This is the third in the series of Garfield Log stories through which students and their professors share the connections that define the “ideal college,” Today, on the Garfield Log, Nina Lester, a senior majoring in psychology, joins her favorite professor Michelle Nario-Redmond, Ph. D., who has been teaching psychology at Hiram for 10 years.
Nina, as a senior at Hiram you have had the opportunity to take classes with many great professors. Why is professor Nario-Redmond “Dr. M” your favorite?
Nina: Dr. M is a very charismatic person and is my favorite because she encourages me to keep up the good fight when it comes to social justice issues. Also, when I was having the roughest time in the beginning of my junior year she listened to me, which is the greatest gift anyone could give me.
Dr. M, how does it feel to be selected by your student Nina for a Garfield Log story?
Dr. M: Having a student recognize the work that goes into teaching and mentoring our students, especially this time of year, has been a sweet gift … it’s the appreciation of students that we work with day in and day out that means the most.
As activists both in and out of the classroom, can you tell me a bit more about how you two have been involved in social justice?
Nina: With Dr. M’s guidance I have done an experiment in her Social Psychology class where my group challenged Hiram students to stand up to homophobic comments. [Dr. M] also supports the work I do for Black Lives Matter by attending events that the Social Justice Warriors [an activist group on campus] puts on, which tells me, “I support you and I support this cause.”
Dr. M: We did a social justice teach-in together at CWRU, and she inspires me to make my work count. I come from a long line of social psychologists (from Kurt Lewin and Beatrice Wright to all of my mentors at the University of Kansas) who have studied social issues in order to promote intergroup equality and access. I’m thrilled to have mentored several students at Hiram who have continued in this tradition. I expect great things from Nina as she has already worked to accomplish so much to elevate and improve the lives of others.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Nina: Compassionate, easy going and risk-taker
Dr. M: Driven, optimistic and nurturing
What inspires you?
Nina: Learning inspires me because there is so much to learn about people, culture and the world that I don’t feel like there is enough time to learn it all.
Dr. M, as a professor it must feel so great to hear students say that learning inspires them. Have you always known that you wanted to become a professor?
Dr. M: Ever since I played Mary Poppins in kindergarten, I’ve wanted to be an on-the-ground teacher where I get to translate the fascinating research about psychological science, disability and aging studies. It’s absolutely invigorating to receive the immediate feedback from an audience of students who dig these topics, as we teach each other how to approach questions and create new ways of applying what we learn to the real world.
Since we are here with two experts, what is one fun psychology fact you can leave us with?
Nina: One really important fact that I think people should know about psychology is that Sigmund Freud is famous in psychology for his work in the unconscious and dreaming, because of this, I have researched dreams since my freshman year. Also we have the same birthday, May 6, so that’s pretty cool too.
Dr. M: What you do is what you come to believe.