group photo of 2023 Academic Mentor Award winners

Eight AU faculty/staff members recognized with Academic Mentor Award

Published on Feb. 15, 2023
Human Resources

ASHLAND, Ohio – Eight Ashland University faculty and staff members were honored during the 2023 Academic Mentor Awards ceremony held Jan. 27 at the John C. Myers Convocation Center. The annual program recognizes AU mentors who significantly affect a student’s life beyond the classroom by serving as a role model, trusted advisor and guide.

This year’s Mentor Awards were presented to Neely Fisher-Powell, coordinator of field placements at the Elyria Center; Kristen Hovsepian, assistant professor of marketing; Terri Jewett, professional instructor in education; Liz Keller, director of student activities; Erik Kormos, assistant professor in educational administration; Heather Krupa, business operations coordinator for enrollment management and marketing; Greg McBrayer, associate professor in political science; and  Deborah McDaniel; adjunct instructor in teacher education.

Fisher-Powell was nominated by Alli Schill for her commitment “to make sure every person is successful not only in their education but their lives as a whole” and for going “above and beyond for every student.”

Hovsepian has been a full-time faculty member at AU since 1981. Her areas of specialty include marketing and international business, and she created the AU business internship program in 1985. Among her many accomplishments, she has led an international marketing competition for nearly three decades, started the AU Students in Free Enterprise program in 1991 and founded the company Ohio Book Fairs, which was sold to Scholastic and became Scholastic Book Fairs. Hovsepian was nominated by two students, Jacob Hoffman and Natalie Restille. Hoffman praised her for “always asking the why,” which has allowed him to look past the initial details and take things a step further, while Restille is thankful Hovsepian “pushed each of her students to do their best and to not be afraid to take risks.”

Jewett has been with AU since 2007. She teaches literacy courses and serves as an advisor for two different organizations. Sarah Drees nominated Jewett for inspiring her “to become an amazing educator” by “constantly looking for new ways to engage her students and encouraging them by stepping away from the traditional lecturing.”

Keller, who received her M.Ed. in adult and continuing education administration from AU last May, was recently promoted to director of student activities after three years as a residence life coordinator. Jennifer Stahl nominated Keller for her constant support and specifically for teaching her “to advocate for (herself) when it came to education,” as well as “in everyday situations.”

Kormos, a member of the AU faculty since 2019, teaches undergraduate and graduate educational technology, social studies methods and communication courses. His research interests include educator usage and perceptions of technology, school settings and the digital divide, assessment in online learning and international education. Hind Haddad called Kormos “the role model we need in our world for teachers, instructors and professors” and labeled him as an “example of a mentor who overcomes the barriers between different cultures to help students achieve the best they can, regardless of their backgrounds.”

Krupa, who previously worked in the president’s office before moving to the enrollment and marketing department, has been an AU staff member since 2019. She was nominated by Hannah Fricke who described Krupas as “the type of person that every institution should be trying to hire” because “she pushed me to be my best … and believed in me when I wasn’t even sure if I believed in myself.”

McBrayer serves as director of core curriculum, in addition to being an associate professor of political science. He has been at AU since 2017 and teaches courses in political philosophy and international relations. Ardith Amon recommended McBrayer for this honor for his steady care and support, writing “I would not be the student or the person I am today without (his) guidance and unwavering confidence in my ability to succeed.”

McDaniel, who holds a bachelor’s degree in education and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from AU, was nominated by Hannah Mabry for her “plethora of advice and guidance.” She is also grateful for boosting her confidence, adding “Before meeting her, I was wondering if I should even become a teacher. I came into class feeling so defeated about teaching. She not only supported and encouraged me, but she helped me believe I could be a great teacher.”

The award-winning mentors were each presented with an engraved silver plate. Nominations were submitted by students via one-page essays and selections were made by the members of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. The AU Academic Mentor Award was first established in 1986.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.