From Andrea Lirio
A Q&A with math professor, Daisy Sudparid.
Daisy Sudparid, math professor at Bryn Mawr College, believes whole-heartedly in making education accessible. As a first-generation graduate, Daisy understands how difficult it is to navigate college life and hopes to create a safe space for students to learn no matter their background.
As a student, I found Daisy to be such a caring, funny, and understanding professor. She is always happy to share stories about her life and curious to learn more about ours. I’ve always been scared of math, but Daisy makes class fun, and honestly, math is my favorite class because of her.
Q: What’s your teaching philosophy?
A: No one should be judged on where they went to high school or the education they received prior to college when they come into the classroom. I was the first to graduate with undergrad from my family so I had to navigate college life on my own, and that’s why I teach the way that I do. Your school system isn’t your fault. Nowadays, quality public schools and education systems are in wealthier neighborhoods, and where one is raised and lives is not their fault. Many times, teachers forget why they teach. I teach for my students not for myself
Q: How would you describe your classes?
A: In order to maintain this level of excellence, we need to make education accessible. Sometimes it’s scary to approach professors, especially for frosh and sophomores, but it doesn’t have to be scary or so serious. I like to share my personality in class to relieve some stress. It’s all about building a relationship and trust.
In addition to sharing stories and her personal experiences through college in the classroom, Daisy’s door is always open, literally. In class, Daisy always offers for you to come to her office hours. One time, I came in right at 4:00, when her office hours were about to end, but Daisy welcomed me in and helped answer all of my questions.
Q: What steps have you taken to make education, specifically math, more accessible?
A: I have this idea that I joke about with my coworkers here. It’s like that baseball movie …’If you build it, they will come,’ meaning, if you build in the time and the office hours, students will come. Sometimes it’s just me in here having some coffee and other times there are 9-10 students in my office.
Bryn Mawr students make her job enjoyable, and she makes math enjoyable!
Q: How would you describe the students at Bryn Mawr?
A: I would say the students at Bryn Mawr are supportive, diligent, go-getters, who want to seek the answer, want to learn, and are extremely kind. Mawrters are so kind. My partner is a Mawrter! Students here are so kind. They never call you out if you make a mistake; instead, they’ll raise their hand and ask you if you meant something else.
Q: What’s it like teaching at Bryn Mawr?
A: I love Bryn Mawr College. This is a caring, loving, and warm place to be. It’s cool, too. Usually in math classes you’ll see a room full of men, but here, it’s a room full of women. There is more confidence to speak up in class.
To Daisy, Bryn Mawr provides a space for women to challenge themselves and actively participate in fields and interests that tend to be predominantly male-dominated.
Q: What’re your thoughts on grades?
A: You have to be a human, though. This is more than a grade. The question is: Do they get it? Are we building a strong independent student?
Through the years as an educator, Daisy notes the importance of human connection in the classroom. Many times, she said, educators focus predominantly on grades rather than focusing on each student’s development. Daisy sees it as her job to help each student grow and learn rather than stress over grades.
Q: What advice would you give to incoming students?
A: Be open minded toward classes. Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Use a wide net to try everything. There are so many classes you might not know about. Take a look at the catalog, abroad programs, 360 programs, Praxis programs etc.
Also, do not be afraid to come to professors. Make us work. Don’t have this idea that college is a big scary place. Bryn Mawr professors are approachable. If it’s the right time, they’ll greet you with open arms.
Another thing, you don’t have to conquer Mt. Everest on the first day. Take your time.
Q: Any last thoughts?
A: This is a learning place. If I can help take away a students’ fear of math, I’ve done my job.
All in all, Daisy emphasizes the importance of accessibility in education and ensuring a safe space for students of all backgrounds to learn.