Dzenana Dzanic '14
There were two faculty members who stood out to me the most: Mr. Daniel Bennett and Dr. Pamela Strickland.
Mr. Daniel Bennett was my math teacher and he was the first person in 19 years to convince me that I could do math. Ever since primary school, I’ve been guided by the rule that math wasn’t my biggest strength. I approached math with the assumption that I hated it and couldn’t do it. Mr. Bennett was the first math teacher who made it all so clear and simple. Eventually, I decided to become a math tutor on campus. I liked how Mr. Bennett interacted with all of the students in the classroom, no matter how big or small the class. After a few weeks into the semester, he knew the strengths and weaknesses of each of his students, and he used this knowledge when answering their questions. Mr. Bennett knew his students’ majors and where they came from; he
remembered their grades and pushed them to do better on the next assignment. Every once in a while, in between explaining quadratic equations and exponential functions, he would tell a life story we could all learn from, not just for math, but for life. You couldn’t really daydream in Mr. Bennett’s class, not because he didn’t allow you to, but because he made his classes very engaging and hands-on. We didn’t just learn about math, we did math in his classes. While tutoring math students, I never came across one student who was dissatisfied with Mr. Bennett.
Dr. Pamela Strickland was another equally inspiring teacher at MU. She believed in her students and had a lot of understanding for them. If Dr. Strickland saw you trying diligently, she would reward you for it, regardless of what the grading criteria said. I loved how even though Dr. Strickland taught computational courses that usually only had one right answer to a question, she would still go through your work and tell you why your result was wrong if you didn’t get the right answer. Also, Dr. Strickland was very good at seeing things through students’ eyes. Even though she had a doctorate in Accounting, she understood that she was teaching new material and explained everything from the simplest accounting terminology to complex equations. Dr. Strickland taught me the principles of accounting—another scary, unfamiliar subject with numbers. I just wanted to pass and move on with my life, but Dr. Strickland did such an amazing job that I instantly fell in
love the subject and even decided to pursue a degree in accounting.