NSU announces 2023 Circle of Excellence recipients
Northeastern State University Announces 2023 Circle of Excellence Recipients
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Northeastern State University has announced the 2023 Circle of Excellence award honorees.
Each year, NSU faculty members are nominated by their peers in one of three categories: teaching, research and service. A selection committee of past honorees choose one nominee in each category for this recognition.
The 2023 Circle of Excellence award honoree for Research is Dr. Cammi Valdez. Valdez is an assistant professor of chemistry, a vascular biologist and champion of making STEM education accessible. As a Latina scientist, she is an advocate for empowering and advancing women, first generation students and people of color in STEM programs. Her research in vascular biology has been published in numerous journals including The American Journal of Pathology as well as Current Diabetes Report. Beginning in 2015, she has served as a member of the Harvard Graduate School Alumni Council and in 2020 she became a trustee for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Foundation. Valdez received a bachelor’s in professional chemistry and a bachelor’s in mathematics from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She earned her Ph.D. in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University.
The 2023 Circle of Excellence award honoree for Teaching is Dr. Sherry Been. Been is an associate professor in curriculum and instruction at NSU and is proud to serve as the elementary education program chair. She has taught in rural and urban Oklahoma public schools working with early childhood and elementary children. Her research interests include teacher professional identity, literacy, human rights, early childhood and elementary teaching issues. In her free time, Been volunteers on the Community Action Project Board, supports Holocaust educators and participates in multiple book groups.
The 2023 Circle of Excellence award honoree for Service is Dr. Dianne Kirk. Kirk is an assistant professor and director of the medical laboratory science program. She has taught for over 20 years in laboratory science, the last nine years at NSU. She holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in molecular biology from the University of Akron. Kirk serves on multiple committees at NSU, encompassing the areas of quality education, research and student support. Additionally, she participates in youth workshops and groups to promote STEM in the community. She is the Biologic Science Committee representative for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma STEM initiative in addition to serving the Oklahoma organization of the Boy Scouts. Through her many efforts in service, she was bestowed the Presidential Volunteer Gold Service Award for donating over 500 service hours in 2022. She was also awarded the Lifetime Presidential Volunteer Service Award for contributing over 5,000 service hours to the community.
Each faculty honoree of the Circle of Excellence Award receives $2,500, a medallion and a plaque. The Office of the President, the Office of Academic Affairs and the NSU Foundation provide support for this award.
Dr. Cammi Valdez
Dr. Sherry Been
Dr. Dianne Kirk