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Congratulations to the 2020 NSH Award Recipients


Histotech of the Decade, Sponsored by Epredia: Lena Spencer

Lena Spencer has played an active role in the National Society for Histotechnology for the past several decades, serving in numerous offices from Region Director to President, to her current position as representative to the ASCP BOC. Lena was instrumental in the development of the quality assurance program HistoQIP developed in collaboration with CAP. She has described herself as a cheerleader for the profession, always interested in what is new, and advocating on behalf of histologists everywhere.


Luminary Award: Gayle Callis

Gayle Callis has a passion for sharing her deep breadth of histology knowledge with her peers, whether that be through posts on the Block, workshop presentations, or her current role as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Histotechnology. She has greatly increased the prestige and visibility of the Journal by getting it indexed on PubMed. She has been an NSH member since it’s inception and actively promotes the Society through her post as representative to organizations such as the Biological Stain Commission.


President’s Award: Clare Thornton

Clare Thornton has served NSH in numerous capacities over the years, including Region I Director and Chair of the Membership Committee. She has represented NSH at CDC and CLIAC meetings, where she has advocated for recognition for histology as a profession under CLIA regulations.





Editor’s Award: Luis Chiriboga

Luis Chiriboga was chosen by JOH Editor, Gayle Callis as this year’s Editor’s Award recipient for his fantastic work as an Editorial Board member. His expertise in reproducibility of IHC protocols is evident in recent JOH publications. He serves as a reviewer, and will this year be guest editor to a special issue on validation. In addition to his JOH work, Luis also serves NSH as Region I Director, member of the CLIA Task Force, Strategic Planning Task Force, and IHC Committees. He is also active in his local New York State Society, previously serving as President and Vice President.


Diamond Cover Award: Liz Chlipala

Liz Chlipala, who is currently serving as NSH’s Treasurer, is an active NSH member who routinely shares her expertise via workshop presentations and responses on NSH’s member community, The Block. She receives this award for her Journal of Histotechnology publication, Optical density based image analysis method for the evaluation of hematoxylin and eosin staining precision. Journal of Histotechnology, 43(1):29-37. She is assisted by coauthors Christine M. Bendzinski, Kevin Chue, Johsua I. Johnson, Miles A. Brous, Karen Copeland, and Brad Bolon.


Histotechnologist of the Year, Sponsored by Epredia: LaVinia Ray

LaVinia Ray, current NSH Awards Committee Chair, and President of the Alabama State Society, is described by her peers as a leader who resolves conflicts, is innovative, and embraces change. LaVinia has risen from Histology Technician II to Manager, Anatomic Pathology and Central Repository at Southern Research and she is now dedicated to mentoring the new techs among her staff to make sure they receive the same opportunities for career advancement.



Lee Luna Foreign Travel Scholarship, Sponsored by Sakura Finetek USA: Evelyn Diaz

Evelyn Diaz graduated from a histology program in Baguio City, Philippines, coming to the US soon afterwards. She found work as a lab assistant and quickly worked her way up to Scientist at Navigate BioPharma Services where she specializes in Chromogenic IHC and Multiplex Fluorescence IHC. She plans on using this scholarship in collaboration with the Philippine Society for Histotechnology to bring much needed histology education to her home country.



Newcomer Helping Hand Scholarship, Sponsored by Newcomer Supply: Regina Vontell

Regina has an impressive educational resume, completing her graduate studies at the University of Connecticut where she focused on components of the basal ganglia for research related to developing parkinsonian models in rats. After completing her Master’s she went on to get her Doctorate at King’s College London. Regina Vontell currently works as a Research Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Brain Endowment Bank in Miami, Florida. She is planning on using this scholarship to help fund her research on visualization of the inflammasome, which will improve our current understanding of psychiatric disorders.



Excellence in Standardization of IHC, Sponsored by Dako/Agilent: Jeremy Johnston

Jeremy Johnston, Region VIII Director, and HistoQIP committee grader, has a passion for IHC which is clearly demonstrated in his role at Virginia Mason Medical Center. When he started there were no active IHC or ISH validations and now there are 30 being currently worked on. He has created an efficient system for bringing on new antibodies and makes sure his staff is adequately trained in how to work up and validate these new additions. He routinely shares his expertise outside his lab, presenting workshops for NSH and commenting on NSH’s member community, The Block.


Leica Leadership in Management Scholarship, Sponsored by Lecia Biosystems: Yongfu Wang

Dr. Yongfu Wang is currently serving as the Associate Editor to the Journal of Histotechnology. In collaboration with Editor, Gayle Callis, he submitted JOH’s application to be indexed by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health pubmed and medline databases, which was accepted this past year. He recently served as guest editor on the 2019 Molecular Histology special issue and will also be assisting on a 2020 Validation special issue. Those are just his volunteer accomplishments. Dr. Wang works as the head of the histology core lab at Stowers Institute for Medical research. He plans to use this scholarship to build upon his management skills to better serve his staff, and grow in his volunteer leadership roles within NSH.



Jules Elias Excellence in IHC Award, Sponsored by Dr. Richard Cartun: Tony Henwood

Tony Henwood, Principal Scientist at the Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia, is the author of over 50 publications, and is currently serving on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Histotechnology. He is receiving the Jules Elias Award for his extensive research in IHC, but he also received an additional special recognition this year for his publication of his JOH article, Coronavirus Disinfection in Histopathology, in February 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This timely publication has been viewed over 58,500 times and has 29 citations in the few months since its publication. It serves as an essential guide for histotechs handling COVID-19 positive specimens and autopsies.



Peggy Wenk Histology Program Scholarship, Sponsored by Sakura Finetek: Beaumont Health System's School of Histotechnology

The Peggy Wenk Histology Program Scholarship was created to honor the legacy of educator, Peggy Wenk, so it is fitting tribute that this year’s winner is the program Peggy herself used to lead. Beaumont Health System’s School of Histotechnology plans to use the funds from this scholarship to invest in digital pathology technology for their students to make virtual learning more accessible and educate them on the growing field of whole slide imaging.



Cancer Diagnostics, Inc. Frank J Monek Memorial Scholarship, Sponsored by Cancer Diagnostics: Hristina Trpevski

Hristina Trpevski migrated to the US from Macedonia at 12 years old. She immersed herself in her new culture, learning the language and acting as interpreter for her parents. She was introduced to the field of histotechnology and attended the Beaumont School of Histotechnology Program in Michigan. She currently works as a Histotechnologist at a dermatopathology lab. In addition to her regular duties, Hristina Trpevski serves as the lab’s safety officer. She is responsible for lab safety checklists, maintaining chemical inventory, and GHS labeling. She plans to use the funds from the scholarship to pursue her Master’s Degree in Safety Management.



Constituent Society: Michigan Society of Histotechnologists

Due to COVID-19, the majority of spring state society meetings were canceled, while others were forced to quickly pivot to a virtual meeting. The Michigan Society of Histotechnologists was able to successfully launch a virtual meeting this past spring and they plan to use the funds from this scholarship to continue to offer online education for their members.



Avantik Educational Scholarship, Sponsored by Avantik: Melissa Ring

Melissa (Lisa) Ring has impressed her supervisors at Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratories, where she has worked to improve quality and consistency. She implemented new workflows and quality assurance procedures, providing personnel with advanced training, so even as quality has improved, turnaround-times and morale have also increased. Lisa is using the scholarship to attend the NSH Virtual Convention.




Epredia Educational Scholarship, Sponsored by Epredia: Bonnie Vezain

Bonnie Vezain was a full time lab technical assistant when she decided to pursue a career in histology. She attended Indiana University and worked with the Billings Clinic to complete her internship. She has now been employed at the Billings Clinic for 14 years and has worked her way up to histology lead. She was recently tasked with implementing a whole slide imaging system, a project she has excelled at. She is also in the process of developing an academic and didactic training program to educate others looking to pursue a career in histotechnology.



Robert A. Clark Memorial Educational Scholarship, Sponsored by Sakura Finetek USA: Carol Whitinger

Carol Whitinger is a laboratory manager at the Orthopedic Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan. She pioneered a protocol for the generation of sections of undecalcified bone, a procedure she is presenting a lecture on at the 2020 Virtual NSH Convention. She plans to use this scholarship to earn continuing education to maintain her HT certification.

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The National Society for Histotechnology is a professional member organization for individuals actively involved in the histology profession. NSH has over 3,000 members worldwide, and is the leading provider of histology focused continuing education.  

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