Scranton English professor Kara Stone receives prestigious Atherton Award

Kara Stone poses outside fo the library building with her award plaque

Assistant Teaching Professor of English Kara Stone was named a recipient of this year's prestigious George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is presented each year to four University faculty members who have devoted substantial effort to undergraduate teaching.

Credit: Morgan Sewack

DUNMORE, Pa. — Penn State Scranton's Assistant Teaching Professor of English Kara Stone has been honored with the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching for her outstanding contributions to teaching and student support. The award recognizes her dedication to creating an inclusive and engaging learning environment while empowering students to achieve their personal best.

“I was aware that I was nominated for the award because I had to complete the application in the fall. Since the award is so competitive, I was honored just to be nominated. I was humbled when I read the peer teaching letter and student support letters included in my application,” Stone said upon receiving the recognition.

Stone's teaching methods are deeply rooted in understanding and meeting students’ needs.

“Each semester, I check in with the students throughout the semester both formally and informally to make sure they are ‘with me.’ I strive to create a classroom environment where everyone feels appreciated and valued,” she said.

Her teaching philosophy underscores the importance of connecting with students, making them feel heard, and challenging them to excel. Stone said she aims to equip her students with the critical thinking and persuasive writing skills necessary for success beyond the classroom. She achieves this by employing diverse instructional strategies tailored to different learning styles, incorporating music, art, and current social issues into her curriculum.

I sincerely hope every day to change students’ lives through kindness and support. I've found that the more I believe in students, the more wonderful things they tend to accomplish.

—Kara Stone , assistant teaching professor of English

In addition to her exemplary teaching, Stone actively engages in scholarly activities and student mentorship.

She serves as an adviser and organizer of the campus’ annual Undergraduate Research Fair and Exhibition, guiding students through the research and presentation process. Stone’s commitment to nurturing students’ academic and professional growth extends beyond the classroom, fostering a culture of inclusion and support.

“My students come from various socioeconomic backgrounds, with differing academic needs and interests, who all have succeeded in my classroom because I subscribe to the teaching philosophy of creating an environment of inclusion and engaged learning,” Stone said.

As she looks to the future, Stone said she remains dedicated to her role as an engaged scholar and advocate for student success. Through her passion for teaching and unwavering support for her students, she continues to make a profound impact on the Penn State Scranton community.

The Atherton Award, named after the University’s seventh president, recognizes six faculty members for their exceptional undergraduate teaching skills. Eligibility requires a minimum of three years’ full-time service at Penn State with a focus on undergraduate teaching. Read more about this year’s award recipients.