Past Recipients

2014 Awardees

Ms. Tiffany DiMatteo

Tiffany DiMatteo teaches English at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was nominated by David Hunt, who was graduating from Drexel’s LeBow College of Business. Ms. DiMatteo inspires her students to question—to question literature, existence, themselves. She shows them how their own stories affect the perspective they bring to their reading. Her classes are known to feature students acting out books, and talking about how the books correlate with their own experiences. She demands that students expect greatness from themselves, and step outside their comfort zones. She is nurturing, but also challenging. David specifically noted that she encouraged him to stay on top of his studies despite persistent health problems that affected his high school career. David’s nominating letter compared Ms. DiMatteo to the system of pressure and heat that turns carbon into diamonds.

Mr. William McRae

William McRae teaches social studies at Springfield High School in Springfield, Pennsylvania. He was nominated by Cory Czuczman, who graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences. Cory first encountered Mr. McRae as a freshman, when he was accidentally placed into a Criminal and Civil Law class with a room of upperclassmen. He stayed in the class, drawn in by Mr. McRae’s storytelling and critical analysis. Mr. McRae’s teaching encourages students to go deeper into the subject, to find out “why” things are the way they are. Students learn to question unjust laws and practices, and become a part of the body politic. His office is always open for further discussion. Cory’s nominating letter credited Mr. McRae with sparking his interest in civic activity, which led to Cory’s involvement with Drexel’s Center for Civic Engagement. He also recalled a quotation on Mr. McRae’s classroom wall: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”

Mr. Mark Piotrowski

Mark Piotrowski is a technology and engineering education teacher at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. He was nominated by Sylvia Herbert, who graduated from the College of Engineering. Mr. Piotrowski opens up technology and engineering as options for students who might never have considered them. He provides a supportive atmosphere that encourages his students to explore. He gives tirelessly of his own time, both to help students and to advocate for STEM education. He is currently president of the Technology and Engineering Education Association of Pennsylvania. Sylvia’s nominating letter recalled her discomfort at being one of just two young women in Mr. Piotrowski’s introductory course. Her instinct was to try to switch classes, but instead she was won over by his passion for the subject and the case he made for engineering as a career. She built an impressive array of technology-focused activities, and today she stands on the precipice of an engineering career. All thanks to Mark Piotrowski.

Ms. Missy Reimer

Missy Reimer taught at The Kings Christian High School in Cherry Hill, N.J., where one of her students was Donna Rugh, who graduated from the College of Nursing and Health Professions. But that was 23 years ago.The lessons that Ms. Reimer taught have stuck with her students that long. Lessons about why it’s critical to learn science … how to get the most out of yourself in a sport like field hockey, which she coached … what to do as a leader, in her role as student council adviser. And she taught her students another lesson when she took a leap of faith, and answered the call to become a missionary. The people Ms. Reimer touched remembered everything she gave them, and they tried to repay the favor when Ms. Reimer was diagnosed with a serious illness last fall. Even faced with the ultimate challenge, she remains an inspiration to those who know her. Donna’s nominating letter said that Ms. Reimer deserves to be recognized for proving that education is a labor of love, and a work of art.

2013 Awardees

Mr. Richard Cohen

Stephen Grosso is a technology teacher at Bok Technical High School in Philadelphia. When he was previously at Swenson Arts and Technology High School, he taught Kevin Hill, who graduated from the College of Engineering and nominated Mr. Grosso. Kevin wrote at length about how Mr. Grosso’s teaching helped him find the career path that led him to study Computer Engineering. During a fruitful three-year relationship, Mr. Grosso connected Kevin to incredible opportunities including paid experience maintaining the network in his school, professional certifications in the computer field, and college coursework and credits. Kevin wrote of Mr. Grosso, “He did all in his power to help me out, and he definitely is the sole reason I am where I am today.”

Ms. Sharon Cornwall

Shannon Carriere is a business educator at Fair Lawn High School in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. She was nominated by Bradley Ericson, who is a graduate of the LeBow College of Business. Bradley is an extremely successful young man, named Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009. And he says that it all began with Ms. Carriere. He describes an engaging teacher who built a genuine professional relationship with her students, and was in the forefront of using technology in the classroom. “Most importantly,” Bradley wrote, “Shannon instilled a confidence in a young 15-year-old boy that remains with me today. I have had good fortune to have Shannon in my life.”

Ms. Rosalyn Ericson

Sam Palumbo is an English teacher at New Egypt High School in New Egypt, New Jersey. He was nominated by Kristen Stratton, who is a graduate of the School of Education. Kristen describes a teacher who not only challenged his students, but offered them a critical skill for dealing with life’s problems—the skill of self-expression. Mr. Palumbo inspired Kristen to find a voice to write about her experiences, and supported her in some very difficult circumstances. Kristen wrote, “I thank Mr. Palumbo for being the best example of an extraordinary educator whose kindness and passion for learning served as a light to me in a very dark time in my life. Five years later, I’m excited to start my own career as a teacher.”

Ms. Jane Morgan

Julia Brandt is a biology teacher at Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School in Port Washington, New York. She was nominated by Nathan Schiff, who graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences. Nathan describes Ms. Brandt as an inspiring teacher who sparked his curiosity and taught him great study habits. But he also calls her a mentor, who challenged students to consider the views of others, and covered the walls of her classroom with art and messages communicating her passions. Nathan wrote, “Ms. Brandt showed me how I, too, could care for the world, and instilled in me the importance of doing so.”

2012 Awardees

Mr. Richard Cohen

Mr. Richard Cohen, formerly a commercial art instructor at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, was nominated by Howard Jeffers, a graduating architecture student in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, for balancing an unmatched work ethic with a casual approach that made the art studio a home away from home for students. Howard wrote of Mr. Cohen, “His studio environment fostered free expression, diversity, appreciation, collaboration, and creativity. Every student looked forward to those 50 minutes. In there, nothing mattered but the art, music, teacher, and students. Mr. Cohen instilled the extra drive that enabled me to cross the bridge from wanting success to working for success.”

Ms. Sharon Cornwall

Ms. Sharon Cornwall, a science teacher and head of the science department at Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls in Philadelphia, was nominated by Cathleen Kerr, a graduating senior from the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, for encouraging students to challenge themselves, and for taking a keen interest in her students’ personal and career development. Cathleen wrote of Ms. Cornwall, “As a teacher in a single-gender school, she wanted to show her students all of the opportunities that women have in the world, including technical and scientific career fields that needed more women. It was because of Mrs. Cornwall that I realized my interest in biomedical engineering.”

Ms. Rosalyn Ericson

Ms. Rosalyn Ericson, a biology teacher at Moorestown High School in New Jersey, was nominated by Robert Tuttle, a biology major graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences, for her deep personal commitment to challenging her students and making sure that they fully understand complex concepts, no matter what it takes. Robert wrote of Ms. Ericson, “Never have I seen a teacher devote as much time and energy to a class as Ms. Ericson. I have always wanted to be a scientist, but I had no idea that I wanted to be a teacher until I was in Ms. Ericson’s class.”

Ms. Jane Morgan

Ms. Jane Morgan, a business teacher at Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel, N.J., was nominated by Adrienne Alquiros, a graduating LeBow College of Business senior, for helping high school students learn the fundamentals of accounting in great depth, and opening their eyes to accounting as a career. Adrienne wrote of Ms. Morgan, “I vividly remember her explaining to me that ‘accounting is the language of business.’ I thank her for giving me direction and exposing me to what I believe is one of the most important fields of business.”

2011 Awardees

Ms. Melissa Parr

Ms. Melissa Parr, an Architectural and Engineering Design teacher at Clearview Regional High School in Mullica Hill, New Jersey was nominated by Danielle Castley, a mechanical engineering major who is graduating from the College of Engineering for teaching her the importance of engineering student organizations, experiential education, and mentoring. “Due to her encouragement, I founded the Technology Student Association at my high school. Her passion for education was apparent every day when she brought enthusiasm and practical knowledge into the classroom. My diverse career and extracurricular experiences would not have been possible without Ms. Parr’s preparation.”

Ms. Lois Tyburski

Ms. Lois Tyburski, a Biology teacher at Villa Joseph Marie High School in Holland, Pennsylvania was nominated by Caitlin Harvey, a culinary science major, who is graduating from the Goodwin College of Professional Studies for acknowledging the efforts of students in meaningful ways. She was an inspiration by simply doing what she loves: teaching. She organized and sponsored many field trips to encourage learning outside of the classroom. Her goal as a teacher was to motivate, inspire, and challenge every student who walked through her classroom doors. I, along with many of the other students who graduated from Villa Joseph Marie feel that she not only fulfills that goal, but surpasses it.

Ms. Joy Vander Vliet

Ms. Joy Vander Vliet, an English teacher at Council Rock North High School in Newtown, Pennsylvania was nominated by Emily Pugh, a nursing major who is graduating from the College of Nursing & Health Professions for fostering a love of reading and writing in her classroom. She is an outstanding teacher who served as a true role model. “She encouraged me to follow my other passion and become a nurse.” She served as my mentor encouraging me to always love the written word, appreciate the value of education, and to believe in myself and my abilities.

Ms. Bethany Van Veldhuizen

Ms. Bethany Van Veldhuizen, a Math teacher at Phil-Mont Christian Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was nominated by Andrea Gould, an entertainment and arts management major who is graduating from the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design for playing a key role in students’ personal development and college/career preparation. “Ms. Van Veldhuizen helped me to prepare for the SATs after school, offered guidance and support, and most importantly, “saw my potential and invested time in me.”

2010 Awardees

Ms. Cathi Bertrand

Ms. Cathi Bertrand, a life skills teacher at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania, a coeducational home and school for children, was nominated by Mason Langguth, a sociology major, in the College of Arts & Sciences for teaching him the importance of discipline, integrity, and responsibility. According to Mason, “Ms. Bertrand embodies the spirit of the Harold W. Pote Award. I lived at the Milton Hersey School since age seven. Ms. Bertrand guided me in all aspects of my life. She and her family are considered my family today because of her kindness and genuine interest in my life. Throughout my high school years, Ms. Bertrand emphasized the importance of community service for its sole purpose in serving others and not for personal accolades or recognition.”

Ms. Lori Remmel

Ms. Lori Remmel, a photography and graphic arts teacher at Tamaqua High School in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania was nominated by Eric Hillegass, a film and video major in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Eric praised Ms. Remmel for inspiring her students to find artistic and inventive ways to 'think outside the box.' He noted, “As I approached my high school graduation, I found myself keeping Ms. Remmel at the end of class to talk about my future. Her insights led me to follow my passion for art, more specifically film and video. My small high school did not offer film electives so Ms. Remmel assisted me in organizing a film club and establishing an annual student film festival. In essence, Ms. Remmel helped me to pursue my dream, which is now on the verge of realization. Due to her relentless encouragement, I have a job in the television industry post-graduation.”

Mr. Jeffrey Hagy

Mr. Jeffrey Hagy, a biology teacher at Corning-Painted Post East High School in Corning, New York was nominated by Alexis Bielski, a nursing major in the College of Nursing & Health Professions. Alexis said, “Mr. Hagy had become more than a teacher - he became a mentor." She wrote, "As a teacher, he recognized my genuine interest in biology and was consistently available for after class study sessions. Knowing my personal qualities quite well, he asked me if I had ever considered nursing as a career. Moreover, Mr. Hagy expanded my knowledge of the nursing profession and assisted me in my search for colleges to pursue nursing as a major. If it had not been for Mr. Hagy, I would not have found my place at Drexel in the nursing program. For this reason, I am very grateful to Mr. Hagy.”

Mr. Louis DiCesare

Mr. Louis DiCesare, a business education teacher at Irondequoit High School in Rochester, New York was nominated by Abby Dineen, a business administration major, who is graduating from the LeBow College of Business. Abby wrote how Mr. DiCesare's entrepreneurial spirit was an inspiration to her. She noted, “Mr. DiCesare is a leader, role model, and mentor who worked with me and other students in extracurricular activities such as DECA - A Student Association for Marketing & Business, LifeSmart, and Future Business Leaders. Mr. DiCesare also developed the Business Education Program at Irondequoit High School with now over 100 students. I would like to thank Mr. DiCesare for igniting my passion for business, teaching me to love learning, and for motivating me to reach, new and as yet undefined levels of success.”

2009 Awardees

Mr. Peter Sigmund

Mr. Peter Sigmund, an information technology teacher at La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania was nominated by Kevin Lutsch, a business administration major in the LeBow College of Business for recognizing the importance of experiential learning. Mr. Sigmund recognized that high school students could hone and develop their technology and people skills by participating in a technology lab manager program. “Mr. Sigmund embodies the spirit of the Harold W. Pote Award. He guided me to choose Drexel for its cooperative learning experiences, prepared me for the challenges of a collegiate education, and emphasized the importance of business principles.”

Mr. John Barham

Mr. John Barham, a chemistry teacher at Largo High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland was nominated by Toni Ramsay, a chemical engineering major in the College of Engineering. Toni Ramsay praised Mr. John Barham for having a genuine interest in her education. He spent countless hours with Toni explaining the various concepts and formulas to encourage her growing interest in chemistry. Mr. Barham also conveyed his love of teaching to Toni. “Mr. Barham greatly shaped my career goals, helped to change my dreams into accomplishments, and transformed me from a student into a teacher.”

Mr. Drew Calvo

Mr. Drew Calvo, a graphic arts and design teacher at Piscataway High School in Piscataway, New Jersey was nominated by Alyssa Hopkins, a nursing major in the College of Nursing & Health Professions. Alyssa Hopkins wrote how Mr. Calvo made a significant impact on her life both personally and professionally. As a teacher, he was welcoming and encouraging. Knowing her desire to be a nurse, Mr. Calvo encouraged Alyssa to study to become an EMT and assisted her in her efforts to succeed in this endeavor. “Mr. Calvo encouraged me to consider Drexel when I was applying to college as he had so many fond memories of his college experience at Drexel.”

Mr. Scott Hamsik

Mr. Scott Hamsik, a photography teacher at Winter Springs High School in Winter Springs, Florida was nominated by Jennifer Izzo, a communications major, who is graduating today from The College of Arts & Sciences. Jennifer Izzo wrote how Mr. Hamsik opened her eyes to the world of photography. Through Mr. Hamsik’s photography classes, Jennifer learned a passion for art and the value of constructive criticism. Lastly, she spoke about Mr. Hamsik’s constant support and encouragement.

2008 Awardees

Commander Eugene Isert

Commander Eugene Isert, a Naval Junior ROTC teacher at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, Florida was nominated by James Mazzuchelli, a commerce and engineering major, LeBow College of Business for teaching him the requisite leadership skills that he would need to be successful in life. Commander Isert has taught me many life lessons but the one that best exemplifies Commander Isert is; “The most effective leadership is by example.”

Mrs. Maureen Keppard-Pedlow

Mrs. Maureen Keppard-Pedlow, a Math teacher at Father Judge High School in Philadelphia, PA was nominated by Joseph Babiasz, an electrical engineering major, College of Engineering for having a profound influence on his future career choice as an engineer. She is an outstanding teacher because she teaches all her students; those who master the content easily and those who struggle. Her students never rest on their successes. Instead, they are expected to achieve far more than they ever thought possible.

Mrs. Eileen Marx

Mrs. Eileen Marx, a Journalism teacher at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, NJ, was nominated by Neha Yadav, a psychology major, College of Arts & Sciences for inspiring young men and women to appreciate all types of diversity, particularly, diversity of thinking. “Most importantly, as I graduate from Drexel, I remember Mrs. Marx’s strong belief in her students’ abilities, I feel extremely proud to know that I have been educated by this exemplary teacher.”

Mrs. Bonnie Neff

Mrs. Bonnie Neff, an English teacher at Hiram W. Johnson High School in Sacramento, California was nominated by Frederick Lucina, a nursing major, College of Nursing & Health Professions for serving as the parent and positive influence for many students who did not have an adult role model in their life. She does not allow students to accept their perceived weaknesses or insecurities and encourages them to excel despite adversity.

2007 Awardees

Dr. David Seward

Dr. David Seward, a Latin and Greek language teacher and College Counselor at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh, PA was nominated by Brea Heidelber, a business administration major with a concentration in international studies, for being a mentor as well as teaching Brea to love other cultures and languages. He also taught Brea to appreciate the importance of diversity.

Mr. Carl McBreen

Mr. Carl McBreen, Principal of Minersville Jr. /Sr. High School in Minersville, PA was nominated by Angela Borrell, a nursing major for believing in her and serving as the male role model in her life. When Angela began to neglect her studies in high school, Mr. McBreen encouraged her to take her studies seriously and pursue a college education.

Mr. Edward Mooney

Mr. Edward Mooney, an English teacher at Father Judge High School in Philadelphia, PA was nominated by Lawrence Katz, a computer science major for teaching him not only to appreciate literature, but in an all male school, to be an honorable man. Mr. Mooney recognized when he was getting into trouble after school and encouraged him to put his energies into an after school tutoring program. Through Mr. Mooney, he learned about the joy of helping others.

Mr. Richard Valerio

Mr. Richard Valerio, an English teacher at Washington Township High School in Sewell, NJ was nominated by Stephen Whitehead, an information systems major for having a profound influence on refining his writing skills, strengthening his vocabulary, and appreciating the classics. Stephen states, “I have an overwhelming appreciation for the effort that Mr. Valerio put forth in class to encourage students to have superior writing skills.”

2006 Awardees

Mr. Keith Desrosiers

Mr. Keith Desrosiers teaches math at Yes College Preparatory School in Houston, Texas. Mr. Desrosiers was nominated by Maria de Lourdes Rodriguez, a mechanical engineering major. Mr. Desrosiers encouraged Lourdes an ESL student and recent Mexican immigrant, to excel in math, apply to Yes College Preparatory School, apply to college, and participate in research.

Mr. Louis Martella

Mr. Louis Martella teaches science/physics at St. Basil’s Academy, Jenkintown, PA. Mr. Martella was nominated by Natalie Myers, a business administration major for going beyond the call of duty and coming to class each morning at 7:30 AM to assist Natalie.

Mr. Thomas Morro

Mr. Thomas Morro teaches Social Studies/ Advanced Government at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta, New Jersey. Mr. Morro was nominated by Justin Gear, a history and politics major for serving as a mentor and teaching him the value of education and discipline.

Mr. John McBride

Mr. John McBride teaches History/American Government at Kingsway Regional High School in Mullica Hill, New Jersey. Mr. McBride was nominated by Andrew Smith, an information systems major for teaching him to love history, take notes in class, and write a great college essay. Most importantly, Mr. McBride taught Andrew not to be afraid to pursue a higher level of difficulty in school.

Mrs. Susan Walsh

Mrs. Susan Walsh teaches English at Nazareth Area High School in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. She was nominated by Jennifer Cramer, a Radiology Technology major, for inspiring Jennifer to become a leader.


Tina Richardson, Ph.D.
Co-Chair, Harold W. Pote
Behind Every Graduate Award
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
School of Education

John E. Cooke
Co-Chair, Harold W. Pote
Behind Every Graduate Award
Associate Dean of Students
for Campus Engagement