Dr. Jim McConnel

Anne Stewart

It gives me great pleasure to award Dr. Anne Stewart with the All Together One Award. Dr. Stewart was nominated by her friends and colleagues of JMU's Department of Graduate Psychology. Their nomination was key in helping members of ODK choose Dr. Stewart among the many other amazing individuals who were nominated for this prestigious award. We found Dr. Stewart to be one of the most deserving candidates for this award due to her dedication and service to the JMU community. I would like to read aloud Dr. Stewart's nomination as well as other comments and insights from friends as to just how amazing Dr. Anne Stewart is.

Dr. Anne Stewart has served on the faculty since 1991 and has distinguished herself through her excellent teaching, scholarship, and her service. Without question, she is one of the most extraordinary members of the JMU faculty. Anne seeks to promote peace and help diverse individuals and groups cope with trauma and build resilience by tending to the heart of human communities: our children and families. The impact of Anne's work reaches out in broad concentric circles from her home base at JMU, through our local community, on through the Commonwealth of Virginia , out into the United States and
further, into Cambodia , Mozambique , Vietnam , and this past year Sri Lanka .

Most recently, Dr. Stewart was selected to be part of an international team of mental health professionals providing play-ba! sed interventions to child survivors of the Tsunami in Sri Lanka . Her generosity and compassion has been an inspiration to so many of us in the JMU community. Her presentation on March 17, 2005 , "Lessons Learned in a Distant Land : Hope and Resilience in Sri Lanka " eloquently communicated the important message how each of us can make a difference in the world.  Dr. Stewart stated that "there is no more robust finding than the power of one caring adult to change the life of a child".

For the past two years, Dr. Stewart has led colleagues and students in providing support and consultation to families with members serving in military service in Afghanistan and Iraq . Every month, she and a group of students join these families in a local National Guard Armory for dinner and meaningful conversation about their emotional experience of the separation.

Dr. Stewart's gift is to make students feel connected and supported, allowing them to express outrage and sadness while supplying them with the tools they need to become educated, enlightened and active world citizens. Anne's students learn to adopt this commitment to service and advocacy. For example, every year since 1991 they have helped with activities for Child Abuse Prevention Month, giving them first hand experience in working toward the common good.

Dr. Stewart has been an interprofessional team leader in humanitarian demising efforts for the JMU Mine Action Information Center since 1996. Working as a consultant and project director in mine awareness activities in Bosnia and Viet Nam to help keep children and families safe from the dangers of land mines.

Within the past year, Anne developed an innovative class in ethical decision making in collaboration with faculty across multiple health and human service disciplines. This initiative advanced community building and ! modeled effective communication and collaboration within JMU.

The Department of Graduate Psychology hopes that your committee give serious consideration to recognizing Dr. Anne Stewart for her long standing and on-going contributions to our JMU community.

Sincerely,

Members of the Personnel Advisory Committee

Harriet Cobb
Christine DeMars
Lennie Echterling
Ashton Trice
Michele Kielty-Briggs
Richard West

I, along with fellow ODK member Jessica McKay, have asked friends and colleagues of Dr. Stewart to elaborate more on this remarkable individual. The following are some of their comments, which show the tremendous gifts that Anne Stewart offers to this campus.

Anne's commitment to children extends beyond a typical professional commitment.  She makes personal sacrifices and invests heartily in the lives of so many who need a loving touch.  Anne is  a role model for students and faculty alike.  I'm not sure we could reach her level of expertise and caring if we gave it our best--she is truly extraordinary. – Michele Kielty-Briggs.

Anne Stewart is committed to the idea that each of us can and should do something to make the world a safer place. Anne's work , at JMU and outside, mostly involves making the world safer for children and families. Anne LOVES children. She is famous for her playfulness - visible in her beautiful web sites, colorful clothes and wacky earrings, and in her work as a play therapist. She is a delight to work with. Warm, hard working and great fun. – Dr. Sheena Rogers

I end with a very touching account of Dr. Stewarts contributions and commitment she has made to not only JMU but to the world, written by Lennis G. Echterling, Ph.D.

 

Some Reflections on Anne Stewart

One element of Anne's work that I truly admire is her unquestionably heart-felt involvement in the scholarly projects she develops.  Anne's manner is not one of a disengaged researcher. Rather, she cares deeply about these issues and her hard work is obviously fueled by her curiosity and personal involvement. Students, as well as other faculty, find her engaged and energized approach to be contagious.

In addition to her personal energy, Anne brings a wonderfully creative view to her scholarly work.  She skillfully weaves concepts from a rich diversity of fields, professions, and cultures.  Anne also has a playful manner that can stimulate free thinking and spark innovative ideas.

I have had the pleasure of working with Anne on a number of presentations and publications.  What I have treasured about these experiences has been the support, encouragement, and generosity of spirit that Anne invariably offers to me, as well as others.   A collaborator in the truest sense of the word, Anne brings out the best in her colleagues.

It never ceases to amaze me how enormously active Anne is in offering professional service at all levels – program, school, university, community, state, national, and international.  I will only pick several activities as examples.  First, Anne is the inspiration and motivating force behind the Virginia Association for Play Therapy (VAPT).  She is the founding president, annual conference organizer, and greatest advocate for the association.  Without Anne, I am certain that VAPT would not exist.  Every year, I have been awed as Anne shifts into “planning gear” for the annual VAPT conference.  She energetically pursues nationally-known presenters and workshop leaders.  She creatively develops logos, themes, and mementos.  And she organizes workers to assure that the participants are able to register easily, find their way to sessions, and have productive conference experiences.

Another example of Anne's commitment to service is her work in humanitarian demining.  She has dedicated countless hours to developing and directing programs that reduce the risk of injuries and deaths to people of all ages who live in war-torn countries where millions of land mines are hidden killers. Anne has been tireless in her efforts to make the world a safer place.  Expertly applying community psychology concepts and approaches, she designed community education materials, organized peer education programs, and supervised projects in such landmine plagued places as Viet Nam and Bosnia .

Finally, I want to mention Anne's recent trip to Sri Lanka , where she used her play therapy skills to work with children who had survived the devastating tsunami that struck there.  Anne endured hardships and dangers as she went from village to village to help children give expression to their experiences. Surrounded by the rubble of the disaster, Anne was able to connect with these children through the universal language--play.  She engaged with them at such an empathic level that she was able not only to understand their heartaches and pain, but also to appreciate their spirit and resilience.  I'll never forget her touching stories of her encounters with these children.

Anne is both playful and soulful.  She brings out the best in the rest of us because she put so much of herself in all that she does.

Again, I would like to congratulate Dr. Anne Stewart for her incredibleness that we are so honored to award her with the ATO award. Thank you.

 

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