We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series.
Today we’re showcasing Carrie Vielle, clinical assistant professor in the School of Design and Construction. Here are her answers to a few questions:
How did you pick this as a career?
I think we all have a tendency to want to be like the people we admire and have made a significant impact in our lives. I had two extraordinary teachers in high school that inspired me and that I wanted to emulate. They not only were brilliant at knowing and teaching their subjects, it was clear they cared about student success and being mentors! They felt teaching was an honor, and to me this was extremely noble – this is why I transitioned into teaching.
What is your favorite thing about teaching college students?
My favorite part about being a college professor is being there for the “ah-hah!” moments – those magical seconds when connections are made for the students and mature, creative solutions take form. The students’ excitement is contagious and builds confidence. The euphoria they feel about their own critical thinking and learning is an inspiring thing to be part of!
Why do you love what you do?
A few years ago, I received a thank you card from a former student. The passage that impacted me the most, and that reaffirmed my love of being a professor was, “You taught me to see the world through new eyes and I am better for it.” The opportunity to be a mentor, and impact a young adult’s life in positive, life-long ways is a privilege and continues to give me great reward.
If you could provide any tips or advice for your students, or WSU students in general, what would they be?
I have a very important tip, one that continues to be confirmed by professionals in our industry year after year after year: Students that start our program, that come to class, complete their projects with a minimum degree of success, will earn a degree. Everyone who wants this, can and will achieve this goal. Everyone. As important as that achievement is, what often matters more to your future is the other things you do while in college. GET INVOLVED – volunteer, attend guest speaker presentations, do service for your school, become a member and/or officer in a student club, initiate job shadows and internships with industry, become a teaching assistant. Set yourself apart in ways that will earn you life and leadership skills, a support network of professors and professionals, and the critical reputation of going above and beyond minimum expectations.
Any other words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?
Sure, a few…
Understand your education is a partnership: Your professors care about you and want you to succeed, but your education is a partnership. Many students don’t understand this when they start college. Your professors work hard for you, but you must work hard for you, too. Students earn their grades, we don’t give them to you.
Learn time management, FAST: In my experience, time management is a skill new students struggle with, A LOT. Understand that every new class will have different requirements, all of which you must complete to earn your grades. Maintain a calendar from day one and consult it everyday. Keep track of your readings, homework deadlines, exams dates, etc. Block out time to get each task completed. As time goes on, you’ll get better at predicting how much time each task will take. Your calendar will become one of your most valuable tools!
Become Resourceful: Learn to navigate through stumbling blocks by using your resources. It can be very discouraging to a professor when a student stops investigating (and abandons an assignment) because the answer is not one Google search away. Don’t give up. Use your textbooks, reach out to your professors, communicate with your fellow students, create study groups, learn about and use the university resources like our libraries and writing centers, etc.
Embrace mistakes: Making mistakes is one of the most effective ways to learn. Just don’t make the same mistake twice. No less-than-perfect grade will define your personal or professional success, so don’t beat yourself up.
Express gratitude: I don’t want this to sound self-serving, but students that express gratitude are worth their weight in gold and keep professors energized. Being a college professor can be extremely challenging. I work very hard to create my lesson plans and teaching tools to make your experience in my classroom wonderful and rewarding. A thank you goes a long way.