We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite or most influential professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series, which runs through the summer.
Today we’re showcasing Anna Whitehall, clinical assistant professor in the Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership (CTLL) and the Department of Human Development. Here are her answers to a few questions:
Where are you from?
Where did you go to school?
I earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University and a master’s degree from Washington State University.
How did you become interested in your field?
I have always been interested in how people ‘work.’ So when I took a psychology 101 class in college I thought “Wow, I can study how people work and make a career out of this. How cool.” That started my journey with psychology and human development. The more I got into the field of human development, the more interested I became in what we can do (i.e. programs, interventions, etc.) to support people in being psychologically healthy to be the best version of themselves.
Why did you want to become a professor?
To be honest, I kind of stumbled into it and didn’t really know I wanted to be a professor. I originally wanted to be a teacher (which did not work out for a variety of reasons), so I jumped when the opportunity to teach at the college level arose. I fell in love with both the content of my specific course (HD205) and college students, so it seemed like the perfect fit. I get to teach (something I always wanted to do) a subject I respect and admire with an age group that intrigues me.
What is your favorite thing about working with college students?
My favorite thing about working with college students is watching them navigate becoming the people they want to become. This age group is a lot about transitioning from their lives of origin to their own lives and figuring out what that means for them. They are stepping into their own, which can be challenging, and yet need some guidance. I am honored to be one of the people that get to guide them.
What advice would you pass along to students?
Get to know your professors. Professors are so much more than the ‘expert’ in the classroom – they are real people, living real lives, who have been where you are. Getting to know your professors will open the classroom knowledge to you, support you in navigating college, and provide you with a support system.