Dr. Karen Verkler is passionate about helping the next generation of educators develop their skills, and nowhere is that more evident than in the HAPPY Hour series of workshops.

Dr. Verkler and her HAPPY Hour Committee of 20 faculty members and 9 HAPPY Hour Student Ambassadors are also responsible for organizing the annual Student Showcase each year, and the next one is scheduled for January 31, 2015.

Now entering its tenth year, the HAPPY Hour Student Showcase is an annual event that brings students in the College of Education and Human Performance together to interact in a conference-like setting, presenting their best work on education projects, drafting presentation proposals and work plans, and interacting with practicing educators in all fields for professional development. Each showcase invites an alumnus to speak with current students about their work experiences, struggles, and successes both inside and outside of the classroom. This year is no different, with CEDHP alumna and 2012 Lake County Schools Rookie Teacher of the Year Christine Palmer invited to be keynote speaker for the student showcase.

Dr. Verkler’s selection of Christine Palmer to be the keynote at the 10th anniversary of the Showcase was easy. Ms. Palmer was the first recipient of the HAPPY Hour Student Showcase Scholarship, a $500 award that helps to fund presenters’ attendance at a future professional conference of their choice. “In addition to her professional achievements so far,” Dr. Verkler says, “Christine embodies the spirit of HAPPY Hour’s mission – creating leaders and master educators through professional development.”

Mrs. Palmer graduated Cum Laude from UCF in 2011 with a degree in elementary education, and she was nominated for UCF’s Order of the Pegasus award while a student in the program. Having volunteered in her daughters’ elementary school for years, it was obvious that teaching was the field she was most passionate about.

“I am honored to be a part in the 10th anniversary of the HAPPY Hour Student Showcase,” Mrs. Palmer tells us. “I credit my current success presenting to colleagues, students, parents, and administrators to the opportunities I had at the Student Showcase while pursuing my degree. I know that having a mentor, Ms. Cynthia Walters, throughout the presentation process truly helped to hone my skills – from developing an idea to the actual presentation. It is evident in the passion of Dr. Verkler and the rest of the HAPPY Hour Committee that all of their hard work is ultimately for the benefit of the future students that these dynamic teacher candidates will instruct. They will be lucky students, indeed!”

Students and acting teachers alike can register for the HAPPY Hour Student Showcase now and can contact Dr. Verkler for additional information about the event.