By Cassy Sottile
Elm Staff Writer
Although teaching runs in her family, Dr. MeCherri Abedi-Anim never believed that she would become a teacher.
“I remember telling my mom that I hated teaching. It wasn’t until I became a graduate student at University of Oregon, where teaching was part of my job, that I realized I liked teaching and was good at it,” she said.
Dr. Abedi-Anim, with her recently completed Ph.D. from University of Oregon, has arrived at Washington College for the academic year as a visiting professor in the Sociology Department.
She was also the recipient of a dissertation fellowship the previous academic year at Middle Tennessee State University.
“WC offered me the opportunity to not only develop and expand my teaching pedagogy, but it also gives me the opportunity to mentor students through the research process,” she said.
In addition to teaching in the department, Dr. Abedi-Anim is mentoring three students through their senior theses.
“For me, mentoring students is the best part of being a professor,” she said.
Dr. Abedi-Anim specializes in race and ethnicity and immigration and black identity, which are what her dissertation and current research highlights.
“I focus specifically on the identity formation for African immigrants and their children, and what this means for our understanding of black identity in this contemporary, post-Civil Rights era,” she said.
During her time at WC, Dr. Abedi-Anim will be teaching the courses “Race and Ethnicity,” “Social Inequalities,” “Introduction to Sociology” and “Black Immigrants.”
Dr. Abedi-Anim has taught several classes at various colleges and universities across the nation. In the future, she hopes to teach a course on African diasporic identities, which explores the meanings people of African descent attach to blackness and black identity, according to Dr. Abedi-Anim.
Though she has only been here for one semester and is still adjusting to the campus, Dr. Abedi-Anim has enjoyed it so far.
“I feel a sense of support among the faculty here. The thing I enjoy the most is the intimacy of the campus in terms of the student population being small, which allows faculty the ability to really provide students with the resources and one-on-one attention that they may need to develop themselves, both intellectually and personally,” she said.
Following her position at WC, Dr. Abedi-Anim hopes to find a more permanent track position or to work at research institutes, such as the Pew Research Center or Migration Policy Institute. She is interested in research and student affairs, both of which are positions that would allow her to work directly with students in the form of academic advising and support.
Dr. Abedi-Anim’s goal as an academic is to pay forward contributions that various other mentors and advisors have made to her own life and to her students.
“I view teaching as a form of mentoring. No defining experience prepared me to teach. What drives me as a teacher is my desire to be a resource for my students as they navigate institutions of higher education,” she said.