Cameron University Department of Psychology presents Major of the Year, Legacy Awards

The Cameron University Department of Psychology recently honored seven awards during its departmental Student Recognition Ceremony. Five students received Major of the Year Awards, and two others were recognized with Legacy Awards.

“One of the most satisfying times of the academic year is our departmental student recognition ceremony,” says Dr. Mary Dzindolet, Chair, Department of Psychology. “In recognizing our students for their achievements throughout the academic year, we celebrate their accomplishments and look forward to their success as they continue with their academic and professional goals.”

Hope Okeke, Lagos, Nigeria, was named Major of the Year  MSBS: General Psychology Track. After earning a degree in special education with a minor in religious studies from the University of Abadan, Okeke served with the Lagos state ministry of education to develop educational policies for children with special needs. As a CU student, she advocated for the purchase and installation of JAWS, a computer screen reader software for use by blind students on campus. Through her efforts, all computers in the Academic Commons computer lab now operate with JAWS, allowing blind students at CU access to school computers. Okeko is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Psi Chi, CU Nigerian Student Association, and the National Federation for the Blind Lawton. She plans to earn a doctorate in rehabilitation/disability psychology.

Kathryn Nichols, Lawton, was recognized as Major of the Year  MSBS: Counseling Track. She earned her bachelor’s in psychology from Cameron in 2014 and is among the first group of practicum students to work in the Cameron Psychology Clinic. Following graduation, she will be working in a Lawton community mental health agency. After completing her candidacy to become a Licensed Professional Counselor, Nichols plans to enter a doctoral program in counseling psychology. She is a member of the American Psychology Association, Phi Eta Sigma, Psi Chi and Phi Kappa Phi.

Shannon Hanks, Walters, was honored as Major of the Year:  MSBS: Marriage & Family Track. Hanks is a retired Army combat veteran who served as a career counselor during his last 10 years of service. He is a member of the Big Red One Society, the Boy Scouts of America, and Psi Chi. After receiving his master’s degree, he plans to pursue licensure as a Marital and Family Therapist. He has been instrumental in the day-to-day operation of the Cameron Psychology Clinic, helping develop forms and protocols, working as a shift leader and more. He has accepted a position with a local mental health agency.

Robert McCoy, Walters, was named Major of the Year  BS Psychology. A member of Cameron’s Army ROTC unit, McCoy is minoring in military science and family relations. He will commission as a second lieutenant and plans to pursue psychology in the Medical Services Corps, which will enable him to help veterans in need. A member of Phi Kappa Phi, Psi Chi, Scabbard and Blade, Enactus and Student Government Association, McCoy was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and has been honored for academic excellence and leadership by the national Association of the United States Army. His research interests include social/cognitive psychology, in which he has completed two studies.

Heather Wheeler, Cache, was recognized as Major of the Year  BS Family Child Studies. As a CU student, she assisted with focus group research on retention of at-risk students. For the past year, she has been a Child Welfare Aide for the Department of Human Services. She is a member of Alpha Phi, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Department of Psychology Advisory Committee. Wheeler was also named to Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities. She is completing her field experience in Cache Public Schools in school counseling.

Sarah Downen and Jacob Jardel, both of Lawton, were named as the inaugural recipients of the Legacy Award, which recognizes students who are graduating from the MSBS program, completed at least some of their undergraduate course work at Cameron, and have excelled in areas beyond their normal coursework. Both were named to Cameron’s Top 10 Non-Traditional Students as well as to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.

Downen is a member of the American Chemical Society, Beta Beta Beta, Biology Club, German Club, Health Profession Society, Psi Chi and Psychology Club. She served as an officer in the Student Government Association, participated in the CU Ethics Bowl, and was named to the President’s List and the Dean’s List as an undergraduate. A cum laude graduate in 2015, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Chemistry in 2015. Downen completes her Master of Science in Behavioral Sciences in Psychology in May and will begin pursuing her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. in August.

Jardel is a member of the Biology Club, Botany Club, CU Honors Students Society, Research Club, MathCom, Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Psychology Club and Psi Chi. He has served as managing editor of the Cameron Collegian, was president of the Programming Activities Council, and was named to the President’s and Dean’s List as an undergraduate. He is a 2013 cum laude and honors program graduate of CU, earning a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in English. He will graduate with a Master of Science in Behavioral Sciences in Psychology. He plans to pursue a doctorate and ultimately become university professor.



May 5, 2017