Bluefield College

Font Size: A A A

BC Employees Earn Distinctions

A host of Bluefield College faculty and staff were involved in a variety of professional distinctions and transitions during the spring of 2016.

Chris Shoemaker

June 30, 2016

Dr. Abigail Heiniger


Dr. Rob Merritt


Dr. Donna Watson (left) and Brenda Workman


Dr. Maria Zalduondo


Dr. Bonny Dillon was promoted from associate professor of psychology to full professor of psychology and acknowledged for her exemplary teaching both in the classroom and online, as well as her service to the college as a faculty advisor for Psi Chi and a member of the Institutional Review Board; her profession as a participant of the Appalachian College Association’s Writing and Teaching Institute and the Jessie Ball duPont Summer Seminar; and the community as an active member of Tazewell Baptist Church and the American Red Cross.


Dr. Kevin Downer, assistant professor of exercise science and director of BC’s sports management program, was a featured expert for an article on the finances of the Super Bowl on, a personal finance resource web site.


Yvonne Harris, adjunct instructor for education and a student teaching supervisor, was appointed to the Board of Ordained Ministries of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. She was also named as Conference trustee. She represented the John Stewart United Methodist Church at the Annual Conference in June.


Dr. Abigail Heiniger, assistant professor of English, published a book titled Jane Eyre’s Fairytale Legacy at Home and Abroad. The book offers a compelling evaluation of female choice and empowerment in Brontë’s most popular work. Dr. Heiniger has a Ph.D. in English literature, master’s degrees in English literature and humanities, literature and art history, and a bachelor’s degree in Honors English and humanities.


Jennifer Lamb, assistant registrar and assessment counselor, was promoted to registrar. Lamb came to BC in the fall of 2013 with nine years of higher education administration experience, including seven years of work with veteran students. She also has experience with multiple database systems and has served as BC’s veterans certifying official, working closely with students who receive veteran’s benefits for education.


Dr. Emily Lambert was promoted from assistant professor of biology to associate professor of biology and acknowledged for her exemplary teaching and her service to the college as chair of the Department of Biology and dean of the School of Sciences; her profession as a member of multiple professional organizations; and the community as an active member and Sunday School teacher at Carr United Methodist Church.


Abbey LeRoy joined the Bluefield College staff as a traditional admissions counselor after working as an administrative assistant for the Wade Center and a marketing assistant for the Ben Lippen School in South Carolina. Leroy holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible teaching and a master’s degree in theological studies from Columbia International University.


Wener Lind was promoted from assistant librarian to full librarian and acknowledged for his service to the college, his profession, the church and the community. In addition, his review of Shane Joseph’s novel In the Shadow of the Conquistador was published in the December 2015 issue of The Sri Lankan Anchorman, an English-language monthly newspaper that caters to the Sri Lankan diaspora. Lind’s other publications include additional reviews and articles, four short stories, and a novel, titled Lifeblood. He is also an active member of the Association of Christian Librarians.


Burma McChesney joined the college as director of the Fine Arts Community School (FACS). A graduate of Morehead State University, McChesney’s previous professional experience includes work in marketing and operations for Community Trust Bank in Pikeville, Kentucky, where she was also a member of the Pikeville Concert Association, Pike County Tourism Committee, Pikeville Kiwanis Club, and the local square dance club. She has been a volunteer for FACS for several years.


Dr. Rob Merritt, professor and dean of the College of Arts and Letters, presented two workshops at the National Association for Poetry Therapy Annual Conference in Kansas City, Missouri: “Yoga Poetics: A Body, Heart and Mind Experience” and “Re-Mythologize Your Life,” looking at “mythic” poems by Rumi, Lawrence, Gluck, Eliot, Frost and others. Dr. Merritt is a frequent presenter at NAPT annual conferences. He has also served the organization as vice president and a member of the Executive Council and won the group’s Distinguished Service Award. In addition, Dr. Merritt has been selected by the Council of Independent Colleges to participate in a summer seminar on Teaching Interfaith Understanding at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.


Dr. Sharon Perot, dean of the College of Professional Programs and chair of the Department of Business, served as a featured expert in an article on auto financing on, an online resource designed to help consumers and small business owners make better financial decisions and save money. In the article, Dr. Perot shared her insights on the state of auto financing and how to make the car buying process more transparent and hassle free.


Dr. Charles Priest was promoted from assistant professor of music to associate professor of music and acknowledged for his exemplary teaching and his service to the college as chair of the Department of Music and director of Instrumental Music Programs; his profession as a member of multiple professional organizations and a frequent presenter and soloist at conferences and events; and the community as an active member of First Baptist Church, the East River Mountain Town Band and Blue Mountain Performing Arts.


Dr. Ben Thorburn, assistant professor of music, departed Bluefield College to become an associate professor of music and director of choral activities at Chowan University. Dr. Thorburn joined BC’s music faculty in the fall of 2012, and during his four years of service he taught music history, music appreciation, voice, diction and vocal pedagogy; conducted the college’s auditioned choir, Variations, and the campus-community choir, Masterworks Chorale; and served as director of vocal studies. He has also taught in the BC Honors Program.


Amy Walker, a traditional admissions counselor, bid farewell to BC. Recognized for her “wonderful spirit” and a “tremendous work ethic,” Walker joined the BC staff in the fall of 2014 after working for a non-profit organization promoting mental and spiritual wellness in teens. She also served the BC Admissions Office as an event coordinator.


Hannah Whited joined the BC family as director of registration services and coordinator of BC Central. A graduate of Bluefield State College, Whited comes to BC from CONSOL Energy and CNX Gas and Land, where she served as a field engineer.


April Workman, adjunct instructor for teacher education, successfully defended her dissertation to complete the requirements for a Ph.D in education: curriculum and instruction, specializing in special education. Dr. Workman taught full-time for the Teacher Education Program for two years before returning to public schools to teach special education. She teaches online special education courses for BC.


Brenda Workman, assistant director of student success and retention, was promoted to director of student success and retention. In her new position she will serve as director of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) where she will oversee student success courses, workshops on academic success, and one-on-one academic coaching sessions. Workman joined the BC staff full time in the fall of 2011 as an administrative assistant for enrollment management after working part-time as director of the Fine Arts Community School. She was soon promoted to an admissions counselor for online students before joining the ACE.


Jay Wright joined the BC faculty as a professor of accounting and health care management. Professor Wright is pursuing a Ph.D. in accounting and health care management from Northcentral University. He also serves on the faculty at New River Community College.


Dr. Maria Zalduondo, associate professor of languages, received a grant from the Appalachian College Association to work on a project researching the golden age of journals edited and produced by Mexican women. She will present her findings at the Appalachian College Association Annual Summit in September 2016.





Leave a Comment: