More Than Just “Lecturers”

I’ve been lucky to have had a great number of incredible professors during my two years at Swarthmore– although, maybe it has nothing to do with luck.  I think that the Swarthmore College community and ~vibe~ draws in the passionate, quirky and kind type of human that makes up the majority of the faculty here.  Regardless, I am blessed to have met such extraordinary people who continuously inspire and support me in all of my endeavors, both in and out of the classroom.  

I do not love statistics.  In fact, the only reason I forced myself through the subject is to fulfill a pre-med requirement.  However, one of my favorite days in the academic setting during my freshman year happened within the 11:20-12:35 time slot of Stat 11, (Intro Statistics).  Dr. Everson walked in with arms full of stuffed animals; unusual species that I had never seen in the form of a toy– racoon, porcupine, snake…  He began using them as props for his lecture, and I became enthralled with the stuffed animal woodchuck.  After class, I just had to know where he bought it from, so against the wishes of many friends who claimed it was too embarrassing, I sent an email to my professor explaining the situation.  He responded very quickly, with an in depth explanation of the store he bought the woodchuck from, (which had unfortunately closed down), and the provider (Folk Manis).  He also added that he had searched the Folk Manis website for me, but unfortunately did not see the same woodchuck for sale, so he included a list of alternative animals that I might also appreciate.  Thankfully, I found the woodchuck on Ebay and purchased him soon after (image below), but I will always appreciate the kindness and quirkiness of my statistics professor that made class fun and the Swarthmore community endlessly welcoming.

One of the most important professors that I’ve met during my time here truly exemplifies an interest in supporting her students’ lives.  As a student working in Dr. Yatsunyk’s biochemistry lab, I fully expected that our only interactions would be within the laboratory walls.  That is not the case. After a few weeks of working, Dr. Yatsunyk invited all of her lab students over to make and eat dinner at her house in Swarthmore, a tradition she upholds yearly.  Each student prepared a meal and we ate together around her dinner table with lively conversation about everything unrelated to biochemistry and lab protocol.  The dinner started at 6 pm, and with an 8:30 am lab in the morning, I was planning on heading home at around 8 or 9 pm.  We had so much fun, however, getting lost in conversation about hometowns, hobbies, Dr. Yatsunyk’s childhood and favorite books, that by the time I got home and into bed it was almost 1:00 am.  Just a few days prior, I was at my last home swim meet, looking up at the stands to find my parents, and saw her waving and cheering me on.  It is an incredible feeling to know that my professors are interested and excited about my life outside of my education, and that is something truly amazing about Swarthmore. 

About the Author:

Hey! I’m Liz, a sophomore from Long Island, New York.  I’m a prospective double major in Medical Anthropology and Chemistry on the pre-med track.  When I’m not in class, I’m most likely at the pool, either training with the Swarthmore Swim team, lifeguarding or teaching swim lessons!  I’m in the orchestra and work in a biochemistry lab and as a tour guide on campus. I’m also a member of the Global Health Forum and TOP Soccer.  I am excited to share my experiences here at Swarthmore!

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