What makes USM students love learning?

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Kate Rogers / Community Editor

By: Kate Rogers, Community Editor

Between on-campus and online classes, fall, spring, summer and winter sessions, USM offers roughly fifty undergraduate programs and twenty graduate programs, according to the 2017-18 academic catalog. With undergraduate majors alone requiring anywhere from 36-65 credit hours, and each class only 2-4 credits, that amounts to a lot of classes. Not every class a student has to take is going to be thrilling, but hopefully, if someone is learning about what they love, they’ll enjoy at least a few. The Free Press asked students on the Portland campus about classes they’ve loved.

Grace Sleeman is a junior majoring in English, working on both a history and art history minor. The class she said that she has enjoyed the most was ENG 220, World Masterpieces. Focusing on ancient literature like The Iliad and The Epic of Gilgamesh, ENG 220 is a requirement for the English major. Sleeman took it freshman year with Margaret Reimer. Sleeman credited her love of the class to Reimer. “She just was so excited about everything in the class that it made everything sparkle a little bit more,” Sleeman said. Reimer truly loved what she taught, and Sleeman loved learning it, she said. “It was a really really excellent class, it made me think about the ways that writing has evolved over time and it was just such a joy to read all those books and plays and poems,” Sleeman said.

Yana Keene is a human biology major. She mentioned two classes that she really enjoyed for similar reasons. The first was BIO 345, Pathophysiology, with David Harris. Keene appreciated how Harris was very straightforward with teaching the material that was on the tests. “He had specific slides and if you study those slides that’s what is gonna be on the test, no extra catches no hidden figures in the textbook, no nothing,” Keene said. The other class she enjoyed was Molecular Biology with David Champlin. Something she credited as very important to her in both classes was the energy of the professors. “He’ll go around, crack jokes, maybe ask a question individually because that will wake me up,” Keene said. Along with this, Champlin makes videos and puts them online, which Keene finds very helpful. “It matters a lot how the professor teaches,” Keene said.

Steven Johnson, a media studies major, talked highly of his video production lab with Nat Ives. The class is all about learning how to use the camera and lighting equipment in the media lab. “I really like it … actual hands-on experience I’m doing with all this equipment, that I haven’t really had the chance to do before.” Johnson said they have been doing workshops on specific areas, as well as doing equipment set-ups on their own. “He provides that kind of experience that I haven’t said yet,” Johnson said about Ives.

Delia Demers is a junior majoring in social work. Her favorite class is the Poverty and Hunger class she is currently taking with Cheryl Laz. Some of the main topics are food insecurity, the causes of hunger and ways to fix it, according to Demers. “We have a lot of … in depth discussions … there’s a lot to say and everyone’s very passionate,” Demers said. The focus of the projects so far as been about research and brainstorming solutions, according to Demers. “It really ties in what we’re learning in the classroom to our own communities,” Demers said.

Nicole Welch is a second year English major, but her favorite class was Game Design 100. GS 100 is taught by Alex Irvine, who has lots of experience in the games industry, even working on the game that would eventually become Blizzard’s Overwatch, according to Welch. The class taught the basics of tabletop games and allowed students to design their own board game. “Game Design is such an interesting, fun field…GS 100 opened a door to a minor I’ve been interested in since high school.” Welch said. Unfortunately the game design minor is no longer offered at USM, but it had a significant impact on Welch while it was here.

Classes at USM come and go, but knowing what gets you excited to learn is a lesson that sticks. Be it because of a teacher’s energy, the method of learning, or simply your passion for the subject matter, finding a class you love is a treat.

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