The new tenure-track faculty members are: (top l-r): Matthew Burgess (English), Brianna Heggeseth (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), Mary Heskel (Biology), Morgan Jerald (Psychology), Abigail Marsh (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), (Bottom, l-r): Lauren Milne (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), and Leslie Myint (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), Robin Shields-Cutler (Biology), and Morgan Sleeper ‘11 (Linguistics)

This year, nine new tenure-track professors are in Mac classrooms. We asked them what they’re working on, why they’re passionate about their field, and what they’ve learned about teaching.

Matt Burgess

“Inspired by my Mac students’ commitment to the larger community— and a little embarrassed by how little volunteer work I was doing by comparison—I started teaching creative writing to incarcerated students
in Minnesota correctional facilities. As a consequence of that experience, I am currently at work on a novel about the prison industrial complex.”

Brianna Heggeseth
Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
“I used to think that good teaching was simply clearly explaining a concept. I’ve learned that it’s more about developing trusting relationships that foster curious inquiry and guided discovery. So I’ve been ‘teaching’ people around me as long as I can remember; I’m just doing it in a more formal, structured manner.”

Mary Heskel
“My favorite lesson to impart to students is the idea that science is a creative and very human endeavor: it involves joy and failure, and the frontier is being pushed forward continuously by researchers and students asking and answering new questions.”

Morgan Jerald
“I research and teach courses on the psychology of race and gender. I’m excited by the opportunity to use my research to advocate for marginalized groups and as a tool for social justice.”

Abigail Marsh
Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
“My best advice for new students is to listen to your professors’ advice! We say things like, ‘This assignment will take awhile, so plan to work on it in chunks over the week.’ Our tips are probably based on our own experiences—they’re not just formalities.”

Lauren Milne
Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
“I didn’t find computer science until late in my college career and was just blown away with how creative and fun it was. I love getting to share this excitement with my students, especially those in introductory courses who might not be aware of how much programming draws on the right side of your brain.”

Leslie Myint
Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
“When I first learned that my three new colleagues in Math, Statistics, and Computer Science were women, I actually jumped up in excitement. Being aware of the gender disparity in STEM for so long and now finally being able to participate in the change feels pretty amazing.”

Robin Shields-Cutler
“Microorganisms are absolutely essential partners in our existence, yet for some microbes, just a handful of invisible cells could spell death to any one of us. Microbiology tries to understand this complex relationship and its significance, diversity, and history on our planet.”

Morgan Sleeper ’11
“Once you start thinking about linguistics, you can’t help but notice it everywhere, and the ways people speak, sign, text, write, and sing as part of their everyday lives become endlessly fascinating.”

October 31 2018

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