2022 Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching — Beth Choate

Beth Choate
Beth Choate, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability Beth Choate is known to the Allegheny College community as a kindhearted mentor who has continued to inspire generations with her genuine enthusiasm and outstanding instruction.

”She was the first person to make me start thinking about graduate school, which was something that, up until that point, I had never considered,” says David G. Olson ’15. “Without her help, I can honestly say I do not think I would be where I am today. Her guidance and love for teaching helped me to find what I wanted to do with my life, and her commitment to her students goes beyond exemplary.”

Professor Choate has cultivated a classroom that empowers students to become lifelong, independent thinkers who can develop unique solutions. She has a way of making complex topics understandable and emphasizes the current circumstances surrounding environmental issues, inspiring innumerable students. For example, her classes delve into contemporary, pressing topics such as environmental justice and the ecological effects of the retail industry.

Furthermore, Professor Choate engages students with thought-provoking analogies, discussions, and presentations along with hands-on research and field trips. During her time at Allegheny College, she has also collaborated with students on innovative research projects including the declining use of disposable water bottles on campus and the discovery of a new bee species.

“When I first joined her lab after my first year at Allegheny, I had no idea what entomology was, but by the end of my time in her lab, we were working on publishing research from a project I helped design,” says Erica Moretti ’17. “I am grateful that I was mentored by someone who listened to my input, encouraged me to take ownership of my work, and importantly, encouraged me to enjoy myself and have fun even in challenging circumstances.”

As an exceptional advisor, Professor Choate counsels students as they explore options, including graduate school, internships, and job prospects. Countless mentees applaud Professor Choate for giving supportive, insightful advice along their journeys.

“Even though I am no longer a student at Allegheny, Professor Choate remains a close advisor, and she provides invaluable career advice and support to me to this day,” says Hillary Krill ’15. “She is a motivating and caring advisor and mentor for all her students.”