On Educator of the Year

By Christina Eichorn

Applications for Educator of the Year Award were due on Friday, March 12. I know that whoever wins is incredibly deserving of it. And yet, I could not bring myself to pick just one person to nominate myself. There are numerous members of the Macalester Community and beyond who have supported me personally, and I can only believe that they are universally this way throughout the campus. My situation is one very unique to Macalester. In an Economics class I took my freshman year, I found out that a huge majority of Macalester students come from families in the top fifth socioeconomic class (I hope that I’m wording that right because I am a psychology major now). That same day I realized my family was in the bottom fifth.

Since I began at Macalester, I have worked two jobs aside from being a full-time student. I work hard to pay for my tuition, my books, my rent, my food, and try to scrape the ends together to send money home when my family needs it. My family relies on each other heavily for all sorts of support, including financial, since my dad ruptured his C-3 disc in a car accident three years ago, rendering him unable to work any labor or blue-collared job. My father has only graduated high school and is not familiar with clerical work, while my mother just earned her Associate’s Degree a few months ago.

Since moving out, I’ve needed even more money to support myself, so I traded my off-campus part-time job for a full-time management position in retail. I have also maintained a full-time academic schedule at Mac as well as student employment.

But why am I telling you my life story of trying to make ends meet? Because the Educator of the Year Award had me thinking of all the people: professors, staff, friends, and bosses; who have bent over backwards to accommodate me. These are the people who allow me extensions, converse with me via e-mail at 11:30 at night because that’s when I get home from work, who help me with lecture that I’ve missed because I’m too physically exhausted to come to school, who let me rewrite papers after I’ve missed the deadline, who vouch for me amongst other faculty and staff, who have flexible schedules, who let me retake exams, who don’t lecture me on the importance of tutors, who answer my questions in class instead of referring me to office hours, who give second chances, who understand that every student at Macalester is unique and has different circumstances. To these people I say, “Thank you, with all my heart, mind, and spirit, since it’s through all of your help that I am able to strive and show my best at Mac.”

I would like to point out specific people who have especially bent over backwards for me, not just this semester but since I’ve come to Macalester. Professors: Christie Manning, Jamie Atkins, Anne Carayon, Eric Wiertelak, Lin Aanonsen, Karen Warren, Jennifer White, Casey Jarrin, Darcy Burgund and Brooke Lea. Staff and Students: Tony Reynolds, Kevin Williams, Samantha Shapiro, Leif Johnson, Joshua Paulson, Eugene Yi, and Robert Hemphill. I would also like to thank my bosses, who have also bent over backwards for me by pushing for promotions and accommodating my availability: Marco Schneider-Beckstrand, Jamie Atkins, Barry Stahl, Troy Phillips, Steve Engleter, Quinn Wolfgramm, and Heather Keefer.

To everyone, here named in my case, who has ever helped someone in a unique situation to make sure that a student had the full opportunity to succeed here at Macalester, I say thank you.

Christina Eichorn ’11 can be reached at [email protected]