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Stony Brook University Professor April Masten Receives Prestigious Award for Teaching

April masten

Professor Awarded 2021 Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award

April masten
Professor April Masten

Stony Brook, NY — November 17, 2021 — Professors who encourage and help shape students in their scholarly development are a vital asset to academic institutions. Stony Brook University is the beneficiary of the talents of Associate Professor of History April Masten who has been honored for her teaching excellence with the American Historical Association’s 2021 Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes inspiring teachers whose techniques and mastery of subject matter have made a lasting impression and substantial difference to students of history.

Professor Masten, who joined Stony Brook University in 2001, specializes in nineteenth-century America, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses on the Early Republic, antebellum, and Civil War eras, industrialization, slavery, women’s history, and popular culture.

Professor Masten is often praised  by her students for challenging them to explore their passion for studying history through excellence in writing, pursuing honors theses on topics that are meaningful to them, and applying for prestigious fellowship programs — with students benefiting from her mastery of the subject and her inspiring mentorship. 

One example of her non-traditional teaching style is her creation  of a unique research seminar, “Dancing Through American History,” in which students learn to ring shout, jig, waltz, square dance, jitterbug, and salsa to complement their archival study of the people, places, and periods that produced these dances

“The AHA’s Asher Award is one of the country’s most prestigious teaching prizes, and we are lucky indeed to have teachers of such high calibre as April Masten in the Department of History at Stony Brook,” says Paul Gootenberg, SUNY distinguished professor and chair of the Department of History.

Masten’s research has been recognized and supported by grants and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Houghton Library at Harvard, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center at Princeton, and the National Humanities Center.  She holds a PhD in American History from Rutgers University, an MA in the Social History of Art from the University of Leeds, and a BA in Music and Dance from San Francisco State University. 

The Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award is named for the late Eugene Asher, who for many years was a leading advocate for history teaching. The Society for History Education shares with the AHA sponsorship of the award. It recognizes outstanding teaching and advocacy for history teaching at two-year, four-year, and graduate colleges and universities.

About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is going far beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. With more than 26,000 students, 2,700 faculty members, nearly 200,000 alumni, an academic medical center and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, it is one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The University embraces its mission to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate, and professional education of the highest quality, and has been ranked among the top 35 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavors, Stony Brook’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places it among the top 65 research institutions in North America. The University’s distinguished faculty have earned esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Stony Brook is one of only eight universities that has a role in running a national laboratory. Providing economic growth for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the University totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (@stonybrooku).

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