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Local prof named NIU history Alumnus of the Year

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 10:33 a.m. CDT
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(Provided photo)
Amy Powers

Waubonsee Community College Assistant Professor of History Dr. Amy Powers has been selected by the Northern Illinois University History Department as its Alumnus of the Year.

Powers, of DeKalb, obtained a Ph.D. in history from NIU in 2007. She holds a master’s degree in history from John Carroll University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Grove City College.

She will be formally presented with the award in the fall.

Representatives of the NIU History Department’s Selection Committee said Powers was recognized for numerous academic and scholarly achievements, and her “continuous commitment to teaching and students.”

Dr. Stephen Foster, distinguished research professor emeritus at NIU, guided Powers through her doctoral dissertation on poverty relief efforts in New York City in the early 19th century. He noted Powers, while working hard through the years to complete the doctoral dissertation, also worked diligently on “developing a very individual and successful teaching style” at NIU and Waubonsee, as evidenced by Powers’ recognition in 2013 as the Illinois Community College Faculty Association’s Instructor of the Year.

“She had a familiar, easygoing relationship with her students that must have been based as much on out-of-classroom activities – written comments, conferences and so on – as what happened in class on any given day,” Foster said.

Dr. Vera Lind, associate professor of history at NIU, said the selection committee was “also impressed by her engagement for issues of women and gender.”

Lind noted Powers’ involvement with the American Historical Association’s Bridging Cultures Project, which seeks to boost historical scholarship among cultures across both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and bring that scholarship into classrooms.

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