Commencement Award Recipients 2020

Congratulations to our 2020 Duquesne University School of Education undergraduate, graduate, and alumni award winners! Our award winners are selected annually by a School of Education faculty committee who review their work and contributions in education - both inside and outside the classroom. These recipients have been chosen for their outstanding scholarship, leadership, and service in education aligned to Duquesne University's Spiritan Tradition of Caring.

School of Education Undergraduate Leading Teacher Program (LTP) Excellence Award

Elizabeth Morris

Elizabeth MorrisJust days away from graduating with a B.S.Ed. Middle Level Education degree and Reading Specialist Certificate, Elizabeth Morris reflected on the moment when she knew she wanted to be a teacher...the moment she stepped into the classroom. This was her freshman year as that's when the field experience starts at Duquesne's School of Education. Throughout her time at Duquesne, Elizabeth has excelled academically, represented Duquesne as a coach and top competitor on the University's Cross Country Team, and served many organizations such as Strong Women Strong Girls; the Collegiate Middle Level Association; the Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society; and the Bucks County YMCA.

At Strong Women Strong Girls, Elizabeth worked to enhance organizational programming and foster self-esteem and positive female role models in society. Elizabeth completed her student teaching experience at Mellon Middle School in Mt. Lebanon School District where she created and finessed lesson plans each day with her "amazing 7th graders." Upon graduation, Elizabeth is excited to pursue her goal of having her very own classroom as a teacher in Pittsburgh. Elizabeth notes, "The Duquesne School of Education staff and organizations gave me the essential tools I needed to work towards becoming the best educator I can be. I, honestly, would not trade a single moment of my time at Duquesne."

School of Education Distinguished Graduate Student Award

Matthew Nice

Matthew NiceMatthew Nice's commitment to making a difference in the lives of others led him to pursue the field of School Counseling as his work aims to help youth with college readiness and their path to self-discovery. While at Duquesne, Matt led his fellow students and colleagues as President of Duquesne's Chi Sigma IOTA (CSI) chapter, a professional counseling organization, where he strengthened and enhanced the organization's impact and reputation. CSI provides graduate counseling education students at Duquesne with resources and opportunities in the counseling field for the boards, competency exams, social justice panels, and networking. As a leader, Matthew believes in empowering through giving people agency; he states that "students are more inclined to be involved and more motivated when they have a hand in creating." Matthew's ability to lead and organize resulted in Duquesne's School of Education receiving CSI's Outstanding Chapter Award amongst 500 chapters, and to being recognized as the most decorated chapter in the country.

While at pursuing his Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision at Duquesne, Matthew served as Assistant to the Chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Board Chairperson and co-authored several publications with School of Education faculty. Matt has recently defended his dissertation which focused on the cultural identity salience, individuation from parents, and life satisfaction of emerging adults. Matt's research and publication record has focused on the college knowledge and self-efficacy of secondary school counselors. This August, Matt will begin his new position as a tenure-track assistant professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania's (IUP) counseling program.

School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award

Christian Wrabley

Matthew NiceAs a 8th grade civics teacher and 10th grade American history teacher at Greater Johnstown High School of Pennsylvania, Duquesne alumnus Christian Wrabley's heart lies at the center of his teaching. Christian is dedicated to the educational development and personal growth of each student. He relates teaching to coaching. As a varsity football coach at his alma mater Richland School District and as a teacher at Greater Johnston High School, he "loves the growth that he sees with students," helping them "tap into their skills."

The students in his classroom come to class with unique and diverse challenges, and he is inspired by their resilience. Those who have supervised and worked along aside Christian note his genuine care for each individual student as he provides the structure, opportunity, mentoring, and care to meet each individual where they are at, help them with what they are experiencing, and then guide them to excel way beyond expectations.

Christian brings inspirational figures to his classroom, welcoming guests such as U.S. congressmen, PA state representatives & senators, journalists from Germany and Pakistan, as well as leaders of charities and other local persons who have valuable stories to share. With this, he adds the goals and strategies of real-life careers to his lesson plans. Though humble, his impact has been noted as he has been featured on ABC News Live with Deb Roberts, and selected to represent the state of Pennsylvania at the C-SPAN Educators' Conference for his work within his classroom. On a broader scale, Christian has advocated for eliminating poverty, creating strategic partnerships for the success of his students, and introducing unique learning opportunities to engage students in their educational journey.