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Alum Wins Top Student English Teacher Award

By Meghan Dusek
UWRF University Communications

DEC. 15, 2006--A recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has won the Outstanding Student Teacher Award from the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (WCTELA).

Terry Jorgenson, of Cottage Grove, Minn., was nominated by UWRF English faculty for the highly competitive award in which only the best students in the state are nominated.

"There have been some occasions when it's been difficult to choose the best, most promising student for the award," said English Professor David Furniss, Terry's advisor. "Terry's impact on this department, its faculty as well as its students, cannot be measured."

In 1997, another UWRF alumna, Amy Stenson, won the award. While a worthwhile candidate will have a strong academic record, excellent classroom presence, and a supportive base of faculty nominators, these are hardly decisive factors--every nominee needs some aspect to set them apart and above, says Furniss.

English professor Ruth Wood emphasized Jorgenson's zeal for her work: "Terry is one of the most serious, hard-working, and disciplined people I know, yet her sense of fun, enthusiasm and irreverence are never out of evidence."

Furniss agrees: "Her passion is palpable: I felt it every time she visited my office to tell me about her teaching experience."

Jorgenson's liveliness is evident in the recommendation letters written by Wood and Furniss.

She is currently teaching in the same district in which she student taught. "Her cooperating teachers, the English departments and principals in both schools were eager not to let her slip through their fingers," wrote Wood. "As impressive as she's been as an undergraduate, I know that her best work lies ahead."

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