George Mason University
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George Mason University

The Associate Dean bonded with Honors students over freshly baked cookies

April 7, 2020   /   by Zaria Talley

Honors LLC students at the In the Kitchen baking event with Associate Dean Jan Allbeck!

Focused Honors LLC students making cookies "In the Kitchen" with Dean Allbeck! Interested in what kind of cookies they're making? Keep reading below! Photo by Sophia Chapin.

On Thursday, February 27, Honors students joined Dean Allbeck, the Associate Dean of the Honors College, for an evening of baking cookies in the Hanover Hall Kitchen. For the Dean, baking provides a sense of accomplishment in a tangible, delicious form. It also connects her to her grandmother, who was well known in their community for her cakes.

“When I bake, I think of her and feel like I’m paying homage,” said Dean Allbeck.

In the Kitchen with Associate Dean Jan Allbeck!

Photo by Sophia Chapin.

The Dean’s love for baking is evident in the tasty treats that she has become known for around the Honors College. This encouraged Telecia Taylor, the Living Learning Community Coordinator for the Honors College, to develop a way for faculty to better interact with students outside the classroom.

“We started with Dean Allbeck because she is a phenomenal baker. […] We definitely wanted to share her passion with the students,” said Taylor.

For the event, Dean Allbeck chose to bake vegan spiced pumpkin-raisin cookies and separated the students into small groups to put the ingredients together. The students all had varying degrees of comfort in baking, and Dean Allbeck helped each group along the way with measuring and mixing.

Once the cookie dough was molded and placed onto trays, the students enjoyed eating the leftover dough and chatted with Dean Allbeck as the cookies baked. Students received advice on academics and crocheting while learning more about Dean Allbeck’s love of Legos and her four cats.

While students attended the event for the promise of cookies, like freshman Statistics major Nicholas Szymonik, they also came with the intent of getting to know the Dean better.

“I’ve talked to Dean Allbeck before, and I love that she is a really cool person,” said freshman Computer Science major Mariana Ritchie, who enjoyed that this event provided her the opportunity to further that connection.

The event concluded with everyone enjoying the freshly baked cookies that they worked to make together. Students walked away with lessons in baking, funny anecdotes about Dean Allbeck, and a delightful dessert for after dinner.

Fresh cookies made by Associate Dean Jan Allbeck and students from the Honors LLC!

Freshly baked vegan spiced pumpkin-raisin cookies made by Associate Dean Jan Allbeck and Honors LLC students! Photo by Sophia Chapin.