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04-28-2017

Three to Receive Clarkson University Inspirational Educator Award

Three educators nominated by Clarkson University students will be honored as the 2017 Clarkson University Inspirational Educators.

CommencementThe award recognizes these educators for their lasting impact on their students and in their fields of education.

Grant Geske of St. Johnsbury, Vt., a former STEM innovator and science instructor at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass., was nominated by former student Nate Hurwitz of New Salem, Mass., a senior global supply chain management major at Clarkson. Hurwitz said Geske, who is now the director of SEO and digital analytics at Carnegie Communications, taught him and his classmates how to be innovative and allowed them the freedom to learn through exploration.

"He was a teacher that taught us how to 'think,' rather than just memorize," Hurwitz said. "He gave us the opportunity to ask 'why' in his chemistry class and encouraged us to not be satisfied with an answer that was, 'Just because that's the way it is.' This encouragement to question the norm was what led me to becoming a business, and, furthermore, a supply chain major at college. He taught me how to look at processes, look for discrepancies or areas that could use improvement, and then the process in which to follow to break down redundancies and create an overall more streamlined experience."

Genny Pond '95 of Pulaski, N.Y., a Jefferson Community College Associate Professor of Engineering and Sciences, was nominated by former students Chelsea Koster of Lowville, N.Y., a senior civil engineering major, and Chelsea Zehr of Lowville, N.Y., a senior engineering and management major. Koster and Zehr said Pond deserves this award for her dedication to her students' success, from sharing career advice to bringing in snacks to make a difficult week a little easier.

"Thank you for always being there for me and for inspiring me to keep going and keep working hard," Koster said. "I couldn't have done it without all your help and push to keep going when I didn't want to. And thank you for keeping in touch after I left JCC and still being a great mentor and friend. I will always remember the days in class when you would have the whole class laughing so hard over something you said or showed us. You were and still are such a great educator and you deserve recognition for it. Thank you for not only impacting my life in a positive way, but so many others as well."

"Thank you, Genny, for always having a sense of humor in class and allowing us to do the same," Zehr added. "You allowed a different kind of classroom environment that I haven't found anywhere else that allowed us to learn and enjoy the time we were there."

Mary Forbes of Plattsburgh, N.Y., vice principal, athletic director and mathematics chair at Seton Catholic Central High School in Plattsburgh, N.Y., was nominated by former student Dana Chapman of Plattsburgh, N.Y., a senior Honors Program student and chemical engineering major at Clarkson. Chapman said her teacher deserves this award because the skills she gained in her classes have shaped her into a better student and have provided a foundation on which she has built her collegiate academic career.

"Ms. Forbes, you have taught me so many things. How to learn. How to teach. How to not feel sorry for myself. How to be humble," Chapman said. "You have made me into a better student, a better teacher and a better person. Thank you for inspiring me and challenging me. I can never repay you, but I can promise you that I will pay it forward."

Each year, Clarkson asks its seniors to nominate the educators who have significantly affected their lives and helped guide their higher education and career decisions. The educators will be honored on campus during Clarkson's commencement weekend ceremonies.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Each year, Clarkson asks its seniors to nominate the educators who have significantly affected their lives and helped guide their higher education and career decisions. The educators will be honored on campus during Clarkson's commencement weekend ceremonies.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://clarkson.edu/news/photos/commencement2016.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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