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Hardway was named the 31st recipient of the Edward G. Roddy Jr. Outstanding Teacher of the Year award during last spring’s commencement and as such has the privilege of delivering the Last Lecture.
“It’s a big honor to be asked to discuss things I think are important to a general audience in a general format,” Hardway said. “It’s a privilege and a responsibility.”
She described her lecture as a potpourri of topics without emphasis on her own research so she can talk about work being done by others.
“I’m talking about a lot of good research by people over the last few decades,” Hardway said. “It seems it might be valuable for people across different times, facing different challenges.”
Hardway grew up in a small Illinois town and started her career at the University of Illinois before transferring to the University of Chicago. She went to graduate school at the University of Michigan where she also earned a doctorate in developmental psychology. Hardway and her husband moved to Massachusetts where she finished her dissertation under the tutelage of Harvard University’s professor Jerome Kagan.
Before joining Merrimack College about seven years ago, Hardway worked a number of jobs, including liaison between Boston Public Schools and cultural organizations in the city; various research jobs; and for the Illinois Board of Education while in college.
“When I was in second grade I would teach classes for my little brother and sister, but I don’t know if I thought of myself as a teacher so much,” Hardway said. “I wanted to be a person who wanted to learn and help others to learn.”