Alexandra Park | September 17, 2018
Nancy Michael, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and director of undergraduate studies for the neuroscience and behavior major, earned the 2018 Frank O'Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award, an annual prize that honors any faculty member who displays “outstanding service to the students of the Notre Dame community.”
The award is heavily based on student nominations-- any undergraduate can nominate a faculty member of his or her choice. Those nominations are then reviewed by Student Government, which chooses a winner and presents the award at the annual Student Leadership Banquet in April. Michael received the most nominations of any professor this year, according to Rebecca Blais ‘18, former student body vice president.
Michael’s students praised her accessibility, her zeal for neuroscience, and her ability to support them through difficult times in their lives.
“(Professor) Michael … made feel like there was a light on the other side of the tunnel and I would make it through the semester,” one student wrote in her nomination letter. “I know full well that without her in my life, I wouldn't be attending Our Lady's University.”
Michael was humbled by her students’ words.
“The nominations were deeply moving, and many of them brought me to tears,” Michael said. “So often we don't know the impact we have on others’ lives because it seems we rarely speak our gratitude directly to the person for whom we're grateful. Reading the students' words made me feel like my work is worth it because it makes a difference in their lives.”
Sunny Boyd, a professor of behavioral neuroendocrinology who has co-taught and advised students with Michael, agreed with what students had to say about her colleague.
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