October 26, 2006

Harrisburg teacher wins annual history honor

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A longtime Southern Illinois educator is the recipient of the 2006 Phi Alpha Theta award, an honor handed out annually by the Southern Illinois University Carbondale chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national honors society for history undergraduates.

Robyn E. Williams, a history teacher at Harrisburg High School, will receive the award during a recognition dinner on Friday, Nov. 3 in Carbondale.

"I am surprised and deeply touched that my alma mater considers me worthy of this award," said Williams.

Williams is a two-degree graduate of SIUC, earning bachelor's and master's degrees in history, in 1990 and 1994, respectively.

Williams's experience in education includes stints at Hardin County High School, Carbondale Community High School and John A. Logan Community College, in addition to Harrisburg High School.

Williams has taught courses in American history, world history and Illinois history. She also served as a delegate and on the board of a number of historical societies, including the National Council for the Social Studies, Saline County Historical Society Board, the Illinois State Historical Society Advisory Board and the Illinois State Historical Society Board.

During her time at SIUC, Williams received numerous honors, including a Graduate Fellowship, the John Leason Memorial Scholarship for Potential as Future Teacher of History and the College of Education Tuition Award. Williams also served as the secretary of Phi Alpha Theta from 1988 to 1991.

"Robyn's career exemplifies the values we try to convey to our students - not only obvious scholarly achievement but also a commitment to community," said Natasha Zaretsky, assistant professor of history and faculty advisor for Phi Alpha Theta. "Robyn took her education at SIUC and used it to give back to Southern Illinois by teaching the area's young people about both the history of the United States and the history of their region."

Serving others is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.