Hunt wins 'Rookie of the Year'

Michael Ford

   The honor society Alpha Chi selected John Hunt, assistant professor of Biology, as “Rookie of the Yearof the University of Arkansas – Monticello for the 2004-2005 academic year.

   “It is very satisfying to be honored by the people you are supposed to be helping,” Hunt said. “This motivates me to keep improving my teaching skills.”

   Hunt graduated from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, and from Auburn University with a master’s degree in 1999 and doctorate in 2004, both in Zoology.  

   Hunt’s dissertation involved conservation of the lesser prairie chicken of southeastern New Mexico.  Part of his research will continue to focus on these birds, but he also plans to conduct research on mammals and birds of southeastern Arkansas.

   As Hunt approached graduation, he began seeking employment. He wanted to work in Arkansas, so he regularly checked Web sites of Arkansas universities.

   “I found a position listed on the UAM Web site, and applied,” Hunt said. “Somehow, I tricked the administration and faculty into hiring me.” 

   Professor of Biology Russell Nordeen said the Math and Science department really enjoys him.

   “I am very impressed with his intellect, ability to connect with students and excellent sense of humor,” he said. “He is a great addition to UAM and our Math and Science School.”

   Since arriving at UAM, Hunt has taught Biological Science, Anatomy and Physiology, Zoology and Comparative Anatomy. In the future, he looks forward to teaching Mammalogy, Evolution, Ecology and perhaps other courses. 

   Hunt said the smaller size of UAM promotes a family atmosphere that makes it a great place to work.

   “I like the fact that UAM is a smaller university, giving me the opportunity to teach several different classes,” Hunt said. “This keeps my job interesting.” 

   Hunt said he loves teaching and experiences difficulties when trying to decide upon his favorite part of the job.

   “I guess the best thing is when I can implant within a student an enthusiasm for a subject that I love,” he said.

   Though Hunt may love his job, he made it clear that it presented its share of challenges.

   “(The hardest part of teaching is) convincing students to study for a class in a subject in which they may have little interest,” Hunt said. “I really hate to give poor marks to a student.”

   Hunt enjoys a number of hobbies: traveling, watching wildlife, reading biology and history, and watching the St. Louis Cardinals. However, he also enjoys the company of that special someone.

   “I am married to a beautiful psychologist who considers me her greatest professional failing,” he said.

   Hunt expressed nothing but positive impressions of his new home.

    “The faculty and staff have been fantastic to me, and the students are friendly and enthusiastic,” he said. “The people of Monticello are extremely friendly.”  

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