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Faculty Excellence Award Winners Honored for Helping Build Student Confidence and Reach Goals

Lone Star College-CyFair’s Faculty Excellence Award winners Anne Damiecka, Britney Jeffrey,  Gail Marxhausen and Andrea Seay are all passionate about the respective subjects they teach and genuinely care about their students in and beyond the classroom.

Damiecka, who teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), spent five years teaching in Poland before moving to Houston. She began at LSC-CyFair in 2009 as an adjunct instructor and became full-time in 2011.

Incorporating real world examples in the classroom, she brings in invited guests, shares her own experiences and uses objects or photos from the community to make learning relevant and interesting to her students as well as to use as a basis for discussion.

“My students bring their life experiences to the classroom, too, and I learn just as much from them,” she said.

ESOL students are not taking her class, which is more like an interactive workshop, to fulfill a course requirement or pass a prerequisite, but rather to excel, not just survive, in this country, she said.

“I see change happening in front of my eyes as my students gain skills and use them right away,” she said. “I hope to give them motivation to explore their new world with courage, enthusiasm and confidence.”

Jeffrey, who teaches English, began her teaching career first as a tutor at LSC-Tomball while working in sales and marketing in the corporate world.  She was hired as a tutor at LSC-CyFair in 2006, then as an adjunct instructor in 2007 and full-time faculty in 2010.

Teaching is rewarding for this former Lee College student and Texas A&M grad, who majored in English and minored in women’s studies and history. In sharing her passions, she urges students to embrace their uniqueness, encourages them to ask meaningful questions to better understand their world and then sets and models high standards to build their confidence. She reminds students to take advantage of the many resources available at their fingertips and involves her students in the process of achieving success as they learn to apply skills in class and in life.

“My family taught me that an education is the one accomplishment in life that no one can take away,” said Jeffrey, who finds joy in learning from her inspirational students.  “Whether it is accommodating their physical, mental or learning needs, appreciating their ethnic or cultural backgrounds, understanding their day-to-day struggles outside the classroom, or acknowledging their different personalities, my students educate me each and every day.”

Marxhausen, who teaches Developmental English and EDUC 1300, began as an adjunct instructor when the Barker Cypress campus opened in 2003 and has been a full-time instructor since 2007. This Sam Houston grad sees her job in the classroom as facilitator, counselor and coach. She teaches first through listening to, and then trying to, fulfill her students’ needs.

“I find myself being a support and resource through listening and connecting with students,” said Marxhausen. “I help students learn writing skills, but also to discover who they are, what they are excited about and how they can become lifelong learners who inspire others.”

She works with her students to find, not only their passion for learning, careers and life, but often times, ways to remain in school when basic needs aren’t being met or facing traumatic events. She takes time to reach out with an email or phone call.

“When a student experiences a human connection, it’s harder for them to just quit. It also allows them the freedom to be self-confident, and with self-confidence, anything is possible,” she said. “All it takes is one moment or one person to inspire someone.”

Seay, who teaches in the Associate Degree Nursing program, began as an adjunct at LSC-Tomball before starting full-time in 2008 at LSC-CyFair. This Langham Creek High School grad is now working on her doctorate through Texas Women’s University.

Her passion for teaching nursing comes from experiences as a pediatric nurse practitioner. To help instill confidence in students, she draws on real world clinical situations for case studies in the classroom. She promotes human dignity and autonomy through student-centered learning that includes objectives of active participation, while integrating technology in the understanding of the humanities and art of nursing. The importance of lifelong learning is also continually stressed in her lectures and with examples to help instill the need to advance within this profession, as well as apply up-to-date care to patients upon graduation.

“I’m passionate about teaching families to care for children as well as prevention of child abuse,” said Seay, who respects the adult learner, assesses their knowledge base and makes the material tangible to them. “It’s vital to demonstrate caring in our teaching so they are motivated and inspired to continue.”

These four faculty members were among those employees recognized for their outstanding service in college-wide and system-wide employee events. For information on LSC-CyFair, and registration which is under way for May mini-mester and summer sessions, go to LoneStar.edu/cyfair.