Originally written for May 13, 2013.
The Fullerton College Teacher of the Year award went to Dr. Jo Wu of the Biology Department. Dr. Wu will be FC’s nominee for the State Academic Senate’s Hayward Award and she will be recognized during the 2013 Fullerton College commencement ceremony.
This past Thursday marked the inaugural, 2013 award ceremony, held in the quad. This event honored the top-ten nominees (eleven including a tie) and the Fullerton College Teacher of the Year award. The North Orange County Community College District Teacher of the Year award winner was presented as well.
Former FC student Michaella Gaite attributes a great deal of her success to Wu.
“Doctor Wu made my college experience so valuable,” said Gaite. Her love of teaching and consistent dedication to provide students with amazing opportunities inspire me to become a mentor to my peers as well.”
Wu was also awarded the FC Club Advisor of the Year. She has organized a number of successful science programs on campus, including, science PAL tutoring, science summer camps, and science club and STEM activities.
“I have been so fortunate to be continually surrounded by many fantastic students who are willing to work hard.” Wu said. “Without these high quaility students, I would not have been able to organize so many successful programs.”
“It is a huge honor to be awarded the FC Teacher of the Year,” continued Wu. “I would especially like to thank the Office of Special Programs and STEM staff for all their support with my grants and student programs.”
According to the Orange County Community College District, nominators were limited to former students and teachers, counselors and administrators who are in a position to evaluate the classroom effectiveness of the nominated teacher.
The rules also state that the criteria defining Teacher of the Year was based primarily on interactions between students and teachers that have had a lasting beneficial effect towards the success and happiness of that student.
The selection process took place in January through early February and 43 teachers were nominated with over 100 reccomendations.
Recipients represented the Math and Science, Humanities, Counseling/Student Development, Social Sciences, Fine Arts, Natural Sciences, and Technology and Engineering Divisions.
The top 5 finalist (including tie) are Jodi Balma (Political Science), Guy Dadson (Chemstry). Bruce Hanson (Philosophy/Religious Studies), William Hayner (Art), and Connie Lopez (Cosmetology). Also honored were Kathy Jew (Mathematics), Shelia Stokes-Dobyns(English), Ellen Rosen(ELS), Tamara Trujillo(English), and Sunshine Vidal(Counseling).
Each teacher was honored Thursday in front of dozens of their current and former students, as well as faculty.
Megan Rasmussen, a former student of English professor Tamara Trujillo, attributes her love for writing to Trujillo.
“She [Trujillo] takes the time, energy, and effort to help us [students], not only to be better writers but to help find our style and voice as well. She is the most passionate teacher I’ve ever had,” said Rasmussen.
Trujillo’s inspiration to inspire others is first and foremost her students.
“It matters to me what they [students] think of my teaching and of my courses. So they motivate me to explore new approaches. They keep me researching my discipline,” said Trujillo. “Another big motivator is my colleagues. I respect and admire them tremendously, and I want to offer my students an equally-valuable and enriching experience in my class as I know they are getting in my colleagues’ classes.”
The loudest reception of the afternoon came from a small group of students when Connie Lopez of the cosmetology department received her award.
“It is absolutely wonderful to be acknowledged by the cosmetology students and be selected as one of the five finalists by my colleagues,” Lopez responded when asked about her nomination. “This is proof that if you follow your passion and teach from the heart, all of your hard work and persistence will be recognized by students and colleagues.”
The NOCCCD Teacher of the Year award was presented to Jeanne Costello of the English department. Costello will go forward in the OC Department of Education’s 2014 Teacher of the Year process, which includes a $15,000 scholarship consideration.
The event was co-sponsored by the Associated Students, the Vice President of Students, and the Faculty Senate.