"What? I Won?" This was the immediate reaction of Paralegal Studies professor and assistant director Ethel Hong Badawi when she won a national teaching competition at the 33rd annual conference of the American Association for Paralegal Education in Las Vegas last month.
AAfPE is the premier professional organization for paralegal educators and it is a tremendous accomplishment to receive such an honor from experienced educators and administrators who are the foremost experts in the field.
"Professor Badawi's achievement is particularly noteworthy because this was the first time she attended the conference, so she had never even seen prior competitions. She came in completely new and really wowed the crowd," said Toni Marsh, paralegal studies program director, who was in the audience for Professor Badawi's competition.
Professor Badawi's presentation combined some very dry and challenging subject matter - preferential payment in bankruptcy filings - a big bag of candy, the engaging use of presentation technology, and a little bit of trickery to come up with a funny, prize-winning piece.
"It was a complete shock and honor to be named the winner of the teaching competition by my colleagues at the AAfPE national conference," said Professor Badawi. "In truth, lessons from my colleagues and students at GW were a major factor in helping me to drum up the confidence to enter the competition in the first place!"
Professor Badawi received her JD from the GW Law School and practiced corporate law before joining the University staff in 2011. In addition to her role as faculty member and assistant director of the Paralegal Studies Program, she is the associate director of GW Law School's Career Center.
According to Mary Kubichek, director of Paralegal Program at Casper College and head of the teaching competition, "The Teaching Award is an incredible compliment to a teacher, as contestants must present in front of an audience of their peers and are judged by former winners. Ethel did a great presentation on a complicated topic."
In her personal life, Ethel splits her time between Washington, DC and Rabat, Morocco and enjoys long-distance running, cooking and blogging.