by Kassidy Taylor
Each year, UNH recognizes faculty who motivate, challenge and inspire students to succeed both in and out of the classroom. This year's Excellence in Teaching award recognizes Samantha Reynolds, lecturer of chemistry. Carol Gay, adjunct instructor of communication arts, will receive the Adjunct Excellence in Teaching award. Reynolds and Gay will be presented the awards at UNH Manchester's commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 18.
In her five years at UNH Manchester, Samantha Reynolds’ passion for chemistry has been a beacon of inspiration for students.
Chemistry is a complex subject, yet Reynolds' students echo that her brilliance, patience and commitment to learning allows them to tackle “a difficult course with confidence.” Each lecture builds upon the one before it, laying the foundation to understand increasingly challenging material. Incorporating hands-on lab elements and collaborative learning activities, she empowers students to put those concepts into action.
Reynolds fuels her courses with experience and enthusiasm, and her love for the subject is reflected through her students. As one noted, “We are all better chemistry students because of her.”
Reynolds earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Dartmouth College in 2012. She also holds a B.S. in Chemistry, a B.S. in Biology and a B.A in Philosophy & Religious Studies from Winthrop University in South Carolina.
Recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the previous five years include Donald Plante, lecturer of mathematics; Jack Hoza, professor and director of ASL/English Interpreting; John Cerullo, professor of history; Melinda Negrón-Gonzales, associate professor of politics and society; and Kelly Kilcrease, associate professor of business.
Carol Gay has been part of the UNH Manchester community for 20 years. A 2001 graduate in the first cohort of communication arts students, she returned to the program as an adjunct instructor in 2007. Over the past decade, Gay’s knowledge, enthusiasm and creativity have made her a standout teacher and an integral part of the faculty.
Gay’s colleagues say her empathy, intellect and imagination sets her apart, allowing her to create creative and engaging learning environments that, as one student wrote, “makes the classroom feel like home.”
Combining her experience as a professional counselor with a spirited approach to the subject matter, Gay’s relational communication courses are driven by meaningful discussion of real-world problems. Her courses are consistently lauded as thought-provoking and lively, so it is no surprise students echo that Gay is “one of the best instructors.”
Gay holds a B.A. in Communication Arts and an M.A. in Counseling from the University of New Hampshire’s campuses in Manchester and Durham, respectively.
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