The answer: “Inspiring, passionate, dedicated, positive, caring.”

The question: “How do Bates varsity athletes describe their professors?”

In a fun and heartfelt event on Feb. 11, nine Bates faculty members were honored for “being instrumental in the success of Bobcat student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics Jason Fein.

Nominated for recognition by Bates student-athletes, each faculty member was introduced to the Alumni Gym crowd prior to the men’s basketball game along with a brief quote from their nomination. In the style of basketball introductions, they exchanged low-fives, chest bumps, and smiles with the team.

“Bates faculty members work tirelessly, and with ardor and devotion, to provide a top-tier liberal arts education for our student-athletes,” said Fein.


Bates professors get into the Bobcat spirit as they’re honored prior to the men’s basketball game on Feb. 11. Of the nine honorees, seven were able to attend the event.

Here are the nine, and how Bobcat athletes describe them:

Steve Engel, Professor of Politics

“I nominated Professor Engel because he is a fantastic teacher and member of the Bates community. His course on constitutional law is beloved by politics majors and non-majors alike, and he is a wonderful thesis adviser.”

Beverly Johnson, Professor of Geology

“Professor Johnson is one of the most caring professors I’ve ever met and you can tell that she genuinely wants each of her students to be the best that they can be.”

Stephanie Kelley-Romano, Associate Professor of Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies

“I nominated Professor Kelley-Romano because of her enthusiasm and compassion. I never expected to be a rhetoric major, but after one class with Professor Kelley-Romano, I realized it was the perfect discipline for my interests. Her passion for her subject material is tangible in the classroom. She loves what she does and, in response, you can’t help but love it, too.”

Nancy Koven, John E. Kelsey Professor of Neuroscience

“Professor Koven is dedicated and loves what she does. She really cares about her students and encourages them to succeed.”

As players cheer him on, Professor of Politics Stephen Engel listens to his introduction during pre-game festivities on Feb. 11. Crouching opposite Engel is Sunny Piplani ’21 of Singapore. Awaiting Engel are, from left, Director of Athletics Jason Fein and faculty members Beverly Johnson, Hong Lin, Michael Rocque, Lynne Lewis, and Stephanie Kelley-Romano. (John Dickens)

Lynne Lewis, Elmer W. Campbell Professor of Economics

“I learned more in Professor Lewis’ 300-level econ elective than in any other course at Bates — not only in the sense of informational content, but also in terms of writing in academia. Professor Lewis’ class gives me the skills and confidence to write my thesis next fall.”

Hong Lin, Professor of Physics

“Professor Lin is a very inspiring force for me as a woman in physics, and I know she inspires other female physics majors. She is a great multitasker, seems to have incredible time management, and dedication, all which are also the qualities of a successful student-athlete.”

Patrick Otim, Assistant Professor of History

“Professor Otim is one of the most encouraging and positive professors I’ve had at Bates. He always comes into class with a pleasant attitude and it creates a great atmosphere amongst the students. He always makes sure every student feels comfortable enough to participate during class.”

Michael Rocque, Assistant Professor of Sociology

“Professor Rocque is a super passionate guy who loves research and is super accessible which students greatly appreciate. He makes an effort to check in about other aspects of my life which is really kind. He truly cares about every student and their experience.”

Josh Rubin, Lecturer in Anthropology

“I nominated Professor Rubin because he loves what he does. It is clear in class that he enjoys what he is teaching, and he makes classes interesting and fun to take part in.”

From left, Michael Rocque (sociology), Patrick Otim (history), Beverly Johnson (geology), Hong Lin (physics), Stephen Engel (politics), Lynn Lewis (economics), and Stephanie Kelley-Romano (rhetoric, film, and screen studies). (Paige Cook/Bates College)

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