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Cameron Wright Brings Real-World Experiences into the Classroom

April 23, 2012
Man smiling
Cameron Wright

Motivating and inspiring are among the words used by students to describe Cameron Wright, University of Wyoming associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Wright's dedication to his students' success has earned him the Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, established in 1977 by businessman John P. "Jack" Ellbogen, to "foster, encourage, and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW." Winners are selected from a list nominated by students and the awards are based entirely on classroom performance and helpfulness to students.

Other recipients this year are Nicole Lamartine, associate professor in the Department of Music; and Thomas Thurow, professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

"Because of his unique abilities to teach directly to each student's talents and learning style, Dr. Wright creates a classroom culture that is open, challenging and, most importantly, one that facilitates accountability," says John Clay, a senior majoring in electrical engineering.

Wright's previous military experience in the Air Force made him a perfect candidate to develop a course to help transition veterans into college life. The course entails basic tools for academic success, information on resources available to returning veterans, a sense of community, camaraderie and belonging, and information on veteran related challenges. Nine veterans have participated in the course and found it to be beneficial.

"Cam always puts his students first. His door is always open for students to drop by for extra help or receive personal advice. He always makes time for student needs," says Steven Barrett, College of Engineering and Applied Science associated dean for academic programs.

"I have first-hand knowledge of his teaching ability. I needed to re-tool myself to be able to teach subjects that I had last used the 1970s. After auditing his classes, I found they were clear and understandable," says David L. Whitman, electrical and computer engineering professor. "He interacts positively with the students, always treating their questions with the utmost respect."

"Students feel that one of Wright's greatest strengths in the classroom is his innovation. The style, structure and organization of his lectures are engaging and instructive," says Dana Schulz, a former student of Wright.

"The passion Dr. Wright has for his students is unmistakable. I was one of many that were lucky enough to form a personal relationship with him," says Travis Anderson, a former student of Wright's. "He is an outstanding mentor and I still count on his advice."

Another former student, Geoffrey Luke, says, "Dr. Wright brings a unique combination of real-world and research experience to the classroom. It is rare to find a professor who has spent as much time solving engineering problems outside of an academic setting that allows him to relate to all students."

In 1983, Wright earned his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech University as a summa cum laude graduate. He earned his M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1988 from Purdue University and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering with a biomedical emphasis in 1996 from the University of Texas at Austin.

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