April 2, 2018

CARTERVILLE — While biology is the study of all living things, Donna Ford is the instructor who gives students the heart to tackle what is sometimes viewed as a difficult subject.

Ford — who has taught biology at John A. Logan College for the past 22 years — has been named the College’s “2018 Full-Time Faculty of the Year Award” recipient.

She was chosen by her peers.

“Of course, I’m very honored to be chosen for this honor,” Ford said. “But there are so many other full-time faculty members who are also deserving. The number of amazing faculty members is what makes John A. Logan College so special.”

Of all the amazing faculty, Ford, this year, was chosen as the most amazing.

“She has motivated and inspired so many students in her 22 years at the College,” said Melanie Pecord, acting vice-president for instruction. “She definitely stands out as the College’s 2018 Full-time Faculty of the Year Award recipient. She has accomplished great things in the classroom for many years.”

Ford inspired students like Europe Doan, who, after graduating from John A. Logan College, attended Southern Illinois University through the Southern Illinois Bridges Program and is now enrolled in a research program at Duke University.

“Donna Ford was one of those kind teachers who really motivated me to pursue science as a career,” Doan said. “There is a vast believe that one shouldn’t major in science because it is ‘too hard,’ but I am fortunate that teachers like Donna Ford convinced me that, while science may be challenging at times, excellence is achievable if you’re motivated and passionate about it. I’m thankful that during my time at John A. Logan College, scientific curiosity was instilled in me.”

Today, Doan, 21, is a Ph.D. candidate at Duke’s Department of Immunology and she is using her education to seek a cure for cancer.

Ford has been involved with the Southern Illinois Bridges Program since 2014.

 “It was through this program that I truly learned how to think like a scientist, learned about graduate school, and discovered my desire to work in a research laboratory,” Doan said. “In this program, I had the opportunity to work on several different research projects spanning many fields, such as neurophysiology, molecular biology, microbiology, and cancer biology.”

Kayla Stuthers, a recent recipient of the Chancellors Transfer Scholarship at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), has also praised Ford for her inspiration in the classroom. She said Ford — and others instructors at the College — helped her realize her potential. Now, all tuition and fees at SIUC will be paid by the scholarship over the next two years.

“I wouldn’t be in this position nor would have been able to accomplish what I have without instructors like Donna Ford,” Stuthers said.

Ford said that the success of students who have been in her classroom brings joy to her life almost everyday.

“I have seen so many students go on to become physicians, veterinarians, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and other professions and it brings me great joy as a college instructor to see so many students succeed,” Ford said. “For other students, who may not go on to pursue a career in the sciences, it still brings me great joy when I see that ‘light bulb go on’ in the classroom and see that they are understanding and learning and enjoying the subjects being taught.”

Ford has taught numerous courses at the College, including Biology 100, Biology 101, Biology 102, Biology 110, Biology 115, Biology 120, Biology 226, Biology 240, and Geology 215. She has also been a coauthor of the biology portion of the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering competition for a number of years.

“The College is very proud of the accomplishments of Donna Ford and what she has meant to the students and other faculty and staff members of this College during her career,” said Dr. Ron House, president of John A. Logan College. “She is most deserving of this honor.”