Mass media professor wins Topeka award

Adam White

Professor and chair of the mass media department, Maria Stover, recently won the Topeka Women of Influence award in education. The award will be presented to Stover during a ceremony from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22 at the Hilton Garden Inn. 

The award recognizes women who have shown innovation and dedication in their chosen field.

Stover said, “It’s a pretty big event. When it started five or six years ago, there was probably around 25 women and now there’s close to 300 people in attendance and it’s a big celebration of women and leadership in this community and in the city of Topeka. So I’m absolutely and truly honored to receive this award. I believe a lot of my successes are due to the mentoring from so many wonderful women. Throughout the years I’ve learned that it’s important to give back. I have, on my part, tried to develop those mentoring relationships and I really think one of the biggest accomplishments in my career is talking about deeper relationships with students to expand on that and go beyond the teaching of the material and the mentoring of young women. On a number of occasions I’ve had the joy of talking to young women about their plans, what do you want to do after you graduate? Sometimes these conversations are about everything, life, pay and how to negotiate a salary. Have you thought about grad school? Opening new fields.

“It is not easy to teach. Not everybody feels the call the teach. I always felt that it is an honor to be able to call myself a teacher. Often when I introduce myself to people, I don’t say I’m a professor or I’m the chair of the mass media department, most of the time I just tell them I am a teacher because this is how I primarily define myself. If I have to think of an identity, my identity primarily resides in that definition of a teacher, I teach. That’s what brings me the most joy and satisfaction.” Stover said.

Alex Grimes is a senior mass media student who distinctly remembers Professor Stover from Visual Communication class. 

“I really liked how she paced that class, she paces it in a way that makes sense. The first several class periods are lectures then it’s labs the rest of the semester where you use everything from the lectures. You get to use it in practice and I wish more professors would do something like that when setting up classes. She’s really awesome at helping out students and she always made time during lab days to talk to each student one on one and give quick feedback on our projects that we were working on which I can’t express how appreciative I am for that. Without that one on one time she set aside for everyone, I think a lot of us wouldn’t have gone on the right path for that project, so she really goes above and beyond for making sure the students are understanding the material and the projects.” Grimes said. 

Edited by Jessica Galvin, Shelby Hanson