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July 25, 2006

Smith College Award Lauds Superior Teaching

Editor’s note: High-res images of the Sherrerd Award winners are available by contacting Kristen Cole at

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.— Although they will not return to the classroom for another month, four Smith College faculty members were recently recognized for their talent as educators.

Justin Cammy, assistant professor of Jewish studies; John Hellweg, professor of theater; Samuel Intrator, associate professor of education and child study; and Kevin Shea, assistant professor of chemistry, were selected to receive the fourth Kathleen Compton Sherrerd ’54 and John J. F. Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching. The prize is given annually to four Smith faculty members in recognition of their distinguished teaching records and demonstrated enthusiasm and excellence.

The winners will be honored at a presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 4:30 p.m. in Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall. Previously granted during the spring semester, the award presentation will now be scheduled in the fall. 

The Sherrerd Teaching Award was made possible by a grant to the college from the late Smith College alumna Kathleen Compton Sherrerd, a 1954 graduate, and her husband John J. F. Sherrerd.

“Smith has always considered excellent teaching among its top priorities and presents the Sherrerd Teaching Award as a publicly visible symbol of its commitment and dedication to superior pedagogy,” said Smith President Carol T. Christ, in announcing the recipients.

Justin Cammy

Cammy began teaching at Smith in 2001 and became an assistant professor of Jewish studies in 2003 following his completion of doctoral studies at Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Cammy teaches about the literature of Israel, the Holocaust and Jewish American culture, as well as an introduction to Jewish religion. A specialist in modern Yiddish literature and Eastern European Jewish culture, his research currently focuses on Yung-Vilne, a group of young, politically engaged Yiddish poets, writers and artists in inter-war Poland.

John Hellweg

Hellweg joined the Smith Department of Theatre in 1979 after completing his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, and has since taught courses in acting, directing and dramatic literature. Throughout his career, he has directed more than 40 theater productions—from Chekhov to Moli­ère—and performed in numerous others. Hellweg has broadened interdisciplinary parameters with his courses “Asian Theatre and Dance,” “Religion and Theatre in Southeast Asia,” and “European Drama (1530–1904): The Shock of the Pre-Modern.” A popular teacher, Hellweg chaired the Department of Theatre from 1986–89 and again from 2001–03.

Samuel Intrator

Intrator arrived at Smith in 1999 with extensive experience as an educator in K-12 schools and a doctorate from Stanford University. He promptly founded and continues to co-direct the college’s Urban Education Initiative, a center devoted to creating connections between Smith and urban K-12 schools. Intrator has written and edited several books about teachers and teaching, including “Tuned in and Fired Up: How Teaching Can Inspire Genuine Learning,” a finalist for the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Education. He teaches about urban education and teenagers in American culture.

Kevin Shea

Shea did not need to travel far to his accept a post in Smith’s Department of Chemistry in 2000 after completing his doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his undergraduate degree at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He teaches courses in general chemistry, instrumental analysis and organic synthesis, the focus of his research, in which he investigates new methods for carbon-to-carbon bond formation and develops syntheses of biologically active molecules. Since arriving at Smith, Shea has published several articles about his research and has garnered numerous grants supporting his work, including funding from the American Chemical Society and Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,600 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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