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Trio of longtime professors recipients of Goergen Awards for teaching excellence

October 3, 2016
Bradley Nilsson, Amy Lerner, and Beth JorgensonBradley Nilsson, associate professor of chemistry; Amy Lerner, associate professor of biomedical engineering; and Beth Jörgensen, professor of Spanish, are the recipients of the 2016 Goergen Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Three longtime University teachers will be honored this fall for their contributions to undergraduate education.

Beth Jörgensen (Spanish), Amy Lerner (biomedical engineering), and Bradley Nilsson (chemistry) are the recipients of the 2016 Goergen Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

They were nominated by the chairs of their respective departments and chosen by Richard Feldman, dean of the College; Gloria Culver, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; and Wendi Heinzelman, dean of the Hajim School for Engineering and Applied Sciences.

They will be honored Wednesday, October 5, in a 4 p.m. ceremony in the Hawkins Carlson Room in Rush Rhees Library.

The Goergen Awards recognize the distinctive teaching accomplishments of faculty in Arts, Science, and Engineering. They were established in 1997 and are named for and sponsored by University Trustee and Board Chairman Emeritus Robert Goergen ’60 and his wife, Pamela.

“Beth Jörgensen, Bradley Nilsson, and Amy Lerner exemplify all that we strive for in the College,” Feldman says. “These recipients of the Goergen Award are all extremely accomplished scholars. Yet in addition to their research, they also excel as teachers. In interestingly different ways, they’ve all committed to working with students, providing guidance, and connecting them to resources, often spending significant amounts of time outside of the classroom to help them succeed.”

Jörgensen has taught Spanish at Rochester for 30 years and in 2011 was named a professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.

Lerner joined the College in 1997 and has been an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering since 2003.

Nilsson has been at the University since 2006 and is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry.

“It is their devotion to their students that truly enables them to have a meaningful and lasting impact,” Feldman says. “From them, students observe a model for blending both intellect and contribution, truly representing the best of the College.”

Beth Jörgensen

Professor of Spanish Beth Jörgensen. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Beth Jörgensen

Hometown: Syracuse, New York
Joined University: 1986
Since 2011: Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures
Degrees: BA with high honors in Spanish, Oberlin College, 1975; MA in Spanish, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1978; PhD in Spanish-American Literature, Wisconsin-Madison, 1986
Personal: Lives in Rochester with husband, Paul, and has two grown children, Megan and Ben. Bikes or swims daily and enjoys gardening, travel, movies, and time with friends and family.
Quotable: “I believe Beth Jörgensen establishes strong connections with her students inside and outside the classroom. This is what makes her an outstanding professor: she works tirelessly to bring out the best in each student she encounters.” — Ryan Prendergast, associate professor of Spanish


Amy Lerner

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Amy Lerner. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Amy Lerner

Hometown: Williamsville, New York
Joined University: 1997
Since 2003: Associate professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Degrees: BS in textile science, Cornell University, 1983; BS in mechanical engineering, University of Delaware, 1990; MSE in mechanical engineering, University of Michigan, 1991; PhD in mechanical engineering, Michigan, 1996.
Personal: Lives in Rochester and enjoys kayaking with her husband, Dave, or hiking with Dave and their dog, Waldo.
Quotable: “The senior design capstone experience that Amy has designed is a model program within the Hajim School of Engineering, and importantly a model for senior design courses nationwide.” — Diane Dalecki, chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering


Bradley Nilsson

Associate Professor of Chemistry Bradley Nilsson. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Bradley Nilsson

Hometown: Stirling, Alberta, Canada
Joined University: 2006
Since 2013: Associate professor, Department of Chemistry
Degrees: BS in biochemistry, Brigham Young University, 1996; MS in chemistry, Brigham Young, 1998; PhD in chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2003. Author of 50 research papers and holder of five patents.
Personal: Nilsson and his wife, Trista, have four children and live in Brighton, a suburb of Rochester.
Quotable: “Brad is a naturally gifted teacher and finds the challenges of teaching undergraduates extremely gratifying. No matter what the context, Brad excels, as evidenced by his outstanding student evaluations, which have been historically among the best in the department during his time at Rochester.” — Todd Krauss, chairman, Department of Chemistry




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