September 28, 2016
Johnson State College President Elaine Collins and the JSC Alumni Council presented the 2016 annual “distinguished faculty and staff” and “outstanding alumni” awards Sept. 22 during Alumni & Family Reunion Weekend.
Carolyn D’Luz of Waterville received the president’s 2016 Distinguished Staff Award. D’Luz has served 14 years as coordinator of Academic Support Services at JSC, where she oversees academic coaching services and serves as a mentor to countless students. She received her bachelor’s degree in horticulture and agronomy from the University of New Hampshire in 1995 and has taken graduate counseling courses at JSC.
Dr. Gregory Petrics of Stowe, recipient of the president’s 2016 Distinguished Faculty Award, has been a full-time mathematics professor at JSC since 2011. Petrics immerses his students in project-based learning and holds several leadership roles at JSC, including chair of the JSC Curriculum Committee and a member of the team preparing the self-study report for the college’s reaccreditation. Outside JSC, Petrics leads seminars for the Governor’s Institute of Vermont that introduce high school students to advanced mathematics, and he is an instructor with the Vermont Mathematics Initiative, a program for Vermont’s public K-12 educators. He also is an accomplished photographer and alpine skier.
Tracy Wrend of Morrisville, superintendent of the Lamoille South Supervisory Union (LSSU), received the president’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. She earned her M.A. in special education from JSC in 1996 and has served many roles as an educator, including director of student services for LSSU and special educator, consulting teacher and education support system coordinator at the elementary, middle and high school levels. In May 2016, Wrend was named the 2016 Vermont Superintendent of the Year and received the Frederick H. Tuttle Service Award from the Vermont Superintendents Association.
Dylan Giambatista of Essex Junction received the Alumni Council’s 2016 “Rising Star” Alumni Award. Currently a candidate for the Vermont House representing the Chittenden 8-2 district, Giambatista was an Ellsworth Scholar at JSC who graduated with a B.A. in political science in 2013. Through the connections he made as an intern in the Vermont State House while a student at JSC, he became chief of staff for Morrisville representative and House Speaker Shap Smith from 2014-16. He currently works as the director of outreach and financial literacy at the Office of the Vermont State Treasurer, and he is a board member of the Vermont Jump$tart Coalition, a volunteer organization promoting financial literacy among youth.
Sean O’ Connell of Sylvia, N.C., received JSC’s 2016 Outstanding Alumni Award. After earning a B.S. in biology with secondary teaching endorsement from JSC in 1994, Dr. O’Connell spent two summers as an assistant at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, where he got hooked on environmental microbiology. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from Idaho State University, teach soil microbial diversity and research bacterial diversity in streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In his spare time, he helps local beer and kombucha brewers apply basic microbiology to their recipes.
Pictured above L-R, Sean O’Connell, Dylan Giambatista, Carolyn D’Luz, Tracy Wrend, Greg Petrics