NDSU College of Health Professions announces 2023 Dean’s Awards of Excellence recipients

Photo of NDSU CHP Dean's Award of Excellence recipients

The NDSU College of Health Professions has announced recipients of the Dean's Awards of Excellence for 2023.

Mary Berg Excellence in Teaching Award
Dr. Kolby Schaeffer Fraase - Associate Professor of Practice
NDSU School of Nursing

Dean’s Award for Research
Dr. Natasha Petry - Associate Professor of Practice
NDSU Department of Pharmacy Practice

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Advising
Dr. Julia Muzzy Williamson - Associate Professor of Practice
NDSU School of Pharmacy

“The professional excellence exhibited by award recipients makes a significant impact through contributions which resonate with students, colleagues, the state of North Dakota and nationally,” said Dr. Charles D. Peterson, dean of the College of Health Professions at NDSU.

Mary Berg Excellence in Teaching Award

The Mary Berg Award for Excellence in Teaching to Dr. Kolby Schaeffer Fraase recognizes a faculty member who is an outstanding teacher, as defined by the ability to inspire and engage students in learning, to demonstrate knowledge of pedagogical principles, and apply creative and innovative in approaches to teaching.

“Dr. Schaeffer Frasse is not only knowledgeable in the content she teaches, but she is also creative and innovative in the classroom. She does not believe in ‘death by PowerPoint’ but instead she invests her efforts in finding ways to engage students in their learning,” said award nominator Shila Thompson, faculty member in the NDSU School of Nursing. “She is not only an excellent educator but also provides excellent patient care at the bedside in her professional practice, so she is an asset in teaching students during their clinical experiences.”

Schaeffer Fraase cultivates opportunities for students to realize their potential, to foster teamwork, and grow as leaders.

“I believe team-based learning is an excellent method to foster content mastery. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from my students as they encourage me to approach didactic content with a fresh perspective,” said Schaeffer Frasse.

She founded a Skills Lab Mentor program to exemplify collaborative teaching methods. Students in their final semesters in nursing share their knowledge with students in two nursing skills lab courses. “Former mentors have taken leadership or educational roles within their healthcare organization or are pursuing graduate degrees and teaching in schools of nursing,” she said.

Opportunities for collaboration do not end once students leave the classroom.

“Assignments were often made to be fun, such as video presentation infomercials on difficult subjects,” said NDSU nursing graduate Madeline Iversen who took undergraduate and graduate level classes from Schaeffer Fraase. “Her fun and creative teaching style allows for growth in the classroom, lab, and on the clinical floor,” said Iversen.

“She has cultivated a passion for being a lifelong learner following graduation,” said Maggie Oberlander, nursing Class of 2023. “She is the educator I want to be at the bedside, on the unit, and in the classroom.”

Dean's Award for Research

The Dean’s Award of Excellence in Research to Dr. Natasha Petry in the NDSU School of Pharmacy recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in research and excellence/innovation in scholarly work.  

Dr. Petry practices in the novel area of pharmacogenomics, looking at how DNA affects how patients respond to medication. As one of the core elements of personalized medicine, pharmacogenomics helps maximize effectiveness of medication while reducing adverse reactions.

Petry is also a clinical pharmacogenomics pharmacist at Sanford Health in addition to teaching NDSU pharmacy students and serving as a pharmacy residency program director. Her research productivity over three years includes 27 peer reviewed articles, 22 peer reviewed posters, six peer reviewed textbook chapters, and a professional society statement, far exceeding her job expectations. Petry also delivered three national continuing education presentations, eight regional/local continuing education presentations and five noncontinuing education presentations.

“Dr. Petry’s work is impactful,” said Dr. Lisa Richter, faculty member in the NDSU Department of Pharmacy Practice. “She is a co-investigator on research grants totaling nearly $4.6 million.”

Petry has collaborated with 178 different internal and external coauthors on peer-reviewed publications. The collaborators include numerous physicians, medical residents and students, genetic counselors, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, pharmacy residents, students, and scientists.

Petry successfully obtained funding as a co-investigator from the North Dakota Pharmacy Service Corporation, the North Dakota Department of Health, and the National Institutes of Health. Her research scholarship includes topics in public health, population health and genetic screening, cultural competency, health literacy, diabetes and depression.

Professor David Bright in the Ferris State University College of Pharmacy notes that Petry has positioned herself as a pioneer in the field of pharmacogenomics. “She is a co-investigator on NIH-funded projects that will shape the practice of pharmacogenomics and its integration into routine clinical care,” said Bright.

“I couldn’t be more impressed by both the volume and impact of Dr. Petry’s research, particularly given her significant teaching and practice work,” said Bright. “My experience is that people with similar roles struggle to publish a paper or two of modest significance annually, but to have grown a national reputation and strong track record as a leading investigator in her field is amazing.”

Dean's Award for Excellence in Advising

This Dean’s Award for Excellence in Advising, received by Dr. Julia Muzzy Williamson in the NDSU School of Pharmacy, recognizes a faculty, staff, or administrator who demonstrates exceptional advising skills and who has a positive impact on students.

Pharmacy student Sydney Dykhuizen worked closely with Dr. Muzzy Williamson for three years in research focusing on pharmacists’ education in medication management for patients who are breastfeeding.

“She has demonstrated and instilled a strong work ethic and drive that no other mentor has expressed to me before. She actively supports and uplifts all ideas each individual brings to the team,” said Dykhuizen.

“She expresses this through teaching the rigorous course work of the women’s health and pediatric special populations pharmaceutical class, mentoring students through multiple research projects, and precepting pharmacy students during their last year in pharmacy school on rotations,” explained Dykhuizen.

Muzzy Williamson views her role as a student advisor as one of the most important jobs she holds. “I believe my role as an advisor is mostly listening. I need to hear what the students are saying about their learning experiences. Through the active listening process, I’m able to better understand the students on an individual level and help build self-confidence and provide encouragement in a way to help empower the student,” said Muzzy Williamson.

“Dr. Muzzy Williamson’s ability to model professional practice for students and provide mentorship that both challenges and guides students is impressive and impactful,” according to Dr. Amy Werremeyer, chair of the NDSU Department of Pharmacy Practice. “She has served as a research mentor to numerous students in the clinical setting as well. In this capacity, she has guided scholarly work among those students, leading to peer-reviewed publications with the students as authors.”

“The educational professionals honored by the NDSU College of Health Professions in 2023 make a significant impact upon students’ education, and upon their respective health professions at state and national levels,” said Dr. Charles Peterson. “Their commitment to excellence in their fields represents the high quality of education delivered to our students at NDSU.”

As a student focused, land grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

Group photo of Dean's Award of Excellence recipients

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