Amy Frary

Mount Holyoke College Faculty Award for Teaching

Passionate, funny, rigorous, respectful, superbly engaging, and extraordinarily enthusiastic. These are the words that Amy’s students use to describe her teaching abilities. For over twenty years, Amy has been teaching and inspiring our students in courses such as A Green World, How Organisms Develop, Local Flora, and Plant Diversity and Evolution.

Across all of Amy’s courses, one theme that consistently emerges from her evaluations is that Amy is enthusiastic and incredibly knowledgeable. “Amy rocks! She's clearly excited and that makes learning interesting material even better!” “It is wonderful to be taught by someone who blatantly loves what they're doing.” “Her passion for plants and teaching is palpable, and everyone in the class was always engaged by her lessons and presentations.” “… gave a fire to her lectures.” “The instructor is the most passionate professor I met … It's an honor to take her course.” Her detailed course notes are legendary, as are her review videos and her Q&A sessions.

Amy’s enthusiasm creates an energy and curiosity for her students. Students consistently comment on how much they enjoy sharing their learning with friends and family outside of class. They are grateful for how Amy has created an appreciation of the beauty of plants for them. One student wrote, “Every time I walk through the woods or gardens, I remember unique aspects of the plants I see. The life that Professor Frary breathed into the simple facts made them so much more sustainable.” Another student wrote, “This course has changed the way I experience the outdoors. I cannot believe how much I've learned. Best of all, it has inspired me to keep educating myself about the plant world around me, and I don't foresee my curiosity ever waning!”

Amy co-teaches Biology 200, How Organisms Develop with Rachel Fink. This course enrolls anywhere from 120-145 students. Even though the enrollments are that high, Amy has always been able to establish an environment in the classroom that makes students feel like they are in a small class. “I felt that even though our class was around 100+ people, she taught it like it was a more intimate class setting … I never felt like I was in a huge lecture hall disconnected from the professor.” Importantly, students feel supported and respected by her. Several students over the years have commented on how impressed they are with Amy’s willingness to make sure they understood the material. One student wrote, “Amy is unbelievable. She always replied to my emails. Even at 10:00pm, she was there giving me awesome feedback and helping me clarify my thoughts. There was one night where I was having trouble with my lab report and she was emailing me back and forth for three hours.” Another student wrote, “Professor Frary is basically wonder woman! I am so impressed with her willingness to help her students whenever she can.”

Amy’s devotion to her scholarship is equally impressive. Her research focuses on studying the genetic architecture and evolution of plant genomes. She seeks to discover and characterize the genes underlying specific physical attributes of plants and to understand the ways in which genes, chromosomes, and whole genomes have changed over evolutionary time. Her work is primarily centered on crop plants because these species offer long-established model systems for basic research as well as the potential for contributing to the applied science of plant breeding. Amy has an impressive publication record in her field.

Amy’s students and colleagues hold her in the highest regards. One student expressed the perfect sentiment that probably underlies Amy’s success. The student wrote, “I hope one day I love what I do as much as her!” We are delighted to present Amy with the Mount Holyoke College Faculty Award for Teaching.Passionate, funny, rigorous, respectful, superbly engaging, and extraordinarily enthusiastic. These are the words that Amy’s students use to describe her teaching abilities. For over twenty years, Amy has been teaching and inspiring our students in courses such as A Green World, How Organisms Develop, Local Flora, and Plant Diversity and Evolution.

Across all of Amy’s courses, one theme that consistently emerges from her evaluations is that Amy is enthusiastic and incredibly knowledgeable. “Amy rocks! She's clearly excited and that makes learning interesting material even better!” “It is wonderful to be taught by someone who blatantly loves what they're doing.” “Her passion for plants and teaching is palpable, and everyone in the class was always engaged by her lessons and presentations.” “… gave a fire to her lectures.” “The instructor is the most passionate professor I met … It's an honor to take her course.” Her detailed course notes are legendary, as are her review videos and her Q&A sessions.

Amy’s enthusiasm creates an energy and curiosity for her students. Students consistently comment on how much they enjoy sharing their learning with friends and family outside of class. They are grateful for how Amy has created an appreciation of the beauty of plants for them. One student wrote, “Every time I walk through the woods or gardens, I remember unique aspects of the plants I see. The life that Professor Frary breathed into the simple facts made them so much more sustainable.” Another student wrote, “This course has changed the way I experience the outdoors. I cannot believe how much I've learned. Best of all, it has inspired me to keep educating myself about the plant world around me, and I don't foresee my curiosity ever waning!”

Amy co-teaches Biology 200, How Organisms Develop with Rachel Fink. This course enrolls anywhere from 120-145 students. Even though the enrollments are that high, Amy has always been able to establish an environment in the classroom that makes students feel like they are in a small class. “I felt that even though our class was around 100+ people, she taught it like it was a more intimate class setting … I never felt like I was in a huge lecture hall disconnected from the professor.” Importantly, students feel supported and respected by her. Several students over the years have commented on how impressed they are with Amy’s willingness to make sure they understood the material. One student wrote, “Amy is unbelievable. She always replied to my emails. Even at 10:00pm, she was there giving me awesome feedback and helping me clarify my thoughts. There was one night where I was having trouble with my lab report and she was emailing me back and forth for three hours.” Another student wrote, “Professor Frary is basically wonder woman! I am so impressed with her willingness to help her students whenever she can.”

Amy’s devotion to her scholarship is equally impressive. Her research focuses on studying the genetic architecture and evolution of plant genomes. She seeks to discover and characterize the genes underlying specific physical attributes of plants and to understand the ways in which genes, chromosomes, and whole genomes have changed over evolutionary time. Her work is primarily centered on crop plants because these species offer long-established model systems for basic research as well as the potential for contributing to the applied science of plant breeding. Amy has an impressive publication record in her field.

Amy’s students and colleagues hold her in the highest regards. One student expressed the perfect sentiment that probably underlies Amy’s success. The student wrote, “I hope one day I love what I do as much as her!” We are delighted to present Amy with the Mount Holyoke College Faculty Award for Teaching.