Faculty Member Helen Tanzini Honored as Distinguished Teacher at
Windsor, N.J. - For Helen Tanzini, of Hamilton, associate professor
of chemistry at Mercer County Community College, teaching is
a privilege, a chance to make a difference in people's lives
that trumps money and fame.
That was Tanzini's message as she accepted the 2010 Distinguished
Teaching Award at MCCC's commencement ceremonies on May 20.
In introducing Tanzini, who serves as Chemistry program coordinator,
MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue noted that this dedicated
faculty member is appreciated by students for her extensive
knowledge, enthusiasm, preparedness, teaching style, and availability
to provide help outside the classroom.
In his nomination form, one student summed up his experience
with Tanzini by noting, "She gives endlessly of herself
those who ask for assistance in the subject walk away knowing
much more than anticipated. She does this day in and day out
with grace and dignity." Another commented, "Professor
Tanzini really teaches both the art and science of chemistry,
making organic chemistry understandable and enjoyable."
Said a third, "She is a teacher who pushes students to
Tanzini was also credited with developing lab materials and
curricula for a wide cross section of students -- from those
pursuing careers in science to those fulfilling general education
requirements. To that end, Tanzini and Associate Biology Professor
Laura Blinderman developed a popular course for non-science
majors, Chemical Science Concepts, which uses forensics to explore
basic science concepts.
A member of the MCCC faculty since 1998, Tanzini has become
well known at the college and in the community for her tireless
efforts as an advocate for science learning and for creating
teaching opportunities for students. For the past 12 years during
National Chemistry Week in October, she has organized a group
of students and faculty that presents science experiments at
area elementary schools. Approximately 7,000 youngsters in 34
schools have enjoyed this popular program. In the spring she
organizes a group that volunteers at Super Science Saturday
at the New Jersey State Museum.
Teacher Helen Tanzini addresses
graduates during commencement.
Tanzini, fourth from left, with science grads who stopped
to congratulate her. Pictured, from left, are Buyan Jargalsaikhan,
Peng Wai Tham, James Hodges and Afefa Shahid.
beaming Tanzini addressed the graduates, first recalling her early
years at Mercer. "As time passed I began to see Mercer as the
exciting, thriving community that it is and I wanted to be a part
of it." She reflected on the important role that teachers play
and invited audience members "to think of a teacher who made
a difference in your life
and give them a round of applause
so loud that no matter where they are they can hear it."
Tanzini also spoke of the many satisfactions that come with teaching.
"I am honored that I have been able to build lasting relationships
with both staff and students. It makes my day when a student returns
to visit or an e-mail arrives letting me know of their accomplishments
and I know that I have played a small part in their success."
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