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Nicole Lamartine Receives Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award

April 23, 2012
Woman smiling
Nicole Lamartine

Many instructors will spend the first year of their teaching careers becoming accustomed to their new environment and slowly begin to incorporate change.

That's not the way Collegiate Chorale Director Nicole Lamartine began her career at the University of Wyoming. She immediately embraced the previous traditions associated with her position and simultaneously began to mold UW's choral program to where she envisioned that it could be.

Lamartine, a UW music assistant professor since 2008, brought in new composers and gave her students the opportunity to experience a new facet of music creation by premiering a new composition. She created a yearly vocal jazz festival, not only reaching out to high schools around the region and giving them new opportunities, but also utilizing UW's Jazz Choir to run the event. This gave undergraduate students much needed experience, which prepared them for their own teaching careers.

She also encouraged the existing choirs to seek new venues and experiences by providing the UW Singing Statesmen with the prestigious opportunity of performing in Carnegie Hall.

Lamartine's influence on UW students has earned her 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 Thomas Thurow, professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management; and Cameron Wright, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

"One of the greatest lessons that Dr. Lamartine passed on to me and other students was teaching them how to teach," says former student Nathaniel Gillette. "She gave us the opportunity to grow steadily and incorporate what we learned in our other music courses."

Another former student, Phillip Newland, says Lamartine's willingness to work with Wyoming music educators has inspired him in his own career.

"I sincerely believe that Dr. Lamartine has taken the choral area to a new level of excellence. Her dedication to quality choral music is inspiring; her rapport with students is exceptional; her level of professionalism is beyond reproach; and her love or music and teaching is infectious," he says. "I aspire to be an educator of such depth and value. Under her direction, I have grown both as a musician and a teacher."

Even current students, such as Kathleen Brown, sing Lamartine's praises.

"Dr. Lamartine is one of the most dedicated, passionate teachers I have ever met. She is always willing to talk to students, as well as share any knowledge and experience that would best help the student," Brown says. "She cares about her students, and truly wants them to succeed. She is a positive role model in every sense of the word, especially when considering her vast knowledge base, interaction with students, and her ability to create a community. She is a true inspiration."

Lamartine received her B.M. degree (1997) in vocal performance from New Mexico State University; and an M.M. (2000) in vocal performance and a Ph.D. (2003) in musical arts in choral conducting, both from the University of Arizona.

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