Biology professor wins excellence in education award


Terri-Lynn Frasher/The Chart

Dr. Lawson explains to his class the differences in types of sediment, in Reynolds Hall on Monday, March 24.

Each year, Missouri Southern nominates top notch professors for a chance to win the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education. This year’s winner is Dr. Mike Lawson, professor of biology and microbiology.

“I feel very honored,” Lawson said. “It’s flattering to be honored by my peers and nice to know they think highly of my work.”

Lawson, a Missouri Southern graduate, started college as a pre-veterinary student but soon realized that he wanted to teach.

“My father was a teacher,” Lawson said. “I liked the setting and knew that it’s where I was supposed to be.”

After graduating from Missouri Southern, Lawson spent 19 years teaching high school, including a stretch of time at Carl Junction. After ending his years of teaching high school, he returned to his alma mater to teach various classes in the biology department. He has been with the University for 23 years.

Lawson says his favorite part of teaching is his students.

“I love seeing students get the concepts I’m trying to get across, get the knowledge, and apply it,” he said. “I like to see them developing their critical thinking skills.”

Former student Anna Cunningham, now an adjunct professor of biology, had Lawson during her time as a student at Missouri Southern.

“His passion for microbiology is evident in his teaching,” she said. “I never left one of his classes without thinking the subject material was the coolest stuff I had ever learned.”

In his years at Missouri Southern, Lawson has created many fond memories and he has high hopes for the future.

“I’m enthusiastic about the direction the University is going as a whole, especially with the presidential search,” he said.

Outside of teaching, Lawson enjoys watching Nebraska football games, spending time with his daughters and granddaughter, or hunting pheasant and quail with his Brittney spaniels.