2006 DaVinci Fellows

Dr. George Acquaah, Langston University

Dr. Acquaah was selected for his creative use of leadership and scholarship to implement a comprehensive, integrated and sustainable mechanism for enhancing the participation of minorities in agricultural education and related professions.  The author of seven textbooks, one of which has been translated into Chinese, Dr. Acquaah holds a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Michigan State University.  Under his leadership, the Langston University Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources has been transformed and recognized both nationally and internationally.  In addition to being named a 2006 DaVinci Fellow, he is the recipient of the inaugural 2006 National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NOBEL) prize and in 2003 received the Millennium Award for Teaching Excellence, the White House Initiative on Historical Black Colleges and Universities.

Ms. Audrey Schmitz, Northern Oklahoma College

Ms. Schmitz, Director of the Eleanor Hays Art Gallery located in the Performing Arts Center at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, has developed and/or coordinated more than 55 exhibits which give the college’s students an opportunity to utilize the gallery as an alternative learning space.  The gallery has significantly impacted the creative culture of north central Oklahoma communities in a manner rarely accessible to rural communities.  Specializing in ceramics, sculpture and fine art photography, her creative leadership has enhanced the quality of life for area residents through amazing exhibits and the recruitment of distinguished artists.

Dr. Kippi D. Wyatt, Northeastern State University

Breaking the traditional teaching mold, Dr. Kippi D. Wyatt, Associate Professor of Optometry at Northeastern State University, continuously improves the quality of the students’ classroom experience through experimentation with course content, presentation style, and diverse learning strategies.  Her challenge has been to change traditional lecture oriented courses to student centered courses in a rigorous professional program requiring passage of a national standardized licensing examination.  Her unique teaching methods resulted in her receiving the 2006 Oklahoma Higher Education Teaching and Learning Conference Excellence Teaching Award at Northeastern State University.  Utilizing the latest technologies, Dr. Wyatt’s innovative style keeps the students engaged throughout the learning process which has led to their exceptional performance on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry licensing examination.

Dr. Wei R. Chen, University of Central Oklahoma

Dr. Wei R. Chen, theoretical physicist, cancer researcher, holder of five US patents and numerous international patents, and publisher of 54 peer-reviewed papers brings his rich research experience and enthusiasm of learning into classrooms at the University of Central Oklahoma.  As a leading expert in laser induced immunological response and laser immunotherapy treatment of metastatic tumors, he has developed a life-saving cancer treatment.  However, his life’s work is not dedicated just to his research, but to his students, as he continues to teach and engage his students in the research and learning process.  In fact, eight of his students have co-authored research articles with him.  His expertise was instrumental in helping the UCO Department of Physics and Engineering to establish the first and only Biomedical Engineering and undergraduate program in Oklahoma in 2001.  He still works tirelessly as the director of the Biomedical Engineering program, which now has more than 70 majors.



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