Now that I’m back in Williamsburg (and consequently trying to find a job and not be bored), I’ve been online a lot—thumbing through pictures from my trip to Haiti two weeks ago, catching up with old friends, planning my sister’s wedding, and checking out new additions to the William & Mary website. I follow W&M News on Facebook and couldn’t have been happier to find an article announcing the Jefferson Winner for this year—Professor Ann Reed, the Director of William & Mary’s Linguistics Department (read the article here!). Being a Linguistics major, I’ve had the insane pleasure of having Professor Reed for two semesters—one while I was struggling through Generative Syntax (not my forte) and the other this past semester, learning and growing as a student in her Descriptive Linguistics class. I was so happy to have the chance to take a class like that with Professor Reed—a class of 10 or so students, meeting two times a week with a speaker of Tagalog, trying to figure out what was going on with the language. Professor Reed guided us through that process—which for some (cough cough myself cough cough) was harder than others. At the end of the semester, we celebrated with dinner at her house where we showed up early and cooked traditional Filipino food together. It was fantastic.
Hearing about Professor Reed and the Jefferson Award made me not only proud to be one of her students, but also proud to be a student at William & Mary, where professors are different and have a perfect balance between intellect and compassion for their students. I am always blown away by the types of professors that we have. In the Fall 2011 edition of the W&M Alumni magazine, I found myself grinning while reading the “Elemental Teaching” article, because two of the professors featured were my two advisors here—Dr. Anne H. Charity Hudley, my undergraduate school advisor, and Dr. Denise Johnson, my graduate school advisor. Dr. Charity Hudley has been a fantastic part of my undergraduate career and I know will continue to serve as a reference for me as life goes on, and although I haven’t had a significant opportunity (other than scheduling) to meet with Dr. Johnson yet, I am excited and hopeful about what is to come.
Whether they’re grading papers, commenting on your facebook status, inviting you to co-present with them at conferences, or encouraging your academic development and confidence, William & Mary professors are a class all of their own. They don’t only teach the subject of the class you’re taking, they get involved with your personal life. They ask questions about how your family is doing, how your sister’s organic vegetable farm is progressing, how your extra-curricular activities are going, and make sure you’re properly managing your stress. They teach, they care, they inspire. How lucky I am to have been able to study under the great minds that exist here, but even luckier to have been able to become friends with them as well.