Students show appreciation for Honors faculty

September 13, 2022

Students show appreciation for Honors faculty

by Shannon Hong

Where did modern humans come from? When do people cooperate, when are they selfish, and why? Given what our society knows about evolution and genetics, should we take responsibility for guiding the evolutionary future of human populations?

Jon Herron (Biology) helps students tackle these challenging questions and think like evolutionary scientists in his courses, HONORS 220: Evolution and Human Behavior and HONORS 221: DNA and Evolution. Herron’s knowledge, enthusiasm, and dedication recently made him the recipient of our 2022 Honors Excellence in Teaching Award (HETA). In the 26 years he has been teaching for Honors, this is his fifth time receiving the recognition.

First awarded to Clarke Speed (Anthropology) in 2002, the HETA is given annually to an Honors faculty member who has made a significant contribution to the intellectual lives of their students. Although this award celebrates teaching in Honors field studies and seminars, the impact of our faculty extends widely across the university. Coming from appointments in their major departments, Honors instructors build innovative courses and integrate interdisciplinary topics into our curriculum.

We present the HETA to the instructor with the most student nominations, but there were many great shoutouts this year, and we wanted to share a few with the community. Below are selected excerpts from students about how their Honors instructor has influenced their academic and personal growth.

Jon Herron (Biology)

Jon Herron

“I can say that Dr. Herron is easily my favorite professor at UW. His class encouraged deeper thinking and difficult topics without the worry of potentially failing a class. Dr. Herron encourages his students to learn biology and teaches in a way that incorporates students that are biochemistry majors and business majors without making either feel as though they didn’t belong… When I was looking forward to being an Honors student, I had very high expectations. This class surpassed all of them.”

– Kira Rosenlind // Junior // Business Administration

Marisol Berríos-Miranda (Music)

HONORS 212: American Sabor: Latinos and Latinas in US Popular Music

“Professor Berríos-Miranda was one of the most enthusiastic and passionate Honors professors I have had thus far. Her passion for music and its impact on culture was extremely contagious, even as someone who had never studied music before.

This was one of the few classes I had where I felt compelled by assigned readings, and even more so after class discussion, I learned SO much. Professor Berríos-Miranda balanced classwork with outside cultural music activities, which served better than much else we could learn in the classroom, alongside a self-driven final project… This was one of the most integrated courses I have taken at the UW, and Professor Berríos-Miranda led the class with kindness, passion, and knowledge.”

— Riley Mehl // 2022 Graduate // Visual Communication Design

Ariana Cantu (Social Work)

HONORS 394: Community Inclusion and Equity in the Changing Public Realm

“Ariana Cantu’s passion for teaching and advancing the plight of marginalized communities is unlike anything I have seen before. She continually challenges systems of oppression while encouraging her students to do the same, all while being cognizant of the ways that we ourselves benefit from the aforementioned institutions.

I think it is important to see people that share the same culture as you or who may look like you in teaching positions, so as a Latinx individual, I was ecstatic when I learned that one of my instructors was also Mexican. This alone created such a safe environment for me to learn in. I feel as if Ariana was able to cultivate this space for several other students who may oftentimes feel uncomfortable in classrooms.”

— Yahir Gonzalez // Sophomore // Undeclared

Theodore Myhre (School of Law)

LAW 100: Introduction to American Law

Professor Myhre took my learning of law to the next level in the way that he ALWAYS connected the traditional practice of law with current issues that were relevant to me and made me actually passionate about law.

I initially took the class just to fulfill a requirement, but it quickly became my favorite class. He showed so much dedication to his students that he was even willing to meet with us in person for our last discussion section, even though the class was fully online. Professor Myhre is the best professor I have had at the University of Washington because he cares about his students on another level and was always excited to come to class and participate in our discussions, as well as answer any questions. I have never felt so welcomed in a class, especially when I knew nothing about the subject coming in!”

— Lily Kim // Sophomore // Pre-Science

Velma Veloria (American Ethnic Studies)

HONORS 232: Human Trafficking in an Era of Globalization: Forced Labor, Involuntary Servitude and Corporate & Civic Responsibility

“Velma Veloria is a pioneer in the anti-human trafficking movement as well as a strong and passionate community advocate. She spends her time dedicated to the needs of the people she represents and is always willing to take students under her wing. She helps them get involved in the programs she works for and connects them with her colleagues. The passion she has for her work is unrivaled and the support she shows each of her students goes far beyond anything one could expect from a faculty member. She is a true mentor committed to nurturing the next generation of leaders.”

— RaeAnn Uyeda // Sophomore // Comparative History of Ideas, American Ethnic Studies

We are deeply grateful to have such creative, dedicated faculty teaching Honors courses while contributing to their major departments across campus! To learn more about our courses and faculty, we encourage you to explore the links below.

Current Honors Courses Honors Course Archive Honors Faculty List