Columbus Mayor Recognizes CSU Professor as Educator of the Year

[caption id="attachment_3118" align="alignright" width="300"]L-R Justin Mahone, Jay O'Neal, Mayor Theresa Tomlinson, Dr. Jeanine Wert From left: Justin Malone, Jay O'Neal, Mayor Theresa Tomlinson, Dr. Jeanine Wert[/caption]

COLUMBUS — Jeanine Wert, an associate professor in Columbus State University’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science, was honored as 2014 Educator of the Year at the Mayor's Disability Day Awards ceremony in mid-July.

Wert received the award from Columbus Mayor Theresa Tomlinson during the Columbus Civic Center event. The Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities sponsored the award.

Wert was recognized for her work leading, annually since 2012, CSU’s Camp Abilities, which was held May 23-26 this year. The university partnered with the Georgia Blind Sports Association on this residential camp for youths, age 9-18,who are blind or visually impaired. Participants stayed on campus and engaged in an array of sports and recreational activities modified to make them safer. Several activities involved devices such as balls that emit a beeping sound or had participants working in tandem with sighted majors in the department’s degree programs.

“Her Camp Abilities program, for children with disabilities, has truly impacted our community in a profound way,” said Tara Underwood, chair of Wert’s department.  “She’s a phenomenal member of the CSU faculty, and we’re very proud of her accomplishment.”

Wert, who joined CSU’s physical education faculty in 2008, holds degrees from West Chester University in Pennsylvania, State University of New York (Brockport) and Auburn University. Joy Thomas, an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science nominated her for the award.

A current student and a recent graduate also were honored at the awards ceremony, now in its 42nd year. Justin Malone, a junior biology major from LaGrange received the Youth Award in recognition for his work as an advocate for people with disabilities. Jay O’Neal of Phenix City, who graduated with a communication degree in 2013, received the Exceptional Service award recognizing a person who’s provided service to the disabled community. O’Neal is currently the executive director of the Contact Disability Resource Center in Columbus.

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