Diann Neil-Engblade and Gail Kowalski
The Michigan Occupational Special Populations Association (MOSPA) recently recognized two West Shore Community College employees, Diann Neil-Engblade and Gail Kowalski, at their statewide conference held at the Inn at Bar Harbor near Petoskey.
Both were recognized for their outstanding contributions in the area of special populations programming and services.
Neil-Engblade, WSCC’s Director of Special Populations Services, was the recipient of the outstanding professional post-secondary award. The nomination stated she has, since 1986, worked collaboratively with college students, faculty, and staff, to develop the resources, accommodations, and services needed to help students achieve personal and academic success.
“She is compassionate and generous with her time and patience. Her problem solving skills are excellent,” said Dr. Madonna Carpenter-Jackson, president of MOSPA, who presented the award.
Neil-Engblade has presented at various MOSPA conferences and has also received recognition for her work on a state-wide team that developed post-secondary educational development plans. She was a founding member of an initiative to establish a social coaching program for individuals on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) scale in cooperation with the area intermediate school districts, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, and other community agencies and schools. She also has received the WSCC Employee of the Semester Award.
Kowalski received the Outstanding Populations Support Staff Award and is the full-time tutorial coordinator in the Support, Tutoring, and Resource Services (STaRS) Center at the college.
“Gail is a thoughtful, experienced, compassionate, and qualified advocate for students who possesses a unique ability to promote their strengths and abilities. She understands their issues and concerns and effectively helps them to alleviate the roadblocks that are getting in the way of their academic and personal success. Gail has a warm and welcoming personality which was best summed up by a recent student who described her as someone who ‘always behaves as if she isn’t working for a paycheck but instead because she loves being at work and helping students,’” said Carpenter-Jackson.
Kowalski has presented at the MOSPA and Trends conferences and is a member of the Manistee ISD Transitions Council, a founding member of the social coaching group for students on the ASD scale, which is a collaborative effort between WSCC, the Manistee ISD and West Central Michigan Mental Health. She also has received the WSCC Employee of the Semester Award.
MOPSA was formed in 1975 to improve opportunities while giving support to special needs students. The annual state conference, where awards are presented, is designed to enhance the professional development of educators working with special populations students.
Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Communications & Community Engagement