The Awards Committee of the Bethel College Alumni Association announced this year’s award recipients:
Young Alumnus Award
Palwasha Kakar, Kabul, Afghanistan, majored in Bible and religion and minored in peace studies, graduating in 1999 with a bachelor of arts degree.
Kakar started work Jan. 27 as a senior program staff member in the Religion and Peacemaking Department at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., helping to manage programs in at least five countries.
Most recently, she was the Afghanistan director of Women’s Empowerment and Development Programs for The Asia Foundation, overseeing seven projects and writing proposals that won $30 million in funding. Before that, Kakar managed programs on local governance, civil society, education and gender, and a nationwide small grants program with United Nations Development Programme in Afghanistan. She also has worked with The Gender Studies Institute and the World Bank.
Kakar will receive the Young Alumnus Award during convocation in spring, tentatively scheduled for March 14.
Distinguished Achievement Award
Peter Goering, Silver Spring, Md., majored in natural sciences,graduating in 1977 with a bachelor of arts degree. He is a research toxicologist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
At the FDA, his work mostly has been devoted to regulatory research. Two areas of research he’s involved in are nanotechnology/nanotoxicoloy and biomarkers of toxicity. Goering has published more than 70 research articles in peer-review journals; has received national and international recognition for research in toxicology of metals, biomarkers of toxicity and nanotechnology/nanotoxicology; and has established a multi-disciplinary research effort in nanotechnology/nanotoxicology with other scientists.
In 2006, he was elected by his peers the title of "Fellow" in the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, and in 2013, he was chosen to the Society of Toxicology’s four-year presidential chain and will serve as president in 2015-16.
Goering will receive the award during the Alumni Banquet at noon Saturday, June 7.
Outstanding Alumnus Award
Leona Penner, Lincoln, Neb., majored in mathematics and languages (German), graduating in 1966 with a bachelor of arts degree.
Penner retired in May 2012 after teaching mathematics for 46 years. From 1970-2013, she taught an integrated math course specifically designed for gifted and motivated students. The program is called Elements of Mathematics, although in Lincoln, it became known as "Penner Math" because it defined her and she defined it. Penner was honored in 1987, 2006 and 2008 in Washington, D.C., as most influential teacher of a Presidential Scholar Winner with three different students. Other honors include being nominated as Teacher of the Year for Lincoln public schools in 1982, selected as a Nebraska Math Scholar as one of 66 outstanding Nebraska teachers chosen in 1986-88; and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching in 1989.
She will be presented with the alumnus award during the Alumni Banquet at noon Saturday, June 7.
These individuals already know they’ve been selected. More information on them and their respective awards will be distributed through Bethel College Context magazine, at www.bethelks.edu/alumni/alumni-awards/; and the public media.