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STLCC Faculty Members to Receive Emerson Awards

Thursday, October 21, 2021


Two St. Louis Community College faculty members have been chosen to receive the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award for 2021.

STLCC’s recipients this year are Elizabeth “Neko” Pilarcik-Tellez, assistant professor in graphic communications at Florissant Valley; and Robyn Barrett, professor of accounting at Meramec.

Sponsored by Emerson, the award annually recognizes approximately 100 educators in the St. Louis metropolitan area – from kindergarten teachers to college professors – who are examples of excellence in their field. The awards will be presented later this fall.

Elizabeth "Neko" Pilarcik-TellezElizabeth “Neko” Pilarcik-Tellez teaches animation and motion graphics courses in addition to serving as lead faculty for the graphic communications program and cochair of the Women’s History Month Committee. She also serves on the College Instructional Delivery Advisory Group and Campus Planning Transformation Team. She previously served on Florissant Valley’s Senate and Senate Assessment Committee.

Pilarcik-Tellez currently is working on documentation for the upcoming accreditation review by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design, as well as the Galley Committee, the upcoming graphic communications program review, and updating articulation agreements with universities.

Always eager to connect her students with professional opportunities, Pilarcik-Tellez actively seeks out ways for her students to gain professional experience while studying at STLCC. She’s in the process of setting up an internship program with an animation studio in New York, so students can work remotely as animation assistants on TV productions. As faculty advisor of the Graphic Arts Association, she’s created opportunities for club members to exhibit and sell their work professionally at events such as St. Louis Comic Con and Anime St. Louis. Her students routinely work for clients at STLCC and in the community, producing animation and motion graphics for organizations such as the EVOLVE Project and TRIO. As part of STLCC’s all-virtual 2021 Women’s History Month celebration, Pilarcik-Tellez’s students created and animated short videos about the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the important role women continue to play in Civil Rights movements today. The best videos were featured in “Valiant Women of the Vote,” an online-art exhibition.

Pilarcik-Tellez loves working with and mentoring students and many seek out her guidance long after graduation. Having graduated from STLCC-Florissant Valley herself, she knows firsthand the positive impact dedicated professors can have on a student’s life, and she is constantly striving to live up to the example set by her professors.

Robyn BarrettRobyn Barrett joined STLCC in January 2007. Prior to joining academia, she worked 15 years in the business industry, including eight years of information systems work and seven years in public accounting.

In July, Barret was selected as a recipient of the American Accounting Association/J. Michael and Mary Anne Cook/Deloitte Foundation Prize. The award recognizes superior teachers in the discipline of accounting. Barrett was selected as one of just three winners and earned the prize in the two-year college educator category.

Barrett is also an active AAA volunteer and has served as the cochair of organization’s Conference on Teaching and Learning in Accounting. She is a past two-time president of the Missouri Association of Accounting Educators.

In 2014 and 2021, Barrett received the League for Innovation’s Excellence Award for teaching. She was named the Outstanding Accounting and Legal Studies Faculty Member at STLCC in 2017. Barrett won the Two-Year College Educator of the Year in 2017-18 from the American Accounting Association, recognizing her as an educator who demonstrates innovative and engaging teaching practices within the college accounting classroom. She also was named a 2021 Meramec Rise-Up Award winner.

Barrett has worked with as well as coordinated her campus’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for the many years.

“I am proud to be recognized among so many other qualified faculty members,” Barrett said. “We all try to continue to creatively engage and mold our student's success,” she said. “Working toward this goal is why we are all here, to help the everyday, ordinary student flourish. Our encouraging practices and words can change lives.”

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