Cindy Marolf’s advanced anatomy and physiology class was anything but typical on December 9.
Preparing students for upcoming final exams was likely in her plans but those plans took a special turn when Provost Judy Muyskens and fellow biology professors and students showed up with food and a surprise.
Marolf, assistant professor of biology, was named the first recipient of the Dr. Doris Yin Ming Hsu Biology Faculty Teaching Award.
Hsu, a native of Foochow, China, taught biology at Nebraska Wesleyan from 1952-1972. Hsu earned degrees from Harvard and the University of Michigan and was known at NWU for her expertise in parasitology and anatomy.
Former students established the new Biology Faculty Teaching Award in her honor.
“Nebraska Wesleyan was fortunate to have Dr. Hsu on the faculty for 20 years as a professor of biology,” said one alum who donated to the endowed fund that created the award. “She knew us all very well, understood our goals and capabilities. And what sometimes seemed to us to be a tough taskmaster was her way of pushing us to do our very best in preparation for the rigors of medical school and other graduate studies.”
Flash forward to 2015 and that legacy continues with Marolf who’s not only being celebrated for her biology expertise but for her work in preparing students for medical school.
“It’s refreshing to be in a class where I hear stories and am challenged to figure questions out on my own, instead of being lectured,” one student noted in their nomination.
Marolf also visits with prospective high school students, mentors the Pre-Health Club, which she started and now has 100 members; she takes students to medical school visits across the region, and chairs the Pre-Health Professions Committee.
“Having occupied that position at one time, I know the amount of work, effort and time that goes into the position, which is largely a thankless position but which continues to give Wesleyan considerable prestige,” noted a colleague who nominated Marolf for the award.
Some of the Biology Department’s accomplishments that Marolf has contributed to include:
- 86 percent medical school placement rate
- Top graduate school placements including University of Nebraska Medical Center, Creighton University, Johns Hopkins University and the Mayo Clinic.
- Third largest number of students at UNMC behind only UNO and UNL.
- Seven Goldwater scholars (one of the nation’s top undergraduate research awards)
The Dr. Doris Yin Ming Hsu Biology Faculty Teaching Award will be awarded annually to a member of the Biology Department who has displayed excellence in teaching. Students enrolled in a biology class during the fall semester submitted nominations for this year’s inaugural award.
“She was instrumental in getting a great many of us into medical school,” one alum said of Hsu. “She was very good at telling those at UNMC as well as other universities how we were being taught, our capabilities and how likely we were to be successful.”
The same sentiment resonates today with Marolf’s students.
“Dr. Marolf takes great pride in getting to know her students so she can help them in their next step in life,” wrote a student nominator.