As an undergraduate at Northwestern, the 7:1 student to faculty ratio has given me countless opportunities to develop strong relationships with faculty members. Because I entered Northwestern in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, I was required to take a themed, first-year writing seminar during my first quarter on campus. The professors for these Weinberg writing seminars double as general first-quarter advisors, so students get significant one-on-one time with these professors. For my writing requirement, I chose a seminar called “Writing About Language and Childhood” taught by Professor Gundlach.
As a high school student, I never developed particularly close relationships with my teachers, and I never had opportunities to work with them individually. However, Professor Gundlach made sure this would not be the case by requiring each of us to meet with him individually before the final versions of any papers that were due. In these one-on-one sessions, Professor Gundlach reviewed our paper drafts with us, but he always left time at the end to ask us how our classes and overall transitions from high school were going. In doing so, Professor Gundlach ensured we each left our first quarter knowing we had a professor who would continue supporting us and who knew us well enough to write letters of recommendation. Even though I only took that one writing course with Professor Gundlach, I continue meeting with him about once each quarter for general academic advising. This past year, he was a great person to turn to for a medical school letter of recommendation because he could speak to my character and development as a student throughout my undergraduate experience.
In addition to Professor Gundlach, I have received incredible support from Professor Chen. After taking her course on health psychology during the spring quarter of my first year, she reached out to see if I would be interested in joining her lab as an undergraduate research assistant. In three years of mentorship, I have gained valuable skills in the planning, executing, and analysis of psychology research, which culminated in a senior thesis project on chronic psychological stressors that influence childhood asthma. Through birthday celebrations at the lab and even dinners at her home, Professor Chen has made it so easy for me to develop a strong professional and personal relationship with her. I know that the incredible professor accessibility I have experienced while at Northwestern has enabled faculty relationships that I will carry with me far beyond my undergraduate studies.
- Post written by Becca Sinard, WCAS ’18