Oliveira wins 2020 Williamson Prize at Lyon

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Featured image: Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Cassia Oliveira (pictured above, left with Lyon President Dr. Joey King) won the 2020 Lamar Williamson Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

The Williamson Prize is awarded annually to a Lyon faculty member whose accomplishments as a teacher and a scholar, personal character and service to church and community make him or her deserving of such an honor. Nominations are solicited from faculty and students, and a Williamson Prize Selection Committee recommends a recipient to the Board of Trustees for its approval at its spring meeting.

Oliveira will receive a silver cup and a personal stipend of $2,500. She will give the annual Williamson Prize lecture next spring.

She said winning the Williamson Prize is an honor, especially considering how her academic journey began.

“To someone who grew up on a chicken farm in Brazil, this award is proof that dreams come true.”

Oliveira continued, “Although I grew up poor, I had a very happy childhood and never lacked for love or emotional support. My parents recognized that college was my best ticket to a better life.”

She attributes her success not only to her dedication and hard work but also to the opportunities and mentorship she has received over the years. She is especially grateful to those who served as her mentors during her pre-tenure years: Dr. Mark Schram, Dr. Tim Lindblom, Dr. David Thomas, Dr. Anthony Grafton, Dr. Gloria Everson, and Dr. Virginia Wray.

“To my students, I am grateful for the honor of participating in their educational journey.”

Oliveira continued, “I also want to thank my husband, Dr. Ehsan Shakiba, for his love and support and my son, Darius — the light of my life.”

She concluded by thanking the Williamson family for their generosity and support of Lyon faculty for the past 41 years.

“It is a privilege to live in such a wonderful and caring community and to work at an institution that values the professional, personal, and spiritual growth of its members.”

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