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My Honors College

SCHC Outstanding Faculty Award

The SCHC Outstanding Faculty Award recognizes an individual who has taught a class in the South Carolina Honors College, facilitated conversation amongst Honors students in the class and has influenced the lives and careers of Honors students. 

2024 Outstanding Faculty Award Nominees

Kara D. Brown, Ph.D. | Education

"Dr. Brown has one of the warmest personalities of anyone I have ever known. As a junior, I was shocked that she remembered me despite the fact that we only met via Zoom in freshman year. Her teaching is a perfect model for future educators. She was able teach our synchronous class in a way that preserved the values of face-to-face instruction. She was so prepared for every contingency that she made it look effortless. With her course content, she combined different mediums to illustrate her main points with the course and allowed us to construct our knowledge through intensive creative projects and class presentations. In her classes, I felt encouraged to test my limits and my skills-I made a 20-minute-long video project for the first time in her class, and I had never worked so hard on a final exam before. She values her students' perspectives, and her career experience as a researcher in Estonia makes her an incredible resource in the classroom. She was on sabbatical for research this year, but she has made such an indelible impact on my learning that I doubt I will ever forget it."

Paul Brown, Ph.D. | English

"This was my first writing course since my first semester here at USC and Dr. Brown made it educational and fun. He is an incredible, lively, energetic person that was supportive through everyone's writing process. Throughout our study abroad experience, Dr. Brown, along with his co-teacher Dr. Bolt, ensured everyone was safe while still learning and having the best experience possible. Dr. Brown is extremely educated on 20th century British Literature and supported our expressive writing based on our experiences through our travels while simultaneously teaching us all he knows through telling me his experience on a walk through London tracing the steps taken in by Mrs. Dalloway in her self-titled novel by Virginia Woolf to teaching the importance of taking in your surroundings and being able to express them on paper. I truly believe that if any faculty member should be receiving this award, Dr. Paul Brown is the best option."

Burke Dial | History

"Dr. Dial offers a unique insight into the medical field as a historian and physician. In SCHC 321, the in-class discussions prepared my classmates and I to think critically about complex medical issues. Although his class is technically a history class, I feel like I have gotten much more out of it. His passion for teaching and the history of medicine is contagious. Furthermore, he was always encouraging, engaging, and interested in our personal lives and opinions."

John L. Ferry, Ph.D. (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and Geoff Scott, Ph.D. (Public Health)

"I am an English and Media Arts double major--in other words, STEM courses are not my strength nor my preferred field. However, when fulfilling my Honors science/lab requirement via SCHC 481 in the Spring of 2022, I began to reconsider my academic interests. Dr. Ferry and Dr. Scott (whom I will also be nominating) facilitated such a wonderfully accessible, informative, and collaborative ecology course. It was one of the highlights of my Honors experience. Since taking that course, I have raved about both Dr. Ferry and Dr. Scott to my Honors friends, telling them that they must take at least one course with them. They are the definition of 'genius' within their field, but they are also able to teach students at any level of STEM knowledge. It would be a huge mistake on my part to not nominate both Dr. Ferry and Dr. Scott."

Greg Forter, Ph.D. | English

"Professor Forter in my Climate Fiction and Animal Life Honors course (SCHC450) had a great impact in boosting my confidence with in-class discussions and deeper analysis of literature. I've taken many English courses here, but his was genuinely the most engaging. I was excited to read the books on the syllabus because I could tell that Professor Forter was--his genuine excitement for the novels and discussions was infectious. I love literature classes because I usually enjoy the readings, but the discussion parts have always intimidated me, but Forter never failed to make me feel like what I had to say mattered, which meant a lot to me as I've always been a little hesitant to speak up in class. He was always incredibly encouraging during class, making sure that everyone felt open to share their opinion and know that they wouldn't be shut down. I've had teachers who would react negatively when someone didn't say exactly what they wanted to hear, but Professor Forter was never like that. He found something insightful in everything people contributed and was always reassuring in that regard."

Kelly Goldberg, Ph.D. | Anthropology

"Dr. Goldberg is an outstanding educator, mentor, and researcher. Her dedication to her students shone through from the first class I took with her-- Introduction to Biological Anthropology-- when she came up with innovative solutions to overcome the limitations of learning during the pandemic. Normally, students would be able to handle skulls in the anthropology lab. Since that was not feasible during COVID, she partnered with a local company to create 3D scans of each skull so that students could complete their labs virtually.  Her "Complicated Histories" BTC course was a fantastic and unique experience for undergraduates to connect with a local state park and for their work to have real-world influence. Because of the experience I had in this course, I partnered with a State Park for my Honors Thesis with Dr. Goldberg as my thesis advisor. With her guidance, I was able to receive a Magellan Scholar award for my work. Dr. Goldberg also sent myself and other students internship information for the NPS which I applied for, listed Dr. Goldberg as a reference for, and ultimately received an offer for. Dr. Goldberg goes above and beyond for her students and greatly deserves to be recognized for it."

Anne W. Gulick, Ph.D. | English

"Dr. Gulick's classes present the perfect combination of academic rigor and student-led, creative instruction. I have never had to read more in a college English class than in Dr. Gulick's courses, and her writing projects mirror the Honors senior thesis in terms of the effort required of the process. However, her classes are incredibly fun! Dr. Gulick is a vivacious, friendly, and compassionate professor who knows how to deliver content with energy and poise. She is sensitive to the concerns of her students and how we process the world around us as we process the content in her class. She encourages students to work in groups, to lead discussions, and to construct their own thinking. She is also an incredible resource and an engaging lecturer. I couldn't recommend her classes to anyone enough."

Richard Harrill, Ph.D. | HRSM

"Dr. Harrill is not only a perfect example of a worldly person, but one that tries to give back to the community and enrich the way in which people interact with local populations. During my time in Dr. Harrill's course he emphasized the necessity to take time and understand the way in which other cultures function. This notion was emphasized by the various films we studied and forced us to reflect on the way we thought and acted. He continually pushed the agenda of stepping outside your own shoes and trying to understand how other cultures beliefs and morals guide the decisions they make on a daily basis. His emphasis on teaching me to think beyond myself is something I will truly carry with me for the rest of life. When I travel to foreign lands, the lessons Dr. Harrill taught me will help guide me in the way I think and perceive unique groups of people. Beyond the lessons and ideas that Dr. Harrill taught me, he was also a great person to be around in the classroom. His personality and personal anecdotes made me feel connected to the course and him as a person. There was never a dull moment and he always made sure to brighten the room. With that being said, Dr. Harrill deserves all the recognition he can get because he truly embodies the meaning of the University of South Carolina Honors College."

Andrea K. Henderson-Platt | Sociology

"Dr. Henderson-Platt is a phenomenal instructor and member of the community. I signed up to take her class knowing nothing about Sociology, but she made it one of my favorite classes I have ever taken. She expertly intertwined course material with real-world situations, keeping the class educational and exciting for all students. She facilitated fabulous class discussions, and made us all feel comfortable asking questions about complex issues. She is also dedicated to the success of her students, making herself available for office hours and post-class discussions. She is serving as my second reader for my senior thesis and has provided me with great support in this role. It is very clear to me that despite her busy professional life (and home life), she prioritizes her students and wants to see them succeed. While I have only known Dr. Henderson-Platt for a short time, she has had a wonderful influence on my time with the Honors College. It is professors like her, and courses like the one she created and taught, that make the Honors College the best place to be. She is more than deserving of being recognized for her dedication to education and her students."

Kathryn Luchok, Ph.D. | Anthropology, WGST

"Dr. Luchok is deeply passionate about illuminating the shortcomings in women's health and policy and works tirelessly to inspire students to be well informed and take action against gender discrimination. The classes I have taken with her have motivated me to incorporate the principles of WGST in my career as a physician. Her mentorship is beyond the scope of any other professors I have had at USC and I am honored to have her knowledge shared with me. Dr. Luchok deserves to be honored by receiving the SCHC Outstanding Faculty Award because of her deep intellect, compassion for others, and mentorship."

Nicole Maskiell, Ph.D. | History

"Dr. Maskiell is an outstanding faculty member because of her dedication to providing a quality education, demonstrated care for the individual student, professionalism and knowledge of her field, and enthusiasm for teaching history. I have been blown away by the attitude of Dr. Maskiell in the classroom. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching lights up the classroom and keeps students engaged like few professors can. She makes an effort to learn each student's name, is always encouraging questions and making deeper connections between topics, and gives thoughtful responses to student's questions. She has a deep knowledge of history which she shows by connecting topics and narratives in history that are often told independently of each other. Her lectures are superior to other classes I have taken in this regard. Overall, Dr. Maskiell's energy, enthusiasm for history, care for her students and wealth of knowledge make her a fantastic professor and I am grateful to be in her class."

Jason Osborne, Ph.D. | Languages, Literatures and Cultures

"The first Honors course I took with Dr. Osborne changed my perspective in life for the better. Through his seminar on the biographies of Plutarch, he taught me and my fellow students to explore history through the lens of individuals and their decisions, turning every session into a complex discussion of humanity, justice, and morality. He showed me how history can and should be used.  This methodology inspired my Honors thesis, for which he has served as the guiding voice and helping hand for the past year. I have also had the honor of taking several other courses with him, which he always makes innovative and engaging as he finds new ways to connect ancient history to modern issues and interests. He facilitates discussions that prepare students not just for the classroom, but for life.  As an educator, he is passionate, open-minded, and inquisitive, pushing students to seek truth and explore new ideas. As a mentor, he has been patient and supportive, imparting wisdom on me that I will always treasure.  He has touched the lives of countless students, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study under him at the Honors College."

Maria Marjorette Pena, Ph.D. | Biological Sciences

"I nominate Dr. Maria Pena and firmly believe that she deserves the SCHC Outstanding Faculty Award. I had the opportunity to take SCHC 497 with her as my mentor. While I only took this course for one semester, I have had the privilege of working under her from Fall 2020 to Spring 2024 in her research lab. Usually, I work closely with Dr. Pena's Ph.D. student; however, I met with Dr. Pena often over the course of the semester and she took me under her wing. I worked very closely with her, where she emphasized critical analysis, becoming an independent thinker, and radiating confidence when presenting to an audience. As a student hoping to attend medical school, she has opened many doors for me: I am a part of two scientific research publications (which will be published in the near future), had the opportunity to present my research at a couple of scientific conferences, write and defend my Honors College senior thesis on my research project, received $9,000 in grant funding, become a Magellan Ambassador, improve my surgical skills by working with mouse models, and grow as a researcher and learner. I owe a lot to Dr. Pena–she cares a lot for her students and gives us the resources and support necessary to succeed. She has taught me so much and she also makes the time to talk to me about life or random things. Her devotion to the biology department and her students are just a couple of reasons why she deserves the Honors Outstanding Faculty Award for 2024."

Laura Self | Accounting

"Within the Honors sections of Accounting 225 and 226, Professor Self transformed classes many normally dread into an accessible and engaging experience. Even in the midst of Covid-19, and the frustrations that arose from hybrid learning, Professor Self always made sure she was available for her students to the best of their ability. I took these classes as a freshman and sophomore, but Professor Self became a mentor throughout the rest of my college experience. She gave me invaluable advice on career growth and professional development, and was simply a supportive figure I always knew I could rely on even through the turbulence of college. Instructors like Laura Self exemplify the unique and specialized benefits gained from being part of the Honors College. I attribute a large portion of my maturity, growth, and career-readiness to both Laura Self's classroom leadership and beyond the classroom support."

Carla Swygert | Languages, Literatures and Cultures

"She [Swygert] did a phenomenal job of engaging the class and getting us excited about the material! Everything she taught was extremely helpful to our Honors project, where we went and shadowed medical interpreters at Lexington Hospital. She is so kind and always checks in with her students! Definitely the best professor I have had at USC."

Susan Vanderborg, Ph.D. | English

"Dr. Vanderborg is an energetic, passionate and caring professor who is dedicated to her students' success. I have had her in my freshman year during the COVID-19 lockdowns, during my senior year, and as a thesis director, and she has been incredibly supportive throughout my career. Her passion for her focus in English is infectious, and through it she encourages students to pursue their own research and passions. Her dedication to her students is obvious; she responds to student emails swiftly and with care and provides plenty of detailed feedback on every written assignment. In class, she provides lively oral feedback that creates an environment where students feel free to share their ideas. She appreciates and fosters creativity with her assignments as well. It is mind-boggling how much energy she dedicates to her classes, and her efforts are truly appreciated by her students."

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.