What positions do you hold outside of the classroom?
"I am a course coordinator of engineering 1020, a member of a few committees within the department. I own and mange my own healthcare consulting company, primarily in the summer."
How did you get involved in such positions?
"I have been working in health improvement since my student years at Clemson. I made connections through my graduate program that aided me to open a special addition to hospitals in the area."
Have you ever felt inferior or assumed as inferior as a female in the engineering department?
"Absolutely. Absolutely. Surprising, this was something that was never made apparent in my years of schooling. I thought the time of gender inequality was gone and passed. Every time I introduce myself to a new crowd of people as an engineer, I get the dreaded '.....huh'. As if that isn't enough of a slap in the face time and time again, I cannot express the amount of times I have been faced with the question 'Oh, you're an engineer? What did your dad do for a living?'."
Wow, even I am so offended by that. Multiple people really said that to you?
"Yes! I must have had dealt with that question over 50 times in my career. Each time it is just as belittling. Even in my hospital setting, must people just assume I'm a nurse, because, you know, the doctors and engineers are all men and the females are all nurses. When I hear those assumptions, which I do quite often, I cringe."
What are the most common mistakes that students make?
"In my courses I see most errors with the misuse of calculators and algebra errors. This is a result of rushing through problems or an unclear solution process."
So I would assume the best solution to these mistakes would be to use the process sheets introduced in class?
"Yes, I think they help a lot to teach the foundation of a system process, but simply writing out a detailed solutions expressing unknowns and unknowns can help as well".
What general advice would you give college students?
"My best advice comes from my learning experience in college. Looking back, I saw that I should've taken advantage and taken the step to seek out and explore resources on campus. I also recommend never going more than one day feeling the "I am so totally lost" feeling before seeking help. One more piece of advice would be that reading the textbook before class really does work. Professors don't always just say that to say it."
How do you define learning?
"Thats difficult. I see learning as two different definitions; active and overall. To be actively learning I think is simple an engagement and basic understanding of a new skill, or simply recognizing something that you didn't previously know. Overall learning to me is more are mastery than learning. Mastery takes consistent application and complete understanding.
I chose Dr. Childers because...
On the very first day of class, she was encouraging, down to Earth, and as she shared her story she really opened up to us students which is rare of a professor. Dr. Childers discussed her love and appreciation of the medical industry, and how her path took her through engineering. Using what she is talented in and what she loves, she made her own success story. I felt compatible with her because I love the study of medicine and also love the study of engineering. I was excited to here how she made both of her interests work to her favor, and how her connections were made.
Reaction of her responses
Listening to Dr. Childers talk about her many positions inspired me to do what I love, and make the professional world work for me. It felt encouraging to know that she made so many important connections right here at Clemson, and made me eager to start building those connections now.
Her stories about being degraded as a woman in a male-dominated field touched me. I often hear people warn me that those types of conversations occur in the professional realm, but hearing her stories first hand made them all too real. We stayed and chatted about how she faced that adversity, and I idolize her for doing so. She has a prove 'em wrong mentality, like no one can hurt her, and I admire that.
Her advice on college reminded me so much of this course, and the learns brought out in class discussion. College is all about creating your own individualized plan to success, and you cannot do it alone. We are surrounded by amazing resources here at Clemson and we should do everything we can to take advantage of them.
I also sensed a connection with her answer to the question about learning. She went on to discuss that there are many layers to learning and she can sum them up in two big chunks. Bloom's Taxonomy is one of the first things we studied in the class, so I thought it was ironic she brought up the many studies on the subject.
This conversation taught me...
THAT PROFESSORS AREN'T [always] SCARY!
They are real people too, and believe it or not, they were in our shoes one day. They have many years of experience and many years of studying under their belts, and have a lot to offer. Before I would feel this experience, this title of "Dr." to be so intimidating. But now, my lense has changed, and I see that this knowledge they hold can be used to our (us students' ) benefit. It is amazing to feel like you can have a mentor within your field of choice to help you on your journey of growth and success.
I have always appreciated Dr. Childers...
But since this meeting my respect for her has grown even more. She is admirable to be so headstrong in a career where she is faced with many obstacles. She manages to juggle so much but still excel in everything she does, and that makes her a great role model.
I plan to use the lesson I learned from this outcome not only through my next 3 years of college, but into the professional setting. The people ahead of you have power over you, yes, but they also have to power to help you. Not every professor, department head, boss, or CEO is looking to make sure you fail. It is their job to push you to the point of growth, but most will offer a helping hand when they see you struggle. Even if they may not notice, reach out to them. It does not make you a failure or weak to admit you are struggling. That is a key theme I learned this semester. Asking for help is actually one of the most proactive things you can do as a student or employee to insure a ultimate destination of success.