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Press Release



April 10, 2013


Melinda Neal to serve as Commencement speaker


melindaServing as Cowley College’s Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence and the 2012 recipient of the Paul Stirnaman Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, Cowley College Natural Science Department instructor Melinda Neal will be the keynote speaker at the college’s Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 4.

Neal graduated from Cedar Vale High School as the Salutatorian. She went on to graduate from Southwestern College with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She also attended Emporia State University and Kansas State University to complete teaching certifications in Biology, Physics, General Science, Physical Education and Earth Science.

She taught all science areas at Dexter High School for 20 years and has served as a Natural Science Department instructor at Cowley College since 2002.

Neal decided to go into education because she wanted to share her passion for science.
“As an instructor at Cowley, I enjoy having the opportunity to work with traditional and non-traditional students to help them obtain their goals and help them open new doors to the future,” Neal said.
Neal’s professional organizations include; National Science Teachers Association, Kansas Biology Teachers Association, Kansas Coaching Association, Kansas National Education Association, and the CEA.

Neal previously received an Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in 2008 and was the recipient of the March, 2008 Horizon Award Faculty Advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region. She also received the March, 2009 Paragon Award for the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region, and was the recipient of the March, 2008 and 2010 Honorable Mention Paragon Advisor Award for the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region.

As Phi Theta Kappa co-sponsor, the organization reached 5 star status, received the Kansas Region Scholarship Hallmark, and Kansas Region Service Hallmark. The organization also received Kansas Region Improved Chapter, and Kansas Region Sister Chapter awards.

Neal also received the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences High School Teacher Recognition Award As the keynote speaker, Neal hopes to send a message to the graduates that in this day and age they have many opportunities available to them.

“Their graduation is one milestone in many to come,” Neal said. “They should put themselves out there and remember they can achieve whatever they have a passion for; enjoy life and all it has to offer.”