PHHP Teacher of the Year

By Rachel Rakoczy

Dean Perri congratulations Dr. Mary Ellen Young at the college’s spring convocation ceremony.

For Mary Ellen Young, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor in the department of behavioral science and community health, it’s always been about more than teaching.

Back when she joined the Peace Corps and traveled to Thailand, she realized it would take more than spelling tests and homework to get through the language barrier to her students.

“I relied on my desire to get to know them as people, to make a difference in their lives, and to prepare them for their challenges ahead as teaching professionals,” she said.

Her student-centered approach to teaching was recognized when she was named the College of Public Health and Health Professions’ 2012 Teacher of the Year.

Amanda Glynn, a distance learning program coordinator in the department of behavioral science and community health, was not surprised by the selection.

“I feel a sense of pride knowing I work just down the hall from the most influential woman I have ever had the privilege to meet,” Glynn said.

Glynn was one of Young’s students. Encouraged by Young’s philosophy, Glynn talked to her teacher about her father’s struggle with cancer. In October 2007, Glynn’s father passed away. With Young’s guidance and support, Glynn decided to finish her undergraduate studies and continue on to graduate school, earning a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.

Glynn wrote a letter to the college nominating Young as Teacher of the Year, and she was not the only former student to do so. Excerpts of her letter were read in Dean Michael G. Perri’s speech introducing the winner at the college’s convocation ceremony in May.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” Young said. “She was in the audience and as Dean Perri was reading it, we made eye contact and just lost it.”

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