Maria Eagen receives first Leipheimer Teaching Award and Patty Boswell becomes fourth Lockhart Service Award winner
Patty Boswell, who has enhanced the academic, residential and extracurricular life at Foxcroft School for more than 20 years, and Dr. Maria Eagen, an aerospace engineer who brought her love of science and teaching to campus five years ago, received special honors May 28 at the School’s Annual Awards Assembly.
Head of School Catherine S. McGehee presented Eagen with the inaugural Mary Louise Leipheimer Award for Excellence in Teaching and Boswell became the fourth recipient of the Jane Lockhart Service Award. Both honors come with cash awards, and both honorees received standing ovations and enthusiastic applause from the gathering of 400+ students, faculty, family and friends gathered in Engelhard Gymnasium on the eve of Foxcroft’s 101st Commencement.
Boswell came to Foxcroft in 1990 when her husband, the late Earl Boswell, joined the staff. Before long, she was working part-time in Schoolhouse and by 1994 she had become the School’s registrar. In 2000, she became a housemother as well, serving in Court and then Applegate dormitories.
Boswell has also been the “Hound Backer” (the faculty advisor) to one of two school-wide intramural teams that comprise Foxcroft’s most beloved tradition and time-consuming extracurricular activity, Fox/Hound.
“It is my honor to present the Jane Lockhart Service Award to a member of our staff whose work criss-crosses the academic, residential and extra-curricular life of our school,” said McGehee. “Her work [as registrar] directly upholds the rigorous academic reputation of our School. . . .
"[In the dormitory] she holds girls to high standards for their behavior and performance, while showing them unconditional love and accepting them for who they are," she added, and "as Hound Backer since 1999, she has helped to build leadership and school spirit, and to bring together Old Girls and New Girls.”
The Lockhart Award was established in 2012 by Foxcroft parents and students in appreciation of the dedication, commitment, and passion of Jane Lockhart, who has worked at Foxcroft since 1966. It honors a staff or faculty member who “exemplifies a personal commitment to and understanding of all of our students,” with an emphasis on all.
The Mary Louise Leipheimer Excellence in Teaching Award honors the former Head of School who came to Foxcroft a year after Lockhart -- to teach English. Established last year by Foxcroft’s Board of Trustees, the award recognizes a faculty member with a tenure of at least three years who connects with and challenges each student to develop her analytical ability, critical and independent thinking, communication skills and personal integrity.
Eagen is the inaugural recipient of the award and, as McGehee put it, "an outstanding teacher in and out of the classroom as well as a coach, club sponsor, and advisor."
After 25 years in the aerospace engineering industry, launching rockets and designing and analyzing satellite missions, Eagen discovered her passion for teaching. She joined the Foxcroft faculty in 2010 and became the Science Dapartment chair a year later.
"Her real-world experience allows her to engage her students with hands-on applications that are relevant to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (or STEM) fields,” said McGehee. “She helps students see STEM subjects as accessible and fun, and encourages girls to gain confidence to pursue what are still male-dominated career fields.”
Eagen has taught core science and math courses at all levels. She brought the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program to Foxcroft, helps plan and host the annual K2M Summit STEM competition, initiated student participation in the drone-building DaVinci Challenge, and has helped secure strategic partnerships with universities, corporations and other foundations.
In addition, McGehee noted, Eagen serves as a volleyball coach, advisor of the community service club Banneker Buddies, and a wise and warm student advisor.