Faculty and Students Honored at 2023 Celebration of Excellence

By Alyssa Trudeau
April 3, 2023

Texas Pharmacy faculty and students are not afraid to blaze trails, follow their curiosity and experiment—they are the exemplars of burnt orange excellence. On Wednesday, March 29, The University of Texas at Austin’s Pharmacy Council honored and celebrated top educators and student pharmacists from across the college at its 2023 Celebration of Excellence. 

A photo of Dr. Ashley Castleberry holding her award plaque. She has curly brown hair and is wearing back, round-framed glasses and a navy dress with red and white flowers on it.

Class of 2026 Teaching Excellence Award Winner
Dr. Ashley Castleberry

"Hearing Dr. Castleberry talk about her path into academia has inspired me to think of ways to pave my own path."

Fellow nominees: 
Zhengrong Cui
Walter Fast 
Kimberly Nixon 
Sharon Rush 
Laura Fonken




A photo of Dr. Grace Lee holding her award plaque. She has straight, shoulder-length brown hair and is wearing a multi-colored floral-patterned dress with long sleeves.

Class of 2025 Teaching Excellence Award Winner
Dr. Grace Lee

"Dr. Lee shows an authentic and enthusiastic interesting in student learning."

Fellow nominees: 
Seongmin Lee
Mohammed Maniruzzaman
Amanda Stallings
Rebecca Moote
W. Renee' Acosta




A photo of Dr. Holli Temple holding her award plaque. Dr. Temple has shoulder-length brown hair and is wearing a bright red dress with bell sleeves.

Class of 2024 Teaching Excellence Award Winner
Dr. Holli Temple

"Dr. Temple is my FPD mentor, and she has spent time helping me with my CV and has encouraged me to pursue leadership roles. She also checks in to make sure I am doing okay and reviews material in areas that I struggle with."

Fellow nominees: 
Jim Koeller
Kathryn Litten
M. Lynn Crismon
Laurajo Ryan
Samantha Catanzano



A headshot of Dr. Chris Whitman smiling to camera in a navy blue suit and tie over a white collared shirt.

Outstanding Faculty Advisor
Dr. Christian Whitman

"Dr. Whitman made me feel confident in myself and my abilities."

Fellow nominees:
Walter Fast
W. Renee' Acosta
Justina Amie-Lipscomb
Lindsey Loera
Justin Samuel
Jenna Summerlin
M. Lynn Crismon
Samantha Catanzano 



A photo of Renee' holding her award plaque. She is wearing a chocolate brown, long-sleeved dress with a turquoise statement necklace.

Pharmacy Educator of the Year
Renee' Acosta

"Dean Acosta listened to my interests and passions in pharmacy and helped me find the right path to express those outlets We researched pharmacy informatics programs together and she led me to the UTHealth SBMI program. She didn't stop there, she then proceeded to help get me a recommendation letter to enter the program and checked in on me during my time with them."

Fellow nominees: 
Christian Whitman
Ashley Castleberry
Mohammed Maniruzzaman



Dr. Catanzano holding her award plaque. She has straight blonde hair and is wearing a black top and blazer over taupe pants.

Ambulatory IPPE Preceptor of the Year
Dr. Samantha Catanzano

"Dr. Catanzano is always incredibly helpful when it comes to providing feedback to students for their professional growth, which is something very important for our success. In addition, she always makes herself easily accessible for students when needing any assistance in professional projects or needing clarification in class."

Fellow IPPE Preceptor of the Year nominees:
Sarah Hallowell
Jeff Warnken
Melissa Thompson
Brady Helmink



A photo of Jeff Warnken holding his award plaque. He is wearing a black suit jacket with a patterned yellow and grey tie.

Community IPPE Preceptor of the Year
Dr. Jeff Warnken

"Jeff was an excellent C-IPPE preceptor. I didn't have any community experience before my C-IPPE, and Jeff immediately began teaching me everything he knew about community pharmacy. He always shared his passion for all his patients with me, which was an aspect of community pharmacy that I was not expecting to see. Jeff taught me so much, and he was an excellent preceptor!" 

Fellow IPPE Preceptor of the Year nominees:
Samantha Catanzano
Sarah Hallowell
Melissa Thompson
Brady Helmink


Institutional IPPE Preceptor of the Year
Dr. Melissa Thompson

"She helped me get a good grasp on clinical pharmacy and always made herself available to answer my questions."

Fellow IPPE Preceptor of the Year nominees:
Samantha Catanzano
Sarah Hallowell
Jeff Warnken
Melissa Thompson
Brady Helmink

Outstanding Teaching Assistant
Dr. Ted Sohn

"Ted's passion for teaching goes beyond the lab. He has not only helped us master the material, but he also takes time to provide professional advice and support that has been instrumental in shaping our pharmacy careers. His untiring commitment and dedication to his students makes him a true gem in the College of Pharmacy."

Fellow nominee:
Andrew Wash

Collin Blackwell holding his award plaque. He is wearing round glasses, a navy suit and blue tie.

Pharm.D. Academic Peer Support Excellence Award
Collin Blackwell

"He continually went out of his way to make sure that we were prepared and that he was doing everything in his power to help us, even if he had a lot on his plate at the time. Even this semester when he wasn't a TA/tutor for us anymore, he is still helping us by creating study guides for us. He has helped me more than any tutor or professor ever has before."

Fellow nominees:
Riley Russell
Omar Luna
Vanessa Esparza
Sadika Eslaminejad
Tammy Nguyen
Phillip Bailey

Service Event of the Year
C.D. Doyle Clinic - Project Collaborate

"This service event is a true culmination of so many pillars of our pharmacy educators. The C.D. Doyle Clinic combines interprofessional work, DEAI issues and application of our clinical knowledge in one setting through service. The Esperanza Community of south Austin is home to some incredible individuals seeking care. Our pharmacy students had the opportunity to perform point-of-care testing, medication reconciliations, OTC and prescription counseling. I love attending clinic and seeing how pharmacy fits into the patient encounter. Each student gets to be on a healthcare team and provide a medication interview and update the patient's pharmacy record. Helping these people who are experiencing homelessness is so rewarding, and I'm proud that I got to serve as a clinic liaison this school year."

Fellow nominees:
Hypertension/Cardiovascular Event - SCAHEC & KYM
H-E-B Feast of Sharing - Project Collaborate
Fern Bluff Science Night - UT-SSHP

Two Project Collaborate members sitting at a booth.

Tiffany Dinh holding her award plaque. She is wearing a black blazer over a red top. Tiffany has very long brown hair and is wearing wire-framed glasses.

Benjamin Reed Leader in Pharmacy Award
Tiffany Dinh

"Tiffany exceeds every single pillar needed to qualify for The Benjamin Reed Leader in Pharmacy Award. She embodies leadership in a myriad of ways from student organization involvement to giving back to the community that she hopes to serve as a pharmacist one day. She is a friend and a mentor that I look up to, and I hope to achieve a fraction of the many accomplishments she has fulfilled. Tiffany always keeps her ears peeled for opportunities not just for herself, but for those around her as well, embodying true selflessness. The University of Texas College of Pharmacy is lucky to have such an outstanding student focused on advancing and leading the profession of pharmacy."

Fellow nominees:
Ryan Bloesser
Jeff Cai
Hannah McCullough

DEAI Champions
Dean John Richburg - Faculty Award Winner
Dr. Morgan Stewart - Faculty Award Winner
Charity Crockett - P3 Student Winner
Jennifer Tran - P2 Student Appreciation Award Winner
McKenzie Erwin - P2 Student Appreciation Award Winner

A DEAI Champion is an outstanding individual who makes significant contributions to help create a more diverse, equitable, accessible and inclusive culture in the College of Pharmacy through their excellent service, teaching, research and/or academic endeavors.

The DEAI Champion award winners standing together holding their plaques.
L-R: Dean John Richburg, Charity Crockett, Dr. Carolyn Brown, McKenzie Erwin, Jennifer Tran and Dr. Morgan Stewart.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! Download the full Celebration of Excellence presentation to view the Student Superlative Award Winners.