My experiences with my professors here at Santa Clara have FAR exceeded my expectations when I first started college. I had always imagined my first day of college classes to be in a 300-person lecture hall with a professor who couldn’t even recognize me, let alone know my name. Thus, I was thoroughly surprised when I walked into my first class, Critical Thinking and Writing. There were about 20 chairs in the classroom, and the professor sat in one of the chairs in the front of the room. By the end of the first class, we all had felt that we already formed a relationship with our professor, Nick Leither (who goes by Nick in class). The class was structured around class discussions where we all got to both get to know each other and widen our perspective on issues discussed in class. Nick knew my name by the second day of class. Our class continued to feel more and more comfortable in this class setting due to the small class size and the open environment that Nick had created. I met my best friend in that class and I still enjoy saying hello to Nick and all my other classmates when I see them around campus.
This experience is not uncommon at Santa Clara. Every single professor I have had at SCU has known my name at least by the end of the Week 2 of classes. I have never had a class with more than 35 students, and I feel comfortable and willing to speak up in all my classes when I have questions.
However, most importantly, I feel as though my professors genuinely care about me. I have had professors time and time again go out of their way to help me in any way they can. For instance, as a first year my Business Ethics professor, Laura Jacobus, connected me with a past student regarding a fellowship she thought I may be interested in as a result of my final project. This year, when one of my Economics professors, Sofia Kotsiri, found out I was an Economics major, she cc’d me on an email of the head of the department voicing her excitement about my involvement with the department. Last year, my Women and Gender Studies professor, Mukta Sharangpani, allowed me to take a day off of class because she could tell I was having a particularly stressful and anxious morning. I could go on and on.
In addition to having professors who genuinely care about me, professors at SCU are a great resource to use for both academic and professional connections. My business professors have real-life business experience in the Silicon Valley and are mostly all willing to connect me with anyone in their network for internships and research opportunities. Many professors are highly involved with their field outside of the classroom, which makes for an enhanced learning experience and additional opportunities. My current Econometrics professor, Michael Kevane, is conducting his own research outside his class; my favorite part of his class is hearing about his research and the ways in which his curriculum is actually being applied in his own research pursuits.
Overall, I am beyond grateful of the professors that I have had at SCU. The professors here are an integral part of the community that is so strong on campus. They make up the foundation of my support system at this school, both academically and personally.
Marli is a Student Ambassador at Santa Clara University, class of 2021. Learn more about her and her involvements, along with the rest of our student ambassadors, here.