Mary Ann Wagner-Graham | The Impact of Former Professors

Document created by Sara Jo Lee on Mar 22, 2020
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Mary Ann shares what drives her to achieve more.
My Journey to #AchieveMore
As a college faculty member, I'm indebted to my former professors, and strive to repay and honor them by passing along the gifts they gave me to my own students. Nearly three decades ago, I was a first-generation college student who chose her undergraduate institution based on a picture in a mailer. Despite this superficial method of selecting a college, my undergraduate career was life-altering in the best way possible, largely due to the passionate scholars who gave freely of themselves. Now a faculty member myself, I understand much better how very limited the time and energy of my former professors was, and I appreciate much more the experiences and opportunities they offered in the classroom and beyond. They imparted to their students not just content matter in sciences and humanities, but also broader ways to view the world and to think. When I am tired and called in multiple directions at the same time, I find energy and focus in thinking about my former professors. How would Dr. Gabe present this material to capture students' attention? What would Dr. Boerckel do to help students understand this abstract concept? How can I pass along the graciousness Dr. Thayer modeled consistently in his interactions with all his students, even sometimes difficult students, not unlike myself? And, thoughts of Dr. Wolfskill remind me to be patient with struggling students and build their confidence by highlighting their strengths. He is the faculty member who opened the world of chemistry to me, and suggested I pursue a doctoral degree when self-assessment of my own ability put this possibility far out of reach. These are just a few of the wonderful professors who challenged me to grow as an undergraduate, and who continue to inspire and guide me in contributing to a transformative collegiate experience for my current students.

What Drives You to #AchieveMore?