Five women smiling

Blue Ridge Community College announces 2022 Faculty and Staff Award winners

The five winners of the Blue Ridge Community College 2022 Faculty and Staff awards are featured above. From left are: English instructor, Rachel Marsom; Nursing instructor, Terri Locke; Dean of Health Sciences, Leigh Angel; Vice President of Student Services, Kirsten Bunch; and Sociology instructor, Dr. Annelise Hagedorn. 

Blue Ridge Community College recently recognized five outstanding individuals from its faculty and staff who received the College’s 2022 Faculty and Staff awards.

These awards included:

Wellness Award

Blue Ridge English Instructor Rachel Marsom was awarded the 2022 Wellness Award because of her healthy lifestyle and commitment to wellness.

Marsom competed against other employees using a point-based system designed by the Wellness Committee to encourage friendly competition and greater interest in long-term healthy lifestyles. Employees earned points by participating in numerous wellness initiatives encompassing both physical and mental health.

Marsom’s workouts – which earned her Wellness points – do not consist of a simple walk around the block. She’s incorporated Tabata, yoga, barre, boxing, and more into her regular rotation of workouts which all carry names such as “Insanity Max,” “Cardio Meltdown,” and “Core Inferno.”

Dr. Eliza B. Graue Extra Mile Award

Blue Ridge Nursing Instructor Terri Locke was awarded the 2022 Dr. Eliza B. Graue Extra Mile Award.

Locke received various nominations that detailed numerous examples of her dedication, acts of kindness and encouragement, and a deep-seated commitment to her students and her chosen field of nursing.

She’s described as always greeting students with a smile, and often reminds students how special they are.

In the words of one of her student nominators, “She goes above and beyond! She is so caring, kind, knowledgeable, compassionate, and encouraging. She has created so many helpful study guides and videos and takes the time to help us, even if it means staying after class. She strives to form relationships with us and cares deeply for us. She is such an amazing example to her students.”

Dr. David W. Sink Jr. Community Service Award

Dean of Health Sciences Leigh Angel was awarded the Dr. David W. Sink Jr. Community Service Award for her exceptional service to the community, a value that Dr. Sink holds in high regard in his own life.

Earlier in 2021, Angel assisted in organizing and implementing the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Blue Ridge Community College. Through a partnership with Pardee UNC Health, community members were given doses of the vaccine to slow the spread of the virus in our community. Angel took time out of her own work schedule to administer vaccines, monitor patients in the holding areas and assist with scheduling appointments for vaccine recipients.

In addition to her work with the vaccine clinic, Angel is an active member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, an organization that supports nurses’ efforts to improve the health of the world’s people. Locally, she’s recruited new members for the Eta Psi Chapter and led their Board of Directors when she served as president.

Dr. Molly A. Parkhill Staff Person of the Year Award

Blue Ridge Vice President of Student Services Kirsten Bunch was awarded the Dr. Molly A. Parkhill Staff Person of the Year Award. Established by past president Dr. Molly Parkhill, this award recognizes a full-time, non-instructional employee for individual achievement and exceptional contributions to Blue Ridge Community College.

Having started her career at the College more than 20 years ago as a young Blue Ridge graduate, Bunch’s open-door policy means her employees who are on the front lines of serving students can connect with her quickly. Fellow employees view her as a valuable resource to their department, the students, and throughout the College.

Her work with the Behavioral Assessment Team has brought a coordinated effort to serve students by identifying at-risk students and has created a boots-on-the-ground approach to providing services and support to the most vulnerable students. The College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic often starts with Bunch, who contacts students to discuss the impacts of their illness on themselves, their family, and their education.

Bunch is always looking to move her division and the College forward.

Dr. and Mrs. William D. Killian Outstanding Teacher Award

Blue Ridge Sociology Instructor Dr. Annelise Hagedorn was awarded the Dr. and Mrs. William D. Killian Outstanding Teacher Award, which recognizes a faculty member’s commitment to teaching excellence. Hagedorn is an innovative and enthusiastic educator who’s passionate about equity, education and student success.

She cultivates an open classroom when talking about sensitive topics and always makes her students feel comfortable and safe to explore their thoughts and feelings on social issues.

Always upbeat in and out of the classroom, Hagedorn’s enthusiasm is contagious and motivates her students to succeed. Without a doubt, she also has a positive influence on her students and colleagues by embodying the true essence of a dedicated teacher.

She exemplifies the qualities of a faculty member that Dr. Killian and Helen wanted to recognize through this award.