Tag Archives: Professors

Everyone is so helpful

I recently found out that I am struggling with my grades in my major field. I talked to the department chair and he is helping me in finding out what it is that I’m struggling with. I went to both of my professors in my program. They are going to do their best to help me succeed. They advised me to go to the Kinkel Center and talk to the person in charge of accommodations.  We are currently trying to find out if I do have a learning disability. It feels great to know that the staff is willing to help me.

Your Choice Was Right.

Last week on my blog, I made a rather bold statement. Okay, I probably made several, but this one keeps coming back to me:

“…I know now that I definitely don’t like biochemistry enough to be a biochemist (organic chem. is way better…). I thought I would enjoy learning about the chemistry of life, but honestly, I kind of really dislike it. A lot.”

I would like to take a moment to publically apologize to biochemistry for not giving it time to sink in and grow on me. To quote my mom when I told her last week about my dread of the subject:

“You’ve been doing it for what, two weeks?”

To which I defensively responded that it had been more like five weeks, thank you, which is plenty of time to decide that you don’t like something, right? Of course. At least that’s what I thought, until last Thursday, when my view of everything changed and I began to think more logically again.

Fontbonne is in the process of hiring a new organic chem. professor! And we biology students have had the opportunity to attend mock lectures given by potential candidates. Last Thursday, we got out of biochem early, and Dr. Paine-Saunders led us upstairs to meet the latest candidate, a guy from Wisconsin. Now, I’ve heard that Wisconsin’s chemistry program is one of the best in the nation, so I was excited to see what methods he would employ in his teaching demo. We began with a brief question and answer session, during which we students were given some time to drill him on anything we wanted. One girl asked him how he felt about having students in his organic chemistry class who weren’t planning on going into a chemistry-related field. To which he gave the most wonderful, perfect response: he explained how, while those students may not be going into chemistry, per se, it is likely their fields are in fact related to chemistry and that a firm understanding in the subject is crucial in order to be truly competent in whatever career it is they have (like nutrition, for example).

I fought the urge to write, “HIRE THIS GUY!!” on my evaluation sheet.

See, I’m a terrible decision maker, and the fact that I chose to change majors is kind of a huge deal. Constantly I go back and forth in my head: “Did I make the right choice? Or did I make the stupidest decision of my life?” But this potential future organic chemistry teacher vocalized exactly why I changed majors, proving to me that my logic behind making the switch was completely sound. I changed majors because I knew that understanding what’s going on at the molecular level would help me better understand the big-picture concepts that I’m so passionate about. I would understand why organic agriculture is something worth advocating for, I would understand why processed foods and cosmetics and plastic water bottles and carpets and mattresses (I am NOT paranoid) are bad for us, I would understand what’s going on in the cells of my body as I’m training for my next half-marathon in April. Yes, this is why I changed majors, to understand these things and so much more! But my anxiety and fear over my decision kept me from seeing things rationally, and instead led me into believing that my new major was pulling me farther and farther away from who I am and who I want to be as a scientist. I see now, though, that the opposite is happening, just as I knew it would all along: The more I get into biochem, the more I see how applicable it is to what I want to do.

So, long story short, after making this statement, the candidate proved his point with an awesome lecture on glycolysis, and well, the rest is history. I am officially hooked on the challenge of biochemistry now. And you know what? Let’s be honest here: a PhD in it would be pretty awesome…

I’m excited to see where my new, clear vision takes me. I now know that I’ve made the right choice.

Have a good weekend everyone!


“New Theory” by Washed Out

Stress and Reward

This semester I have quite the heavy load! Being a math major is hard work, but at the same time a lot of my classes are really rewarding!

Right now I am in Calculus 2, Physics 1, and Honors Music course, and Philisophical Foundations of Education, as well as an Education course that meets once a week for 3 hours and we also mentor middle school students, and I have to observe in a classroom for 30 hours this semester.

Calc and Physics are a lot of work, and have been really stressing me out lately! I recently took the time to meet with my Calc teacher one-on-one just to talk about how stressed I’ve been and she was a big help to calm me down. The teachers here really do care about you! I am planning to meet with her a lot more because I just had a root canal yesterday and had been getting sick from the week leading up to the root canal because of medicines I was on and what not. And because of all that fun I got a little behind and she has been very understanding and willing to help catch me up.

Also because of my root canal, my observation schedule got a little messed up and I haven’t been able to go as much as I would have liked last week or this week, but the only reason that is stressing me out is because I am student teaching on Friday! The teacher of our EDU class is going to come in and record me teaching seventh graders math! I am nervous and excited at the same time, and depending on when you ask me I may be more nervous or more excited. Overall, this class has been very rewarding! It has certainly showed me that teaching is what I want to do, and it has been a lot of fun getting to work with kids!

My other classes aren’t very stressful at all, they just seem to be when I am stressed out about my all of my major classes. This week for my honors music class I get to go tour the Fox as well as see Les Miserables, so that should be a lot of fun!

Moral of the blog, no matter how much I get stressed, in the end it is all worth it and there is always someone there to listen and help!

“You Inspire me to reach the next level”

When you look up the word inspire, the dictionary defines it as- to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.

In the Fontbonne community I would have to say that Dr. Jason Sommer would be an inspiration to me. He’s my professor, my academic advisor, Department Chair of the English and Communication Department, and he’s a published poet.

After I’ve completed my BA here at Fontbonne University, my goal is to become a published writer. I’m currently enrolled in Advanced Creative writing which is being taught by Dr. Sommer. He’s the kind of frustrating inspiration especially when he sees capabilities in you that you don’t see within yourself. But he wouldn’t be the Dr. Sommer everyone has come to know if he didn’t push you to reach your full potential.

Another professor on my list would have to be Professor Margaux Sanchez; she’s a professor in the English and Communications department. She inspires me because, like me, she manages a home life/family, work and everything else. She’s also helped me reach new heights regarding my writing. Without her I wouldn’t know how to unclog my mind and thoughts when I’m suffering from writer’s block. She’s written for the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and most recently, the St. Louis Beacon. She’s someone I look up to and has shown me how to become a better me through my writing.

A Required Course Well Worth It

Hello FBU community,

I have been taking a World Religions course for  six weeks now. I chose to take the first eight week courses with Mr. Stopke. I admit I may have not chosen to take this course on my own, since it is required; oh well.  1. I am trying to get out of school and 2. I would have taken some drama course. Nevertheless, this has been one of the most insightful classes that I have taken, and Mr. Stopke make this class even more enjoyable.  I have been enlightened on different religions, traditions, and customs that were contrary to my own beliefs and what I had been taught while growing up in church. I have come to the conclusion that I love my own spiritual journey and my own personal relationship with God outside of what I have learned in church. During my assignment of finding a spiritual center to write about, I found one that I really liked and plan on returning to. If you have not taking this class for whatever reason, I truly recommend Mr. Stopke.

Faculty at Fontbonne

If you’ve ever looked at Fontbonne’s marketing, one of the things they love to talk about is the fantastic student-to-faculty ratio. I think it’s like 14:1? That means Fontbonne has really awesome, small classes, where you get to know everyone in the class by name and you never feel like you’re ignored. Your education becomes personal – which it should be.

What I can’t emphasize enough, though, is just how close you get to be with your professors. I mean, it’s really amazing, just to think about it. Let me give you some examples:
– I lost count of how many professors have written glowing letters of recommendation for me.
– I just wrote a letter of recommendation for one of my professors, at her request – the first time I’ve ever written a formal letter of recommendation! I’m still flattered she would ask me.
– I’m going out to play darts with one professor tomorrow night. (I’m expecting to get thoroughly crushed.)
– I still reach out to former professors for their advice and guidance on recent projects (like my resume)! They respond timely and with brilliant solutions.
– I took a road trip to New Orleans with my advisor (… for a conference. But it was still New Orleans)!

The thing is, I’m not some exception, some wildcard in the deck. That’s just the kind of culture Fontbonne offers. And I’ll be really frank with you: if you don’t like personal relations with really smart, caring people, Fontbonne might not be for you. If you want to hide in the back of the room and be known only as a number, Fontbonne might not be for you. But if you’re looking for an institution for higher education where the faculty members invest in your personal, academic, and professional development, Fontbonne is exactly what you’re looking for.

To close: thank you to all the faculty and staff at Fontbonne who have helped me achieve everything that I have. It’s been a blast.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Hello, everyone!

I’m a transfer student. This is my third year attending college and my first at Fontbonne, and I gotta say, it feels so good to be part of a university again! Since the semester started, I’ve discovered a whole plethora of reasons why Fontbonne is the school for me. I’m having trouble just keeping track of all the little things that have impressed me so far! I could recite a whole list of big changes I’ve felt since coming here, but it’s the little differences that are usually the most profound. I’ll start with one that might not seem like a huge deal, but it means the world to me: people here remember my name.

Now, this might seem pretty commonplace to most of you, but allow me to explain. My name is Arjuna Ganim. It’s pronounced exactly as it looks. I was born in America, and I’ve lived in St. Louis all my life. The ‘j’ does not sound like ‘h’ ‘w’ or ‘y.’ English is the only language I speak. In fact, I’m an English major working towards a secondary certificate in teaching. I’ve been given several nicknames over the years. I suspect that a lot of people simply don’t care enough to put forth the effort t0 try and learn my name. Every time I meet someone new, I have to stand there and spell out, pronounce, and explain it for them. Let me tell you, this gets exhausting after the eleven millionth time.

For my first year of college, I attended a massive university away from home. You know when they say that you might end up being just a number at big colleges? They’re right.  My classes were all huge, making it difficult for professors to connect with every student. On more than one occasion I’d see one of my professors walking by on the street. I’d wave to him and he’d wave back politely, but he wouldn’t have the slightest idea of who I was or what was my name (much less how to pronounce it correctly).

That’s where the difference comes in. At Fontbonne, every single one of my teachers can recognize me by face. To them, I’m not simply student #465320. I’m Arjuna Ganim, and I can’t begin to describe how good that makes me feel.

My Favorite Professor

One of my favorite professors at Fontbonne University is Dr. Nancy English, more commonly known as “Doc.” Doc is one of the most skilled teachers I have ever encountered in my school experience. She uses multiple methods of teaching to appeal to different types of learners. She uses technology with the SmartBoard, the textbook, and other powerpoint presentations she has created herself. It is her intention to convey the material concisely and effectively.

Doc has a passion and zeal for teaching that is tremendously powerful. It is her mission to make sure that everyone learns and is successful in her classes. I have never known a teacher more dedicated to his or her profession than Doc. Doc takes time out of her hectic schedule to meet with students having problems in a class and even came in to school on a Sunday last semester to help those who needed it in Statistics. Availability is unmatched in a class taught by Doc.

Finally, Doc is a great supporter of Fontbonne and its mission. She serves on various committees that range from departmental to athletic. It is not a rare occurrence to see Doc at basketball games, cheering on the athletes. Doc has a great sense of humor, most notably revealed to students by the fact that she calls a calculator a “turtle.” She makes me laugh in class, and I always learn from her lessons about math and life in general. All professors should strive to be like Doc English.

What do you do when you don’t have any rubber bands?

Fortinbras is a go.  We had our first stumble through, and nothing drastic happened.  The performing arts department is producing a hilarious play about the truth of what really happened after Hamlet died.  It’s being directed by Deanna Jent.  She is the director of Fontbonne Theatre as well as the artistic director of our professional company, Mustard Seed.  Deanna is a really cool lady.   She’s an excellent director.  She’s been nominated about six times for a Kevin Kline award for best director (that’s St. Louis’s professional theatre award, sort of like the Tony’s are in NY).  And a lot of shows she directs are nominated for other things, like best ensemble acting, or best production.  And she was selected as the Scholar/Artist of Fontbonne for 2010-2011.

I see Deanna as much more than a director.  She’s the most understanding professor I’ve ever met.  That’s not saying she’s an easy grader, it just makes me want to attempt beyond my best.  Many students are intimidated when they first meet her.  That’s understandable, ’cause she’s pretty awesome.   Kind of like the I’m-scared-of-that-person-because-part-of-me-really-wants-to-be-like-them-but-I’m-afraid-I-never-can-be thing.  No worries, Deanna sees your potential.

Deanna gets you outside of the “institution” box.  There’s so much more out there than your grade.  There’s compassion, there’s social justice, there’s understanding, there’s faith, there’s…other people.  Deanna is a great teacher.  I love her classes.  I love working with her.  She’s just all around…cool.  I want to be able to teach like she does.  I want to be able to tell the world “hey, this is a something we need to work on” like she does.  One show at a time.

So, don’t have any rubber bands?  Find a plastic orchestra.

Remember, I’m pulling for you.  We’re all in this together.

Krista- Can't Just Pick One Favorite

fontbonnekrista4My favorite thing about Fontbonne is, definitely, the professors. Wait..no, it’s living on campus, for sure. Or.. all of the fantastic clubs & activities. No, no, it’s the amazing location and beautiful campus.
Okay. I can’t choose just one thing. But all of the above, and many more, are aspects of Fontbonne University that make it a fantastic place to be. The professors are amazing–many schools claim that their teachers “really care about the students”…but there are very few colleges where the professors know each and every one of their students personally, by name. Like I said before, the professors I’ve had here at Fontbonne are some of the most intelligent, wonderful, funny, and caring people I’ve ever met.
I’m a senior, and this is the first semester I’ve lived on campus. I absolutely love it! My apartment is awesome, my roommates are fantastic, and it’s so convenient living right here on Fontbonne’s beautiful campus. It’s safe, central, and in a beautiful area. The Loop is 5 minutes away. So is downtown Maplewood, as well as the St. Louis Galleria. But living on campus also allows you to plug in here at Fontbonne–there is always something going on, and you really get to know people a lot better if you live here.
Speaking of on campus activities–one of my very favorite things about Fontbonne is all of the great clubs and student organizations!! I’m currently a part of several: I’m on the FISH board (Fontbonne In Service & Humility), I’m a Campus Ministry intern, editor-in-chief of the Fontbanner, the secretary of the SGA (Student Government Association), I was on the recent Dance Marathon board, and I was on the leadership team for the Metanoia retreat. It has been a busy, but blessed, semester! Anyway, these clubs and organizations are really the foundation of this University. Getting involved in them allows you to be a part of the core of this school, and definitely helps you get the full “Fontbonne experience.”
So, my favorite thing about Fontbonne? I can’t pick just one!

Want to become part of the Fontbonne community? Check it out online!