DURHAM, N.C. – Ahead of 2024 Duke University commencement activities, and Nicholas School of the Environment (NSOE) recognition ceremonies for its graduates, the Nicholas School’s Stanback Dean, Lori Bennear, announced recipients of two mentoring/teaching awards. Nicolette Cagle, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science and Policy and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will receive the Lynn Maguire Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring of Professional Students, while Erin Voigt, Program Coordinator for the Marine Lab Scholars Program, will receive the Karen Kirchof Staff Award for Excellence in Mentoring Students.

Created in 2020 to honor exemplary teaching, mentoring, and advising, the Lynn Maguire Award recognizes faculty who embody scholarship, excel at classroom teaching, and are thoughtful in how they mentor and advise students. Lynn Maguire is a founding faculty member of the Nicholas School who retired in 2017. Her legacy in teaching and mentoring professional graduate students is evident through alumni she influenced.

Students nominating Cagle described her classroom as welcoming and inclusive, stimulating and challenging, and also offered examples of her dedication. “I have been struck time and time again by Nicki’s intentionality, robust and thoughtful class design, creative and stimulating teaching, and compassionate mentoring of all students who cross her path,“ wrote one nominating student, while another described her classroom as a “warm and welcoming environment for students to thrive in. Questions are encouraged, help is readily given, and there is a sense of community.” Nominations praised Cagle for her time, her “bold, listening ear”, her meaningful insights, and how she bridges forestry with other fields.

“I could sense that she brought the kind of interdisciplinary and inclusive energy to the classroom, and the woods, which are her classroom, that I was craving, and I know countless other students feel the same way. I have truly never encountered another professor who is as brilliant and intellectually challenging while being simultaneously explicitly student-centered,” wrote a student.

Created in 2023, the Karen Kirchof Staff Award honors culturally inclusive mentoring, commitment to advancing students’ long-term professional development, and fostering respect in support of the school’s doctoral, professional (master’s), and undergraduate programs. The award is named in honor of the late Karen Kirchof, who influenced the careers of thousands of Nicholas School students during her 27 years as an assistant dean and director of the NSOE’s career and professional development center.

Award recipient Erin Voigt has mentored undergraduates in the Rachel Carson Scholars Program, as well as Master of Environmental Management and doctoral students. According to her nominator, Erin is “approachable and easy to talk to,” “listens intently,” “engages with students deeply,” and “is an excellent bridge to the ocean, to ocean topics, and ocean careers”.

Cagle will be recognized at the Nicholas School’s 2024 Professional Master’s Recognition Ceremony on Friday, May 10, 2024 at 4 p.m, while Voigt will be honored at the undergraduate recognition ceremony, which will take place on May 11, 2024 at 9 a.m. Both events will be livestreamed and recorded from Duke’s Wilson Recreation Center for those who cannot attend.