in Leadership Awards:

  • Sara Holmes, College Development 
  • Amy MacDonald, Effectiveness and Innovation 
  • Korrie Blanchard Smith, Student Services 
  • Melanie Thomas, Curriculum Education Services 

Three staff members received Excellence in Service Awards:

  • Laveda Joseph, Student Services 
  • Jessica Johnson, Student Services 
  • Stewart Lessard, Information Technology 

Five winners were given special awards. Chad McKenzie was named Wake Tech’s Instructor of the Year and Amy McDonald was named Staff Member of the Year. They will represent Wake Tech at the statewide NCCCS Excellence Competition. Cristine Kardas was the Adjunct Teacher of the Year. Student Government Association president Reuben Arrieta Mendoza was named the 2021 Dwight O. Ryan Outstanding Student of the Year. Marcos Elliot, a math tutor for College and Career Readiness students, received the Volunteer of the Year Award.