Students share professor of the year nominations

RJ Beal-Lancaster, features writer

Winona State University students voted this spring to elect student senators and decide upon professor of the year.

Dr. Amanda Brouwer was selected for Professor of the Year.

This year student senate nominated Matthew Bosworth, Amanda Brouwer, Thomas Grier, Tomas Tolvaisas, Nicole Williams , and Jennifer Anderson for the professor of the year.

The Winonan wanted to inform readers about their backstories that led them Winona State.

Matthew Bosworth, Ph.D., has taught political science and public administration at Winona State since 1997.

Bosworth earned his B.A. at John Hopkins University in 1991, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997.

Students speak very highly of Bosworth, his intellect and graceful approach to teaching.

Paul Allen, a student whose name has been changed to remain anonymous said said of Bosworth’s style,:

 “wWhen you first sit down in one of Professor Bosworth’s classes, you will soon realize that he is no mere man. He is far too intelligent, too graceful , and too kind. Every word he speaks is spoken with purpose and passion.”

Dr. Amanda Brouwer has been a professor of psychology at Winona State since 2012. Brouwer was hired out of a student teaching role in graduate school at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she taught for two years while studying.

Brouwer earned her B.A. in psychology at Northwestern College, Iowa. Her M.S. and Ph.D. focused on health and social psychology.

            Brouwer said she loves working with students and one of her favorite parts of the job is assisting students with independent research.

            Many students appreciate Brouwer for more than how well she teaches.  Several spoke about how they see her as approachable and excited to do anything.

    Marcus Halberstram, a fourth-year student who chose to remain anonymous, said Brouwer makes her subject exciting. 

            “On days that I don’t feel like doing school, Dr. Brouwer makes me excited to do stats.”

            Thomas Grier, Ed.D., has been a professor of mass communication at Winona State since 1996. Grier started working at Winona State as an undergrad in 1988 in the school’s public relations office, eventually becoming the director of university communications, remaining in the position till 2005.

            Grier earned a B.A. and M.A at Winona State University, first in advertisement and later in English language and literature. Grier also earned an Ed.D. in higher education leadership from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

            Grier said he was a good student during his studies, with one exception. 

 “Yes, I graduated Summa Cum Laude.” He noted that ironically, he had one ‘C’ in his entire undergrad career, in mass communication class.

            Tomas Tolvaisas, Ph.D., has taught history at Winona State since 2012.

            Tolvaisas earned his B.A. in 1997 at Wake Forest University, N.C., his M.A. in 2000 at Purdue University, and his Ph.D. in 2007 at Rutgers University.

            Tolvaisas is originally from Lithuania and came to the United States through an exchange student program in high school back in the 1970s.

            Nicole Williams, Ph.D., has taught math and statistics for 19 years, 17 of which she has served as the department chair for Winona StateSU.

            Williams earned her B.S. degree at the University of Maine and both her M.A. and Ph.D. at Illinois State University.

            Williams admits that she is known for her quirky sense of humor. 

Craig McDermott, a student whose name has been changed to remain anonymous said her personality is what makes her a great professor.

            “She makes learning personal. Her sense of humor makes class fun, especially during COVID,.” McDermott said.

Another student shared, “she stays on a subject till she is confident everyone has an understanding of what we have learned.”

            Jennifer Anderson, Ph.D., has taught geoscience since 2005. Anderson earned her B.S. from the University of Minnesota-Twin CitesCities, a MS.c and her Ph.D. from Brown University, R.I.

            In 2020, Anderson and some of her students earned WSU a 1.1 million dollar grant from NASA in a study of small craters.

            Anderson is known for her fun and engaging lectures

            Patrick Bateman, a former student whose name was changed to remain anonymous, described his time with Anderson.

“Dr. Anderson makes class fun and engaging… honestly the best [professor] I ever had!” Bateman said.

            Voting for professor of the year closed on Thursday, March 18.