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Political Science Professor Dari Sylvester Wins Leadership Award

Jul 2, 2010

Dr. Dari SylvesterProfessor Dari Sylvester's faculty web page says, "I've always appreciated the process of learning and thus I strive to make my classroom experiences memorable and enriching." Her students could not agree more that she achieves this goal every semester in every class.

So it is no surprise that Dr. Sylvester is a winner of this year's Podesto Award, one of the Faith Davies Leadership Awards granted annually by the office of Student Life. The Podesto Award recognizes outstanding educators who directly touch and enrich the lives of Pacific students.

An Assistant Professor of Political Science who joined Pacific in 2005, Dr. Sylvester regularly teaches Public Policy and Pacific Seminar 3, among other courses. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and serves as the chapter historian at Pacific. She has received numerous grants, prizes and awards in support of her research and projects, which focus on civic engagement and public policy.

Dr. Sylvester encourages students to get involved and leads by example. This spring she served as a lead enumerator for the U.S. Census Bureau, helping to count homeless individuals in the local community.  

She "offered resources, support but most importantly she offered her heart" to Political Science student Ty-Licia Hooker who sought to create a youth mentor program for kids in the Stockton area.

She helped Ryan FitzGerald secure multiple internships and multiple scholarship offers from law schools. "She's shown continual interest in my success as a future professional," said Ryan.

Many other students have benefited from and been inspired by Dr. Sylvester's dedication, involvement and support. The quotes below illustrate why she is deserving of the Podesto Award.

Excerpts from 2010 Podesto Award Nomination Letters

"She brought out the best in us with her enthusiasm for the material and insistence on student involvement. Her passion for the subjects she teaches is unquestionable, and the quality of education I got from her is unparalleled in my time at Pacific." -Ryan FitzGerald

"When I need stability, Dr. Sylvester has been a rock. She has a way of making me feel special every time I see her. Even though I know she has a whole slew of advisees, I feel as though I am her only one. ...I am blessed to say she has impacted my life and been a mentor beyond what I can articulate." -Ty-Licia Hooker

"Professor Sylvester can lead her students through a chapter with her artistic skills on the board, her thought-provoking questions, and the occasional interpretive dance to keep everyone paying attention. I have never had a teacher keep my attention as much as Professor Sylvester." -Julia Sweeney

"Material is never dull or boring in her hands; each reading, lecture, or discussion is presented in such a way that students can clearly see its relevance and importance, and are truly wrapped up in the excitement of learning something new." -Andrew Basham

"I learned more about how humanity interacts and thinks about the world than I did in any other class. And this is all thanks to Dr. Sylvester's enthusiasm and encouragement." -Kent Linthicum