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Dr. Felicia Emery
Dr. Felicia Emery
Teaching has always been a passion of Dr. Felicia Emery, biology instructor at SCC, so much so that every facet of her professional career has involved some teaching component.
“After undergrad, I taught high school biology and physical science at St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge, La.,” Emery said. “I left secondary education to pursue my master’s degree full-time. Even though I was new to graduate school with a full class load and research schedule, I still had the urge to continue teaching.”
While Emery pursued her master’s degree in microbiology at Southern University, she also began serving as a biology and chemistry enrichment instructor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science and Mathematics Research Academy at Louisiana State University.
“Teaching is a profession that encourages you to keep on learning. I am always finding different ways to keep up with the forever-changing nature of science and learn new things.”
Emery went on to earn a doctorate in microbial pathogenesis, immunology and inflammation from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Emery’s mentor during graduate school, Mark Miller, knew early on that she would become a successful teacher.
“When Felicia rotated in my laboratory as an incoming student, it was clear she was smart and motivated,” Miller said. “However, when I really knew that she would have a successful academic career was during the summer she taught at Southwest Tennessee Community College (SWCC), while still maintaining her research project. The people at SWCC were so happy with her teaching work that they asked her to come back the following summer.”
Toward the end of graduate school, Emery began applying for teaching positions and post-doctoral fellowships. She came across a job posting for St. Charles Community College and the rest is history.
“After my first interview, I was impressed with the Biology Department and the college as a whole; and after being hired, I realized that SCC was not just a place to work but rather a place to have and build a career.”
Since she’s been at SCC, Emery has played a role in the ever-growing field of STEM, not only by teaching science, but also by participating in events on campus, like the Women in STEM panel that was held during Women’s History Month.
“The event was very insightful. The panel discussed positive and negative experiences as women in the STEM fields, how women are viewed in the science field and what sparked our interest to pursue our career in science.”
The panel, followed by a screening of the film Hidden Figures, was the most well-attended Women’s History Month event.
“STEM is a vital part of the world we live in. As such, there is a high demand for skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math. I take pride in helping my students understand the relevance of STEM in our everyday lives as we evolve into a more tech-and innovation-dependent world.”
SCC has been in the news recently for other STEM-related achievements and partnerships. St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann presented SCC with a proclamation recognizing SCC’s partnership and participation in the national Hour of Code initiative. The Hour of Code is a nationwide yearly event to interest students in computer programming and other STEM fields.
In January, SCC and OPO Startups formed a partnership, giving SCC students and alumni free access to the co-working center. The facility provides regional startups with affordable workspace and access to mentors, potential investors, programming, educational resources and a community of local entrepreneurs.
However, STEM isn’t just important on the college level. Emery has been instilling the importance of science, technology, engineering and math to our younger generations through the Fort Zumwalt School District STEM Advisory Board.
“The Advisory Board consists of STEM educators and administrators as well as individuals who work in different STEM-based industries. We discuss ways that the school district can enhance student interest and success in the STEM pathways, as well as plan for STEM programming in the schools.”
At SCC, Emery has also joined on as an Honors Program professor and is a member of the Research Approval Committee (RAC), which supports a culture of scholarly endeavors and strives to protect the safety of human subjects by enforcing best research practices.
“I love being a part of the Honors Program. I feel that it’s a great opportunity for students to engage in concepts, topics or content that has an increased layer of complexity.”
Elizabeth Cromer, a student in Emery’s microbiology lab and lecture, attests to the professor’s teaching outside of the Honors Program.
“Dr. Emery made microbiology, a subject that can be overwhelming, easy to understand,” Cromer said. “She goes the extra mile to connect with her students and makes sure they are learning the material in a way they can apply it.”
Denise Hahs, another student of Emery’s, seconds those thoughts.
“Dr. Emery not only wants to truly see you succeed, she is also extremely knowledgeable and has a terrific sense of humor.”
Emery’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. She was recently competitively selected to serve as a faculty/peer mentor with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB).
“Through this network, I will have the opportunity to attend academic conferences and interact with undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to serve as a peer and/or faculty mentor. My hopes are that this opportunity will help me to become a better scientist, teacher and mentor, and that it will be invaluable in developing my academic and professional career.”
SCC students will benefit from Emery’s involvement because of the great networking opportunities available. Having an instructor in the FASEB network gives SCC access to and firsthand knowledge about certain student mentoring opportunities, undergraduate conferences and training opportunities.
Emery already has accomplished much in her time at SCC, but she’s just getting started.
“I have grown so much as an educator since joining SCC’s Biology Department. Teaching both inspires and energizes me, and I feel lucky that every day I get to work with our outstanding students. In the coming semesters here at SCC, I look forward to growing as an educator and empowering our students to develop an appreciation for and understanding of microbiology and the fundamentals of science.”
Last Updated: June 22, 2017