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Five Juniata Alumni Receive Achievement Awards

(Posted June 12, 2006)

The 2006 Alumni Achievement Award recipients are: from left: Miriam Wetzel, in front of presenter Lois McDowell; Jodie Monger Gray, in front of presenter David Drews; Erin Sheets, in front of presenter Ruth Reed; Dr. Kenneth Van Antwerp, in front of presenter Adam Shaffer; and Dr. Randy Kochel, in front of presenter Debra Kirchhof-Glazier.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College presented five alumni-related awards Saturday, June 3 during Alumni Assembly, part of "Juniata College Alumni Weekend 2006." McLean, Va. resident Jodie Monger Gray, was awarded the Harold B. Brumbaugh Alumni Service Award; Casco, Maine resident Miriam Wetzel, former curriculum consultant for Harvard Medical School and currently a medical content analyst for Harvard Health Publications, received the Alumni Achievement Award; Port Matilda, Pa. resident Erin Sheets, assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State University, received the Young Alumni Achievement Award; and Somerset, Pa. resident Dr. Kenneth Van Antwerp, a physician with Somerset Family Practice, received the William E. Swigart Jr. Alumni Humanitarian Award. The college also awarded the Health Professions Alumni Appreciation Award to Dr. Randy Kochel, of Lancaster, Pa.

Jodie Monger Gray, a 1988 graduate of Juniata and president of Customer Relationship Metrics, works tirelessly as a volunteer for Juniata College, first in official positions as vice president and president of Alumni Council, as alumni trustee and in September 2006 as a full trustee, and as chair of the Juniata Scholarship Fund, the college's annual fund. She paved the way, together with the college's development staff, to focus Juniata's annual fund on funding student scholarships rather than college operational expenses.

On an informal basis, Gray has volunteered as a mentor for the Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, as a host for alumni events in the Washington,
D.C. area, and as creator, editor and publisher of the Juniata Alumni Newsgroup. She also was instrumental in revitalizing volunteerism at Juniata by leading the effort to have all Juniata alumni dedicate five hours of volunteer time to the college every year.

She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Juniata and went on to earn a master's degree and doctoral degree in marketing, both from Purdue University. In 1991 she accepted a job as associate director of Purdue's Center for Customer-Driven Quality, leaving that position in 1993 to found Customer Relationship Metrics, a firm specializing in developing, implementing and measuring customer feedback. Her company offers a particular focus on customer call-center improvement and measurement.

Gray has co-written two book, "Customer Relationship Management," and "Call Center Management By the Numbers." She also lectures at IBM's Advanced Business Institute, AT & T's College of Call Center Excellence and other conferences. Her company also received the 2004 Product of the Year from Call Center Magazine.

Miriam Smith Wetzel, a 1952 graduate of Juniata is currently a medical content analyst for Harvard Health Publications and retired from Harvard Medical School in 2000 as assistant professor and curriculum coordinator. She earned a bachelor's degree in music from Juniata and went on to graduate study at Temple University from 1952 to 1954. After taking time away from graduate study, she returned to earn a master's degree in 1975 in education administration from the University of Maine, Portland-Gorham and a master's degree in 1982 in human development from Harvard University. She also earned a doctoral degree in human development in 1987 from the University of Pennsylvania.

She was hired by Harvard Medical School in 1985 as curriculum coordinator and played a large role in implementing a new method of medical school education that de-emphasized lecture-based classes in favor of small-group problem-based learning and case studies. Over her career at Harvard, Wetzel taught and helped implement the new curriculum model, called "The New Pathway," at medical schools across the United States and internationally.

She started her working career as a journalist at Ladies' Home Journal, but soon switched careers to teach music at public schools in Maine and Pennsylvania from 1968 to 1977. She also served as principal for the Windham, Maine School District from 1977 to 1981. She also worked as a research assistant in Harvard's psychology department from 1983 to 1985.

She received a Pennsylvania State Senatorial Scholarship from the Miss Pennsylvania Scholarship Foundation in 1952. She also received two Harvard Medical And Dental Students Excellence in Teaching awards in 1999 and 2000.

Wetzel remains active in her community, serving, at various times, as president of the Sebago-Long Lakes Chamber Music Festival Association, as chair of the Music Committee of the Casco Village Church, UCC, and as a board member of the Mollyockett Chapter of Sweet Adelines International. She also has served on the Harvard University Health Services Consumer Council since 1993. She also served as the first female president of the Juniata College Alumni Council.

Erin Sheets, a 1991 Juniata graduate and an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State University, has a thriving research program that looks at how individual cells sense and react to their environment. Specifically, she studies how the cellular membranes may control responses to allergies, virus infection and Alzheimer's plaque formation. Her lab continues research into the relationship between cellular membrane structure and biological function in living cells.

She earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Juniata and went on to earn master's degree in chemistry in 1994 and a doctoral degree in chemistry in 1997, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She started her academic career as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University from 1997 to 2000, and stayed at Cornell to work as a research associate at the university's Nanobiotechnology Center from 2000 to 2002. She accepted a position as assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State in 2002.

Sheets is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Cell Biology and the Association for Women in Science. Her work has been published in a variety of professional journals, including Biophysical Journal, Journal of Cell Science, Biophysical Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Science.

She helped organize an exhibit, Explore Science with 4-H and Penn State, at the Crawford County Fair on 2003 and 2004 and serves on the Junior Faculty Task Force in Penn State's Eberly College of Science. She has returned to Juniata to give lectures and to mentor students interested in chemistry.

Dr. Kenneth Van Antwerp graduated from Juniata in 1975, earning a bachelor's degree. He went on to earn his medical degree at Temple University School of Medicine, in Philadelphia, Pa. He completed his educational residency at Washington Hospital's Family Practice Residency Program in Washington, Pa.. He is certified in family practice and as a medical examiner.

Van Antwerp is on the staff of Somerset Hospital and served as president of the medical staff from 2002 to 2005. He has been a part of the Somerset, Pa. medical community since 1986, working at Somerset Family Practice.

He created a Medical Mission Team that travels to Haiti to provide medical care. To date, Van Antwerp has made nine trips to Haiti and has treated almost 3,000 patients. He also traveled to Sri Lanka in 2004 to help treat victims from the devastating tsunami, staying 10 days to treat the sick and injured.

Van Antwerp, a Bethlehem, Pa. native, formed the Medical Mission Team through his church, St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in Somerset. He also trained in emergency disaster medicine through the Presbyterian Church organization Missions to the World. He is a member St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, the Christian Medical and Dental Society, the Pennsylvania and American Academy of Family Physicians and the Missions to the World Disaster Relief Team. He also has served on the staff of Somerset Hospital since 1983.

Randy Kochel, a 1979 Juniata graduate, earned a bachelor's degree in biological chemistry and went on to earn his medical degree from Penn State's Milton S. Hershey College of Medicine in 1983. He served his residency in family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.

He started his medical career as a family physician at County Line Medical Center in Gap, Pa. in 1986, where he is still on staff. He has been on the staff of Lancaster General Hospital since 1986. He also has been chair of the hospital's Department of Family and Community Medicine since 2003.

He was nominated as Pennsylvania's Family Physician of the Year in 2002 and 2004, and received the Resident of the Year Award from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1986. He is a member of the American Medical Association, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

He has remained an active supporter of Juniata College programs, serving as a Juniata Alumni Ambassador. He will begin a three-year term on the college's Alumni Council in September. Dr. Kochel's wife, Pamela, is a 1980 Juniata graduate, and his son Christopher is a 2006 graduate. Another son, Tyler, is a member of the class of 2009.


Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.