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Lander’s College of Education Holds Pinning and Academic Awards Ceremony

Jessica Duran receiving award
Jessica Duran of Greenwood receives the Master of Arts in Teaching, Art Education Award from Dr. Kristen Applegate, assistant professor of art, during the April 30 College of Education pinning and awards ceremony held at the Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. Also pictured is Dr. Sarah Hunt-Barron, dean of the College of Education. Photo by Larry Padgett.

Eighty undergraduates received a gold pin to acknowledge the earning of their baccalaureate degrees as part of Lander University’s College of Education pinning and academic awards ceremony held at the Abney Cultural Center Auditorium on April 30. Additionally, nineteen students earning master’s degrees received their pins and academic awards.

Dr. Sarah Hunt-Barron, dean of the College of Education, said, “One of the unique things about the College of Education is every person in this College – faculty, students, and staff - is here in service to others. When I think of our students and their futures, I think of all the people they will help in their respective communities.”

The ceremony also recognized academic award winners.


Recipients of academic awards for undergraduate degrees:

  • Early Childhood Education: Mallory Rearden, of Trenton; and Megan Vaughn, of Donalds.
  • Elementary Education: Laneshia Kelly, of McCormick; and Mary Kiss, of Ninety Six.
  • P-12/Secondary Education: Alison Gossett, of Woodruff; Lauren Weaver, of Ware Shoals; and Madison Williams, of Greer.
  • Special Education: Morgan Harling, of Chesnee;
  • Physical Education Discipline: Nolan Oakey, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada;
  • Exercise Science Discipline: Sydney O’Brien, of Greenwood; and Kaitlyn Quinn, of Columbia.
  • Excellence in Exercise Science: Taylor Dean, of North Augusta; and Madeleine McNeer, of Greer.


Recipients of academic awards for master-level degrees:

  • Master of Science in Exercise Science: Carsyn Bates, of Loxahatchee, Florida.
  • Master of Education in Montessori Education: Lillian Essary, of Beaufort.
  • Master of Arts in Teaching, Art Education: Jessica Duran, of Greenwood.
  • Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education: Megan Lee, of Rock Hill


MAT graduates

Lander University’s first class to earn the M.A.T in Special Education and PK-12 Certification was recognized at the April 30 pinning and awards ceremony at the Abney Cultural Center Auditorium.  Pictured front row (from left) are: Jennifer Hester of Anderson; Ida Casey, of Woodruff; and Anuradha Penmetsa, of Columbia. Middle row (from left) Ashley Andis, of Anderson; Megan Lee of Rock Hill; and Ashley Jeffries of Gaffney. Back row (from left) Kacey Lambert, of Johnsonville and Lisa Gary, of Irmo. Not pictured: Taylor Estes, of Kinards; Brooke Robinson, of Landrum; Tara Simmons, of Landrum; Daniel Swords, of Liberty; Cassidy Williams, of Inman; and Felisah Wilson, of Mauldin. Photo by Larry Padgett.

M.A.T. in Special Education

This year’s ceremony marked the first graduating seniors from the University’s new Master in Art of Teaching (M.A.T.) in Special Education. The program is designed to allow students to earn both a master’s degree and their certification as a special educator, with coursework completed both online and in person with clinical placements completed in their local school districts.

The program is built on a foundation of specialized content courses, addressing the competencies for teaching students with mild to moderate disabilities. These courses provide the needed background for multi-categorical certification. Fourteen students are earning the new M.A.T in Education and P-12 Certification.

For more information on the M.A.T. Special Education program follow this link -

To learn more about Lander’s College of Educations visit