Professor Toni Lefton of the LAIS Department has been awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award. Every year graduating seniors choose a professor from each department to receive this honor. This year, Professor Lefton was chosen by the undergraduate and the graduate seniors. “I can’t think of a greater honor,” Professor Lefton reflected upon her double win. “To have students remember those moments we shared in class…this is why I teach.”
Professor Lefton’s classes feel like communities; students are always encouraged to feel a sense of belonging to the class, and that leads students to produce better work inside and outside of the classroom.
“I love Toni’s classes,” Sara Post, a graduating senior, said. “There’s nothing like a poetry class with 20 other engineers to really capture what the Mines students brings to the table. But without Toni to draw the artist and writer out of the engineer, you couldn’t do it. She really enjoys taking us out of our comfort zones and asking us to think about things differently. At the same time, she’s been here long enough to understand the engineering brain, so she doesn’t fight with it, she works with it. That’s why I voted for her – not just because she’s one of my favorite professors but because she understands the unique stresses of Mines and is willing to work with us from that perspective.”
The award ceremony took place last week in the geology museum with over a hundred students and factually in attendance. Along with Professor Lefton, faculty from other departments were also honored. When asked if she had any advice for the graduating seniors Professor Lefton said, “They should always trust their voices and to remember that we all have a poem inside of us.”
Many students who take a class or more with Professor Lefton know that she always pushes them to bring forth the power of a pencil, which in the end completes the structure of a successful engineer.
“The two classes I’ve had with [Professor Lefton],” Post concludes, “are the highlights of my Mines experience.”