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Dr. Eric Johnson

Associate Professor of History

Difference Maker

Nominator: Marissa Snyder '11

Nominee: Eric Johnson, Associate Professor of History

Marissa's Memories: While a high school student, I often struggled to find my identity. I graduated with more than 500 classmates, I didn't participate in sports and I felt like I blended in.

In my first year at Kutztown, I took the Introduction to World History class with Dr. Johnson. It was a lecture-style class, with more than 100 students. Dr. Johnson took the time and made the effort to learn as many of our names as possible, and worked to make class interesting for all of us. I was so inspired by him that I took all of his upper level history classes. Through his guidance, I learned to foster a love of reading, writing and history.

I will never forget the day I talked with Dr. Johnson regarding the first research paper I had written for him. He told me it was "one of the finest undergraduate papers" he had ever read, and that I should seriously consider switching my major from secondary education to history. It was the first time I felt that a teacher took a genuine interest in me, and I was so proud of myself. Dr. Johnson also offered me a supplemental instructor position for two of his intro classes to give me some tutoring/teaching experience. I didn't change my major because I love teaching, but I felt proud that Dr. Johnson saw my potential.

I eventually graduated from Kutztown with a 3.9 GPA (that darn 0.1!). I was a member of three honor societies and a recipient of multiple scholarships and awards; my passion for inspiring and teaching others never burned brighter. I definitely didn't "blend in" anymore! When I struggled to find a job in the horrendous education job market, it was Dr. Johnson's thoughtful letter of recommendation that led to my first history teaching job, which I still have and love; the superintendent of the school I work at told me that Dr. Johnson's letter was the reason he gave me an interview in the first place. 

I still see Dr. Johnson whenever I am in Kutztown, and he will be one of my most honored guests at my wedding. None of my accomplishments thus far would have happened without his guidance, encouragement and nurturing. I will be forever grateful to him as I attempt, every day, to model my teaching style after his. He is definitely worthy of this recognition.


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