College Academic Council to honor American Studies professor in 9th annual ceremony

On Thursday, March 19th, the College Academic Council (CAC) will host its 9th annual College Honors ceremony. The event serves to honor professors that have had a powerful impact on students in diverse academic settings.

This year, College Honors will celebrate Professor Erika Seamon of the American Studies department

“[College Honors] definitely proves to be one of the CAC’s favorite events each year,” writes CAC President Parnia Zahedi (COL ’15). “Each year, the Council invites students in the College to nominate the top three professors who have made an impact on their Georgetown experience…We invite the top 100 vote-getters to attend the event as well.”

Almost 500 professors were nominated for the award this year and 700 students voted for nominees.

“This is the first year we have had a professor from the American Studies department win. I think this shows that you don’t need to have classes with hundreds of students to be memorable and make an impact,” wrote Zahedi. “The best part about this award is that it truly is determined by students, which is why I think professors appreciate the nominations.”

Seamon’s students praise her thorough method of teaching analytical methodology and palpable excitement as a historian.

“Her pointed questions push students to think in new ways and come to conclusions on their own. Many times I have gone to see Professor Seamon with a vague idea for a paper and, with her as the perfect sounding board to one my ideas, come away with a concise thesis statement and research plan. Among many others, I think it is primarily of rhtese reasons that the entire American Studies program respects Professor Seamon and why she won,” Harvey Hinman (COL ’15) wrote in an email to Vox.

Other students praise the creativity she brings to her assignments. In her introductory classes each semester, Seamon assigns her students to design a museum exhibit covering an aspect of class material. She couples her innovative style with kindness.

“[When I told her about being accepted to Georgetown Law], she was more excited about the news than I was. Professor Seamon cares about her students and is genuinely curious about what’s going on in their lives. And her personality is receptive, so students want to share stories and engage with her,” Laura Higbee (COL ’15) told Vox.

The award highlights the success of an invested, engaging approach to teaching at Georgetown.

“Professor Seamon’s award demonstrates Georgetown students’ appreciation of being taught methods rather than material, interdisciplinary learning, and truly being cared for in the classroom…These [values] are not exclusive to American Studies, however, and I hope to see other departments make note of this and adjust to best meet their respective students’ needs,” writes Hinman.

As the CAC gears up for its event after spring break, students from all academic programs express excitement to applaud Professor Seamon’s achievements.

“When I stopped by Professor Seamon’s class to let her know she had won this year’s award, one of the students in her class was there and absolutely ecstatic to see Professor Seamon had won,” writes Zahedi. “The fact that not only Professor Seamon, but her students herself, are so happy that she has won goes to show why she won– she has made a difference in the lives of her students, and that is what College Honors is meant to celebrate.”

Photo: Erika Seamon via LinkedIn

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