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Psychology Instructor Receives Two Prestigious Teaching Awards

Laura Otrimski, psychology instructor at Edgecombe Community College, has received the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award as well as the Hitachi Astemo Endowed Faculty Chair Award. As part of the Hitachi Astemo award, she received a chair with an engraved brass nameplate.

Laura Otrimski, psychology instructor at Edgecombe Community College, recently had the best day ever. She received not one but two teaching awards during the fall semester kickoff for college employees held August 14.

During a morning session, she received the ECC Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award. Later, during an awards luncheon, she received the 2023 Hitachi Astemo Endowed Faculty Chair. Both reward excellence in teaching.

“I am completely honored and humbled by receiving these two teaching awards,” Otrimski says. “Sometimes we never really know the true weight of our words and the impact we make on others. I am grateful to the college and everyone who has enabled me to do what I do.”

Otrimski explains her teaching philosophy: “I believe it is essential to provide students a broad range of opportunities to think creatively and apply the materials learned to their everyday lives. I try to help students see beyond the grades and more toward their future and self-improvement.”

A former student bears witness to her philosophy. According to the student, “Each of us may never fully know the positive impact we may have on others. Ms. Otrimski has touched my life by developing the knowledge, courage, and confidence I’ve needed to pursue my passion for people. Honestly, I wish she could teach all of my classes.”

Otrimski joined Edgecombe Community College in 2010 as an adjunct psychology instructor and was named a full-time instructor in 2016. In addition to her role in instruction, she is the distance education trainer for faculty and students.

She developed and continues to oversee ECC’s online orientation to help prepare students for online learning. She also supports faculty on learning management technology.

Otrimski further serves the college as a pre-nursing advisor, cochair of the Distance Education Committee, and member of the QEP Committee. She is a frequent senior project mentor for the Edgecombe Early College High School, which is located on ECC’s Tarboro campus.

She received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2020 and was nominated for the Endowed Faculty Chair Award in 2018 and 2019.

“I have been teaching for over ten years now, and I still get butterflies in my stomach before I lecture. But I get the intrinsic reward of knowing that I made a difference in my students’ lives and hopefully helped them believe in themselves,” she adds.

Otrimski holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from East Carolina University and a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix.

As the Hitachi Astemo Endowed Faculty Chair holder, Otrimski receives $2,500 and a chair with an engraved brass nameplate. As the winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award, she is the college’s nominee for the State Board of Community Colleges’ Excellence in Teaching.

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