Dr. Roger Peters was a beloved Fort Lewis College professor whose enthusiasm and passion for learning was infectious. Though he passed away in 2001, his legacy lives on in the Roger Peters Distinguished Professor Award and this year that award honors another beloved FLC educator, Professor of Biology Dr. Shere Byrd.
“I'm not sure I'd describe myself as ‘distinguished’ or that I am an innovator like Roger was,” Dr. Byrd says, “but I'm very humbled to both have been nominated and selected for an award given in his memory.”
After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Oregon and doing her postdoctoral work in the state of Washington, she got the chance to really get a taste of teaching and she made a discovery.
“I LOVED working with students and it brought a lot more diversity to my job,” she says. “That's when I decided to look for teaching/research jobs. I got lucky that Fort Lewis had a position and they liked me enough to hire me. It was great to come back to Durango, and it has been a really good fit for me. I still love working with students in the lab doing research, in classes, and just around college.”
“My fondest moments are when students (either current or former) say something positive about our shared experiences at Fort Lewis,” she says. “When I hear that a summer research student is now going into a Ph.D. program and is really grateful for the learning opportunities we had together, or when a student in a senior-level class lets me know that even though it was tough, they really learned a lot, that's memorable.”
Her efforts to help her students, both in and out of the classroom, have been recognized before and she is a past winner of the FLC Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award and the FLC Achievement Award.
“The academic environment at Fort Lewis is one in which faculty with ideas can make things happen that have real impacts on students and our society. I'm lucky that I've been able to take advantage of that openness to forge a career that I really love.”