The 2014 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award Winners

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award recognizes graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education; who demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others; and whose work reflects a strong emphasis on teaching and learning.

AAC&U is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award:

The Cross Scholars will be introduced to the AAC&U audience at the Opening Plenary of AAC&U's 2014 Annual Meeting, followed by their session on "Faculty of the Future." Brief profiles of the recipients are below.

A description of the Cross Award is available online, and the nomination process for the 2015 Award will begin in Spring 2014. A listing of Cross Scholars from previous years is available here.

abbott.pngELENA K. ABBOTT
History, Georgetown University (Ph.D. expected 2016)

B.A. in History, Occidental College

Elena K. Abbott is a doctoral candidate in History at Georgetown University. She studies the history of slavery, anti-slavery movements, and emancipation in the Atlantic world, and works with undergraduate students as a teaching assistant for courses that cover a wide variety of historical subjects. Elena is committed to encouraging students from diverse backgrounds and with divergent interests to critically engage the world and their own communities by exploring the rich history of human experiences. She endeavors to create classroom environments in which students can develop their potential for intellectual creativity and humane global citizenship, and she is dedicated to exploring new ways to inspire students to value and enjoy including humanities education in their undergraduate careers.

Central to her teaching philosophy is the belief that innovative technology can be brought into history classrooms to help advance scholarly skills, intellectual investment, and learning outcomes among increasingly computer-oriented, technologically savvy students.

After working closely with history faculty members and Georgetown University's Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship to identify the classroom objectives for a new general education curriculum, Elena developed interactive course websites to support and enrich the department's newly created courses. She continues to research and experiment with how usable, engaging technology can help translate pedagogical goals into students' increased engagement with their intellectual lives.

In 2013, she was honored with the Georgetown University History Department's Dorothy Brown Teaching Award in recognition for her work in the classroom.


hatteberg.jpgSARAH J. HATTEBERG
Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington (Ph.D. expected 2015)

M.A., Sociology, Indiana University Bloomington
B.A., Sociology, Anthropology, and Economics, Lake Forest College

Sarah Hatteberg is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University, Bloomington where she studies the mental health and well-being of student-athletes.  Specifically, her dissertation examines stress, coping, and social support processes among NCAA Division I collegiate athletes to determine which aspects of the student-athlete role are most stressful and to identify the mechanisms through which these strains are most effectively reduced.  As a former student-athlete and as a tutor at the Indiana University athletic center, Hatteberg has witnessed first-hand the challenges associated with balancing academic and athletic demands and has made it a priority to help student-athletes achieve that balance.  But, her dedication to the personal and professional development of students expands beyond the athletic arena.

As an associate instructor at Indiana University, Hatteberg has taught an array of courses including Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of Sport, Global Health Inequalities, The Teaching of Undergraduate Sociology, Medicine in America, and Charts, Graphs, and Tables.  These courses have spanned a range of levels from first-year undergraduates through advanced graduate students and varied in size from ten to seventy students from a number of different backgrounds.  Despite these differences, she believes all of her courses have something in common: they all challenge students to question assumptions they hold about the world around them and require them connect the information learned in the classroom to broader public issues. She finds that these practices generally impart the importance of social justice and often, even motivate students to advocate for social change in the communities in which they live.  Hatteberg has been recognized for her teaching as a recipient of both departmental and university-wide teaching awards. 

Her various teaching experiences have been supplemented by a number of other opportunities within her department.  For example, she completed a 3-course sequence in College Pedagogy to earn the Preparing Future Faculty certificate in 2011 and in 2012, was selected as the Indiana University, Department of Sociology's Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Fellow.  In this capacity, she was responsible for planning and organizing a university-wide conference for graduate students on the opportunities available to them as future faculty members.  As the PFF fellow, she also served as a co-facilitator of a graduate seminar for first-time instructors in which she advised new teachers on topics such as syllabi development, classroom ethics, and presentation of self.  Although she is currently on fellowship to conduct her dissertation research, Hatteberg remains committed to her role as an educator through her scholarship on teaching and learning and through her role on the Undergraduate Affairs Committee in her department. 


Education in Math, Science and Technology, University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. Candidate)

B.A., Astrophysics, University of California, Berkeley
M.A., Education in Math, Science and Technology, University of California, Berkeley

Jennifer King Chen is a doctoral student in the Education in Math, Science and Technology program at U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Education. Jenn's dissertation research investigates the impact of science inquiry instruction designed to scaffold students in making informed choices, based on self-assessment and reflection, for successfully directing their own independent inquiry and learning.

Jenn is a recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship as well as the NSF's Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) Fellowship. In addition to her research work, Jenn has extensive experience working in both informal and formal K-12 learning environments. As a volunteer astronomy educator with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Project ASTRO (a national astronomy and physical science education and outreach program), she received Project ASTRO's Star Party of the Year award for organizing a family astronomy education night in which over 200 attendees participated. As a curriculum developer with the Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) group at the Lawrence Hall of Science, Jenn worked on the design of afterschool and classroom instructional materials, including the GEMS Space Science Sequence for Grades 6-8.

As a graduate student, Jenn has mentored undergraduate students through the Cal NERDS (New Experiences for Research and Diversity in Science) and Education Undergraduates programs and she has also served on various department and university-level committees focused on improving mentoring, teaching and learning at U.C. Berkeley. 


lueck.pngAMY LUECK
English, University of Louisville (Ph.D. expected Spring 2015)

M.A., English with concentration in Rhetoric, Composition, Literacy, and Pedagogy, University of Pittsburgh
B.A., English with concentration in Creative Writing, Loyola University Chicago

Amy Lueck is a fourth-year doctoral fellow in the Rhetoric and Composition program at University of Louisville, where she is completing a dissertation on Louisville's first free public high schools titled "'A Polished, Practical, or Profound Education': The Negotiationof (Gendered) Literacies and Higher Learning in Louisville's First Free Public High Schools." This project contributes to our knowledge of institutional forms and the pressure they exert on educational possibilities in the US, both past and present. In addition to her historical dissertation research, she is passionate about educational reform in our own historical moment, with a focus especially on graduate education and mentorship.

As a teacher, Amy has designed a range of undergraduate courses and graduate workshops, worked as a writing center consultant, volunteered as an instructor at a summer program for at-risk youth in Louisville, and taught fourth grade to under-privileged students in Memphis, TN. Across these educational contexts, she seeks to empower students through reflection and analysis of their own experiences as language users and learners. 

Beyond her scholarship and teaching, Amy demonstrates her commitment to higher education through her service and leadership activities at the department and university levels. At the department level, she currently serves as the Peer Mentoring Coordinator and also established a peer mentoring program for master's degree students in the department this year. She has served as Vice President and Chair of Technology and Information for her university's Graduate Student Council, and continues to serve on several university-wide committees, including a presidential appointment to the Commission on the Status of Women.  She is particularly active in her university's 21st Century Initiative strategic planning efforts, which are currently underway. Amy has also held administrative positions such as Assistant Director of the 2012 Thomas R. Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition and Research Assistant for the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS). As an assistant in SIGS, she has worked to foster interdisciplinary connections between students and programs, prepare graduate students for a diversity of career outcomes within and beyond academe, and enrich graduate mentoring practices through the establishment of peer mentoring programs and a networked perspective on faculty mentoring across departments.


Higher Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Ed.D. candidate)

B.A., Honors, Psychology and Education, Mount Holyoke College
M.Ed., Policy Studies in Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Yedalis Ruiz Santana is a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts (UMass), Amherst, in the department of Educational Policy and Research with a concentration in Higher Education. Her doctoral research will examine the manifestation of "community cultural wealth" (Yosso, 2005) among first generation, inner-city Latina students with aspirations to pursue a bachelor's degree. Yedalis' research and teaching is dedicated to increasing the rates of higher education among communities who have been traditionally underrepresented due to cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic barriers. In addition, her broader research interests include methods of assessment and evaluation to improve educational programming outcomes and community-based research methods. During her graduate studies and through her graduate research assistantships, Yedalis has developed skills in quantitative and qualitative student-based research methods. She has also held graduate assistantships as the evaluator of the education and outreach programs at the UMass Material Research Science and Engineering Center and at Smith College's Picker Engineering Department.

Yedalis is an instructor of the undergraduate course "Learning Through Community Engagement" at UMass with the Student Bridges organization, a student-led agency focused on increasing college access and success among underrepresented students through advocacy and civic engagement. The course engages students in community service learning with neighboring cities. She also teaches two undergraduate courses at Bay Path College. The first, "Women Empowered as Learners and Leaders" encourages nontraditional aged students to consider their role as leaders by examining their strengths and aspirations. The second, "Leadership in Practice", teaches students how to identify and address a need in the community using participatory action research methods. In addition to these courses, Yedalis co-teaches several graduate courses at UMass focused primarily on issues of access and equity and research methods in higher education.

Prior to her work at UMass, she was the director of a leadership program for teen girls at Mount Holyoke College and held several leadership roles in research and education at community-based agencies in Hartford, CT. Yedalis has guest lectured at community colleges and organizations to familiarize students with the college planning and choice process and to minimize potential barriers they may face while pursuing a college degree.As a first generation student and having earned her bachelor's degree as a nontraditional aged learner, Yedalis is keenly aware of and dedicated to eliminating educational disparities in higher education.


vanelzakker.jpgMICHAEL VanELZAKKER
Psychology/Neuroscience, Tufts University (Ph.D. candidate)

Michael VanElzakker
Psychology and Neuroscience, Tufts University

B.A., magna cum laude, Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado - Boulder
M.A., Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Colorado - Boulder

Mike received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Psychology & Neuroscience Department at University of Colorado - Boulder, and is currently an advanced Ph.D. candidate and instructor at Tufts University, with research affiliations at Massachusetts General Hospital's Division of Psychiatric Neuroscience and at Shriner's Hospital in Boston.

He is a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow.Mike's primary area of research is the neuroscience of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His Master's degree was earned in a neuroendocrinology laboratory, studying stress hormone-brain interactions in rats. He now combines the molecular biology techniques he learned there with brain scanning technology to better understand the nature of PTSD in humans. He works with both civilian trauma survivors and traumatized American veterans; one of his projects involves identical twin pairs from which one brother fought in the Vietnam War and the other brother did not. Mike's research uses cutting-edge neurobiology and endocrinology methods to contribute impactful, highly technical research to the scientific literature.

However, in working toward a career in PTSD neuroscience research, Mike has never wanted to be an insular ivory tower academic communicating to other experts in complicated jargon. His goal is to design low-tech PTSD treatment strategies that can be easily taught to non-experts coping with PTSD, such as veterans and civilians in areas of the world coping with natural disasters and political violence. He has done educational outreach with middle and high school students, with veteran's groups such as Veterans Helping Veterans Now (VHVN), and in post-earthquake Haiti. The goal of this outreach has been to encourage peer education and civic engagement. Mike's work with veterans (link: ) includes educating individuals living with comorbid brain injury and PTSD about the neuroscience of their symptoms, in a way that empowers them to better manage and ultimately heal their symptoms.

After the devastating earthquakes that took more than 250,000 lives and destroyed entire cities, Mike traveled to Haiti to teach about PTSD and psychological trauma. He ran classrooms filled with schoolteachers and volunteers from the community, some with no formal science education, teaching them basic neuroscience concepts related to overcoming trauma. Meditation techniques, body feedback, concentration exercises, and even changes in diet are all techniques that are based in neurobiology but can be taught to non-experts. The idea was that the information could then be shared with the broader community, in effect going viral.

Mike believes in an open exchange of scientific knowledge: that academics who study clinical disorders such as PTSD should share useful information with those who are affected every day and, importantly, we should listen to their experiences. Like K. Patricia Cross, Mike believe that education should be useful.An environmentalist, Mike also founded the first styrofoam-recycling program at any university in the United States. He was given Tufts University's Robert M. Hollister Award for Community Service and Citizenship. In addition to his work in PTSD, Mike has also recently introduced an influential new theory of chronic fatigue syndrome, a centuries-old medical mystery.



villanueva.pngOMAR VILLANUEVA
Chemistry, Emory University (Ph.D. expected 2014)

B.S., Chemistry, University of Georgia
B.S., Science Education, University of Georgia

Omar Villanueva is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. Throughout his graduate career at Emory, he has devoted a significant amount of time to communicating and promoting science, in specific, to audiences targeting women and underrepresented ethnic groups. His commitment to such task include participating in a Communicating Science course at Emory, where his work was featured in an online New York Times – Education Life article titled "How to Talk to Real People." He has also participated in a number of science outreach programs for Atlanta area high school students through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Chemical Innovation (Center for Selective C—H Functionalization, CCHF). In addition to giving several research seminars through Emory's Center for Science Education in formats aimed at engaging undergraduate students interested in research, Omar has participated as a judge at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) for the past four years and more recently the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

Omar's commitment to teaching is reflected in his pedagogy achievements at Emory. In his second year in graduate school, he was awarded the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship where he developed new problem-based learning (PBL) general chemistry materials that have been shown to increase academic engagement and learning outcomes in students from diverse backgrounds. In addition, Omar has taught his own general chemistry lecture class as part of the Emory Laney Graduate School Dean's Teaching Fellowship, a unique opportunity that many graduate students in the physical sciences often do not have. In his course, by providing an interactive and inquiry-based learning environment, Omar had the opportunity to expose students to science, scientific research and STEM-related career options available.

Omar's Ph.D. work in inorganic chemistry at Emory has focused on developing new small-molecule catalysts that incorporate earth-abundant metal ions to promote chemical transformations. His research aims to address issues of sustainability and energy conversion in the area of catalysis to fulfill current economic, political and environmental demands. Throughout his research at Emory, Omar has been committed to mentoring undergraduate students in the laboratory. His hard work and hands-on interactions have inspired those students to pursue graduate studies and careers in research. He truly enjoys mentoring students and being able to see them grow as young scientists has been the most rewarding experience for him.


Education, emphasis in Chicano/Latino Studies,  University of California, Irvine (Ph.D. expected 2015)

B.A., Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
M.Ed., Education, University of California, Los Angeles
M.A., Education, Learning, Cognition, and Development, University of California, Irvine

Cathery Yeh is a 4th year PhD candidate in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. Her scholarship focuses on teaching and learning, teacher education, and culturally responsive instruction. Her research and teaching in higher education builds on ten years of experience working with and learning from culturally-rich and ethnically diverse students in Los Angeles.  As an elementary teacher, Cathery visited 300 student homes and integrated students' lived experiences, knowledge, and culture into the classroom.

As a graduate student, Cathery has had a focused commitment to teaching and learning in elementary, teacher education, and higher education settings.  For the last four years, Cathery served as the project manager for a course in UC Irvine's Teacher Education Program, Learning to Learn from Teaching, which she helps study and redesign to better support teachers in analyzing their teaching.  Devoted to improving the learning experiences of undergraduate and graduate students, Cathery was awarded the UC Irvine Pedagogical Fellowship. In this role, Cathery designed and facilitated a series of workshops to graduate teaching assistants on designing student-centered learning environments. This past summer, as part of a multidisciplinary team, Cathery designed and facilitated two pedagogical modules (for graduate student instructors and faculty) on creating inclusive and equitable learning environments.  She currently serves on the Graduate Dean's Advisory Council on Diversity and the Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience (DECADE) Council to advance diversity and inclusion for the undergraduate and graduate student population.

Beyond the university walls, Cathery has held a four-year position on the California Mathematics Council Equity Committee, works as an author and editor for the national teaching journal, Teaching Children Mathematics, and continues to collaborate with teachers and students in local school districts.

Cathery lives in Seal Beach, California with her husband, David, and their two young daughters, Emy and Eliannah. In her free time, she enjoys seeing the world again through the eyes of her girls.

About K. Patricia Cross

K. Patricia Cross is Professor of Higher Education Emerita of the University of California at Berkeley, as well as an author of seven books on classroom teaching, learning, and assessment. Her distinguished career in higher education began as Assistant Dean of Women at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, then continued as Dean of Students at Cornell. She served as Distinguished Research Scientist at the Educational Testing Service; Professor and Chair of the Department of Administration, Planning, and Social Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and then as David Pierpont Gardner Professor of Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Cross is a member of the National Academy of Education and twice served as chair of the Board of the American Association for Higher Education.  She is a former board member for The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Berkeley Public Library, and Elderhostel (now known as Road Scholar).

Contact Information
For more information, contact Suzanne Hyers at 202.387.3760 (ext. 425): email