Ph.D. Student and History major Erica Holt receives Excellence in Teaching Citation from College of Social Science at Michigan State University

By: Patti McDonald 

Ph.D. student and history major Erica Holt was recently awarded the Excellence in Teaching Citation by the College of Social Science at Michigan State University.  

The Excellence in Teaching Citation is accompanied by a $1,000 stipend and Holt will be recognized at the annual all-university awards ceremony in May.  

Holt was nominated by Professor of History Dr. Aminda Smith. The application for the award also required three letters of support from Holt’s students. She said that she was touched by the student-written letters. 

“I am most proud that students were willing to write those letters for me,” she said. “They were in my first course as an instructor, and I took some risks in the design and topics. I asked a lot of them in each class, and they brought the collaborative energy to make it work.” 

Holt began teaching within the history department as a teaching assistant when she first came to MSU as a graduate student in 2017. In the fall semester of 2023, Holt taught HST 368: China since 1900. 

When she found out about receiving the award, Holt said her former teachers came to mind because they inspired her to start teaching. 

“I am in a Ph.D. program because, by many great strokes of luck, I have had incredible teachers,” she said. 

“They each approached teaching differently, and while most of them would not have remembered me once the class ended, they opened doors into the wider world that helped me become the person I am now. Collectively, they made me want to be a teacher, and so I thought of that lineage of educators when I read that I had won this award.” 

In the summer, Holt will defend her dissertation. Next semester, she will teach science and society courses in Lyman Briggs.