Assistant Professor of Mathematics Honored with Jason Gamel '96 Blue & Gold Spirit Award
Elizabeth Smith, assistant professor of mathematics, was selected as the 2012 recipient of the Jason Gamel '96 Blue and Gold Spirit Award for her "genuine love and spirit for Reinhardt and its students." Kaite Reed, SGA president, honored Smith with the award during a recent SGA meeting.
She embodies the spirit of Reinhardt through her passion for teaching and ability to connect with students. She keeps her students laughing and having fun in class so they will discover how to love what they are learning. She always has her office door open for students to come in and talk about class, homework or just life. She is Elizabeth Smith, assistant professor of mathematics at Reinhardt. Because of her genuine spirit and love for Reinhardt and its students, she was selected by the students as the 2012 recipient of the Jason Gamel '96 Blue & Gold Spirit Award.
"Shining so brightly!"
"I am thrilled to be chosen for such a wonderful award," said Smith, a resident of Waleska, Ga. "The students at RU are fantastic and a joy to be around. They always make me laugh about so many different things. They represent such a wide variety of talents in each class, and I am super proud of all that they accomplish. For some students, math is a difficult topic, and it is a lovely experience for me when I go to various events and see them shining so brightly in their own areas of accomplishment."
Presented annually during the University's Homecoming festivities, the award recognizes a faculty or staff member who best shows their pride for Reinhardt University through athletic events, student activities, campus involvement, and representation of Reinhardt spirit as Jason Gamel '96 did during his time as a student and staff member of the then College. The selection process for the award's recipient is by nomination from the campus-at-large, and then the nominations are compiled by the Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Board and voted on by the Student Senate.
"RU is such a warm and welcoming place to work in I try my best to make my classes equally enjoyable," she said. "I am sure most of my students are not overly thrilled to come to math class but I do try to make the environment a place where they feel welcome to ask questions and are not intimated to learn new topics and get a bit confused. You have to make a lot of mistakes in life before you become good at something whether it is a sport, a new piece of music, a science experiment or a new type of math problem. My teaching goal is that my students discover that it is alright to make mistakes and they should just keep working at it until they understand and master the topic."
Smith has been teaching at Reinhardt since 2004. She is coordinator of the Secondary Mathematics Program in the Price School of Education, and is responsible for developing the program and advising students. She works, on average, 6-16 hours a week outside of class tutoring students in various levels of mathematics, and makes her services convenient to the students.
At the University, Smith has organized and assisted with the Reinhardt University and Cherokee County Schools District Math Tournament since its inception in 2009. She was the faculty advisor to the Equestrian Club from 2008-2010, and was the creator and advisor for the Math and Chess Club, founded in 2011.
Smith doesn't just limit her volunteer efforts and talents to Reinhardt; she is also deeply involved in helping her local community. She is a on the Board of Advisors for the Burgess Arboretum at Reinhardt University, the Waleska Farmers Market, and she has been a Cherokee County Master Gardener since 2001. Smith is a member of the Cherokee County Bee Club for which she teaches a yearly course at the Bee School for those interested in becoming beekeepers.
She and her husband, Eddie, and three children, live on a small organic farm in Salacoa Valley, where they raise Alpine dairy goats, organic free-range chickens, bees, horses, a donkey, dogs and cats.