Second-year students dine with faculty

By Tara Kadioglu

Second-years in the College rushed to Ida Noyes Monday to dine with faculty members in their respective concentrations at the second annual Faculty Roundtables. The College Programming Office (CPO) created the event last year in response to various student-faculty focus groups.

“It really is good for students to begin networking with their professors this early,” said CPO assistant director Carrie Goldin. “A lot of the students who did it last year continue to visit and consult with the professors. It’s really about getting to know people more than anything else—and of course, helping you get in gear with your concentration.”

This year, nearly 500 students and 80 faculty members attended the dinner, while 420 students came last year.

Law, Letters, and Society concentrator Arif Noorami said he thought this was a great way to bring students and faculty together. “There seems to be a wall that keeps students from really interacting with faculty on campus. This event builds bridges—it’s a friendly environment,” he said.

“I got to know the professor who taught my civilization sequence really well. I still talk to her. She gave me great career advice,” said Andie Thomalla, a College Programming assistant and history concentrator, who attended last year.

The website for signing up went live two weeks ago. Students signed up right away and all spots were filled within three to four days, according to Thomalla.

Jackie Quinones, an international studies concentrator, was not sure what to expect. “I’m not totally positive as to what’s going to happen,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll talk to people who can help me better understand what I want to do with my concentration.”

Noah Singer, an economics concentrator, braved the windy weather and his cold to come to the dinner. Pinning on his nametag and scanning the room, he was not nervous.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “When I got the invitation, I thought, ‘Eh, why not?'”

He added that it is important for second-years to know who is teaching the courses for their concentrations.

Assistant Dean of the College Bill Michel said he was impressed with the turnout, over half the second-year class. “I think this is a great way to bring opportunities to students that they otherwise would not come across,” he said.

Economics concentrator John Bruner said he was sick of lecture halls and wanted to be able to actually talk with his professors. “I want to be able to have a conversation with professors in my field—so far, all my courses have been lectures.”

Sitting next to Bruner at the table was economics professor Alen Sanderson, who attended the dinner last year. “We had a good conversation at the table. I think students definitely left with more than just a meal,” Sanderson said. “As economists believe, information is always scarce. I think that about sums up the value in something like this.”