2021 Leadership and Rising Star Award Recipients

DAWN Leadership Award Recipient

Dr. Denise Wells

Denise Wells

After obtaining her nursing diploma from Beebe Medical Center School of Nursing, Denise received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing leadership from Wilmington University. She earned her Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Wilmington University, publishing research entitled, Exploring the Relationship between Role Strain and Academic Persistence of Female Registered Nurses. Along the way, Denise has also attained such accomplishments as: national certification through the National League for Nursing as a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE), presenting for Neumann University’s Faculty Technology Day and the Northeast E-Learning Consortium, co-authoring a Position Statement on Educational Preparation for Delaware’s Nurse Leaders, and serving as doctoral project chair for both DNP and Ed.D. doctoral students.

Prior to her roles as Dean and RN-BSN Program Coordinator, Denise served as the Director of Nursing of a free-standing, ambulatory surgery center. Additionally, her 25 years of nursing experience encompassed clinical faculty for the Beebe School of Nursing, perioperative nurse educator, women’s health, community health, emergency nursing, and sexual assault nurse examiner. Denise serves on a number of professional boards, some of which include: DTCC Community College Nursing Advisory Board, Margaret H Rollins School of Nursing Advisory Board, WorWic Community College PAC, Sussex Academy Charter Executive Board (Past-President and Vice-President), and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing Omicron Gamma Chapter. She has been recognized by Delaware Today for Excellence in Nursing, earned the Citizenship Award during the Leukemia and Lymphoma Woman of the Year Campaign, and has been honorary guest speaker at nurse excellence ceremonies and commencements.

Denise is a Wilmington University Change Champion for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; serves on the inaugural President’s Mentoring Council, an effort dedicated to ensuring the success of first-year students; and contributes to the Enrollment Pipeline Task Force as part of the University’s Strategic Planning. Denise’s leadership extends into community roles as DE Shore Field Hockey Board of Directors, Sussex Academy Sports Boosters Secretary, and Wilmington University Cheerleading Faculty Mentor.

DAWN Rising Star Award Recipients

Jill Austin

Jill Austin

Jill Austin began her teaching career as an elementary teacher in 1998. In 2012, she joined Delaware Technical Community College as an adjunct for the Education Department. She became a full-time instructor for the department in 2014, and in 2018, she was promoted as the acting Instructional Coordinator. Jill’s passion for teaching is evident, and in 2019, she received the Excellence in Teaching award from Delaware Tech.  In her current role, Jill teaches several early childhood education courses to share her expertise in the field. She serves as a program advisor and as mentor for the New Faculty Development program. In addition, she oversees adjunct faculty for the department. Jill is a member of several collegewide committees such as the Instructional Innovation Committee and the Graduation Committee. She also served as a co-chair for United Way.  She has assisted in course development and redesign for the Education Department as well.  Jill earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Frostburg State University in 1998 and a Master of Education in Instruction from Wilmington University in 2008.  She currently resides in Dover, DE with her 12-year-old son, Carter. During her free time, Jill enjoys spending time with family and friends, shopping, reading books, and taking her dogs for walks.

Danielle Craig

Danielle Craig

Danielle is a devoted educator with over 18 years of combined experience in secondary and higher education, business development, marketing, and coaching families and individuals. She is a Dover, Delaware native with a heart for the youth and serving her community. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Business Management and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing Management from Wilmington University. Danielle works at Delaware State University as an Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, Experiential Learning and Honors, and an Adjunct Instructor. Danielle is the Immediate Past President of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League’s Young Professionals, a volunteer auxiliary of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League that targets young professionals ages 21-40 to empower their communities and change lives through the Urban League Movement. In the summer of 2021, Danielle won the Leadership Builder of the Year Award, and the 2021 #MillSummit Impact Award. In April 2020, she was appointed to the Delaware Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, serves as a Board Member for the Kuumba Academy Charter School, a member of the Education Equity Delaware Steering Committee, and is an active member of Crossroad Christian Church. With her experience and expertise, Danielle hopes to do her part to help young men and women find their passion, navigate the complexities of adulthood, and walk confidently into their future.

Dr. Keeley Powell

Keeley Powell

Dr. Keeley Powell holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Delaware, where she works as senior assistant dean in the university’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. As Senior Assistant Dean for Student Services in CEOE, she leads the college’s student recruitment and retention efforts, assisting students in maximizing their success at UD. She previously worked for University of Delaware’s Graduate College as Director of Graduate Recruiting and Diversity, and prior to that she served in multiple roles promoting  undergraduate student success at Rowan University. In addition to her professional work at the university, she also serves President of the Christina School District Board of Education. Dr. Powell lives in Newark, DE with her husband, Imani and their three children.

Education
Ed.D., Educational Leadership, University of Delaware, 2011
M.A., Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, 2005
B.A., Educational Studies, University of Delaware, 2002

Maureen Tomey

Maureen Tomey

Maureen Tomey has worked in event management within the higher education and continuing medical education sphere since 2003. Prior to working in Alumni Affairs at Goldey-Beacom College, Maureen took on dual roles of both an undergraduate student and a Psy.D. Admissions Program Coordinator at Widener University. She then went to work for the American Board of Surgery and AO North America in Philadelphia, managing board certification examinations, symposiums, international retreats, and CME courses designed for doctors and surgeons of various specialties. The position at Goldey-Beacom College came along at an opportune moment in her life, when the intensifying travel demands of her previous roles were no longer sustainable. Maureen set her sights on continuing a career in event management while staying closer to home and was also eager to return to the family-like environment of a college campus. In her current role at Goldey-Beacom College, Maureen creates innovative programs to redefine alumni engagement, both on and off campus. She works closely with the Alumni Board of Directors to understand alumni needs and interests and identify effective points of engagement for various age groups. In 2020, she spearheaded a strategic initiative to create an Alumni Mentorship Program and organized an advisory committee to identify the parameters and technological needs of the program. Maureen most enjoys collaboration with other departments on multi-departmental events like Legacy Weekend and Convocation. She has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in her role to significantly boost attendance numbers at all alumni events throughout the year, as well as reengage alumni who had lost touch with the College. Maureen is a voracious reader and loves to write. She and her husband Keith live in Landenberg, Pennsylvania with their daughter Miranda.

Ashlee Youmans

Ashlee Youmans

Ashlee has been a valued employee with Wilmington University since 2015 as a part-time site associate. One of the things that made us recognize that Ashlee was special early on was that she had the personality and characteristics that would make her an excellent coach to students and a leader amongst her peers. Ashlee quickly became a full-time site associate and within two years transitioned to an academic advising position. Ashlee is caring, puts other first, has a genuine interest in seeing others succeed, listens constructively, and she constantly strives to make herself a better advisor to better serve our students.

Ashlee was selected as a member of the 2019-2020 Leadership Institute for Wilmington University. During her time in the Leadership Institute, Ashlee worked closely with other employees, developing practical applications to support Wilmington University. Ashlee is not only an Academic Advisor in higher education, but she is a student as well. She has never been content to stay where she is in terms of her own education, earning two Master’s degree and currently working towards a doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership at Delaware State University. She often discusses what she is learning in her own classes to continue to help WilmU students. Ashlee works tirelessly for Wilmington University students, going the extra mile to help them, whether it takes ten phone calls or multiple e-mail communications to assist students. She always puts the student first and empathizes with their situation. She is a soft-spoken powerhouse when it comes to embracing the WilmU mission. Ashlee resides in Sussex County with her husband, two daughters, and fur baby.