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Published June 05, 2023
Students in Karagh Brummond’s classes at the University of Wyoming commend her for her innovation and passion for teaching, as well as taking time outside of the classroom to discuss students’ ideas. One student even considered chucking college altogether, until his dad reminded him how excited he had been taking Brummond’s one-time lecture.
Brummond, an assistant instructional professor in the Honors College, is one of three recipients of the 2023 John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. The award was established in 1977 by businessman John P. “Jack” Ellbogen to “foster, encourage and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW.” This year’s other recipients of the award are Sreejayan Nair, a professor in the School of Pharmacy, and Noah Novogrodsky, a professor in the College of Law.
“Dr. Brummond is always innovating and trying to engage her students in their own learning,” says Mark Lyford, executive program director of the Science Initiative, who nominated Brummond for the honor. “I am constantly impressed by Dr. Brummond’s fearless drive to try new and innovative ways to bring active learning to her classes ranging from review sessions built around an escape room concept to hands-on sheep brain dissections.”
In the fall, Brummond teaches a “Neuroscience and Law” course for the Honors College. She is one of three professors who heads a “Human Systems Physiology” class in the fall and spring.
Ian Fletcher, a UW student who nominated Brummond, says that, after his first two semesters and changing his major twice, he was beginning “to fall out of love” with the Honors College and UW as a whole -- especially as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“After being sent home from the dorms and having many long conversations with my parents, my dad reminded me how excited I was leaving Dr. Brummond’s one-time lecture and told me I should stick with it and find a class to take with her,” Fletcher wrote in his nomination letter. “Immediately after returning to campus, I signed up for her ‘Neuroscience and Law’ class, not interested in neuroscience or law, but purely to experience the joy and value of taking a class with her.”
In her capacity as director of engagement and outreach for UW’s Science Initiative, Brummond heads the Science Initiative Roadshow and works with university and K-12 partners throughout Wyoming to bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) outreach and in-reach activities that facilitate interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary creative thinking and active learning to educators and community members.
Quiana Jeffs, a UW doctoral student in the Neuroscience Program who has worked with the Science Initiative, marvels at Brummond’s intuitive abilities. Jeffs recalls a recent middle school physics lesson the Science Initiative team held in Casper.
“When it became clear to Dr. Brummond that the math involved was well above the skill level of the students in the class, she effectively modified the lesson on the fly to cover all of the same materials while still managing to challenge the students just above their level,” Jeffs says. “To be able to read the room and see a change would help is one thing, but to change the lesson quickly and still have it be an engaging and meaningful learning experience is another beast entirely.”
Brummond received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from UW and her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Regis University.