Columbia gems to keep forever

By Bethany Reinhart

While walking through Columbia’s colorful halls or sitting in one of the college’s C-spaces, it is common to hear students grumbling about their classes. Homework is piling up, lectures are boring, the professor is crazy, etc. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our frustration about aggravating classes that we forget about the excellent courses we’ve taken and exceptional professors we’ve met.

Recently I was sitting in my boss’ office waxing poetically about my afternoon class. Since the first day, I have been unable to stop telling people about this wonderful course, Women’s Health Care Issues, taught by Sharon Powell. My boss and I talked for a moment, discussing some of the hidden treasures at Columbia, including this course and its professor. He then pointed out that when I leave Columbia and move on to future endeavors, I won’t look back on the college itself, but rather the people and connections I’ve made during my time at Columbia.

From previous experience in my former career, I knew my boss was absolutely correct. Out in the “real world,” it is often about whom you know, not what you know. The people I’ve met and connections I’ve made during my time at Columbia are invaluable. Some have been strictly academic, some strictly professional and others have been connections that transpire through all areas of my life.

There are many professors with whom I’ve connected throughout my college career and it is not often that I take time to mention them within my column. Columbia has such a plethora of wonderful teachers and courses that it would simply be impossible to highlight them all. However, this week I’d like to share my experiences with Sharon Powell; encourage members of our student body to take her class and nudge some of Columbia’s faculty to look at Powell’s teaching method and student rapport as a model for their own teaching excellence.

Powell has taken the broad topic of women’s health care and made it into one of the most interesting topics I’ve studied during my time at Columbia. The class doesn’t just focus on health and well-being. It encompasses the cultural and political problems within the realm of women’s health care. In addition to focusing on such issues, Powell has made the class downright fun. She keeps on target but still allows for open discussion within the class. Her passion for the subject is incredibly obvious and her method of teaching both informative and hilarious. I always need a good laugh, so I will never skip her class.

Additionally, Powell is a compassionate professor. If a student is ill, her message is to heal and get well—not to stress out about missing class or homework assignments. She truly cares about the well-being of her students.

Columbia is full of amazing teachers who deserve to be recognized for their excellence and commitment to students. Powell is one such professor. The relationship I’ve gained with her and what I have learned in her class is an example of something I will carry with me into my future endeavors, and one of the things I will look back upon fondly long after graduation.