Chadds Ford native wins teaching award from Penn State

Kathy Meehan

Penn State Brandywine instructor Kathy Meehan, of Chadds Ford Township, has been honored with the prestigious George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, a distinction annually bestowed upon only six deserving faculty members across the University. Named for Penn State’s seventh president, it recognizes outstanding instructors for their devotion and effort toward undergraduate teaching.

Meehan, senior instructor in human development and family studies, has made countless contributions to the Brandywine campus through her instruction and service and is passionate about developing undergraduates into skillful human service professionals.

She becomes only the 12th Brandywine faculty member to receive this award since 1978 and has been a dedicated faculty member since 1999.

“It feels motivating to win the award. Receiving it just makes you want to do more,” Meehan said. “I can be a very good teacher, but I can only be a great teacher because of the support I get here. Great teaching is only possible because of the support of our whole campus. It’s really about having a team approach.”

On Monday, March 25, Meehan was invited to Penn State University Park for the George W. Atherton Award ceremony, where she was honored alongside five other faculty members and presented with this esteemed achievement.

Director of Academic Affairs Paul deGategno was thrilled to hear about Meehan’s achievement and also believes having a team approach is the key to success. “I’m honored that she’s a part of our faculty,” said deGategno. “She’s extremely hard working and I think it’s a mark not only on her accomplishments but the accomplishments of our faculty as a whole.”

Meehan also serves as the internship coordinator for the human development and family studies program, providing undergraduate students with the opportunity to gain professional experience that prepares them for future careers.

“I want students to graduate from Penn State Brandywine as competent entry-level professionals,” she said. “The only way you can do that is to have a solid foundation of theory paired with actual experience in the field.”

Meehan’s passion for teaching can be experienced in the classroom and has truly benefited students at Brandywine. “When I see the students’ success, that’s my paycheck,” she said. “When you’re teaching a really difficult thing and all of a sudden you see them understand it, it’s a deep joy. Teaching is a passion that we have here. The privilege of helping people achieve their fullest potential, that’s huge to me. It’s all about the students.”

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