Kevin Quinn is a junior studying political science at the University of Illinois.
While I may be at home this semester, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped working hard, and neither have all the professors at Illinois. To show my gratitude for everything they have done, I would like to take this opportunity to share three things I love about some of the people who make UIUC the best university around.
They can serve as gateways to some great opportunities.
Freshman year, I did not know that when I was going to be interviewing Professor Nicholas Grossman for my LAS 101 project that I was going to be getting to know one of the coolest professors in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. We had a nice 20-minute conversation, and I left our conversation very impressed—so much so that when I saw he was teaching a class my sophomore year, I knew I had to sign up right away. Luckily, I got a spot and was pretty excited.
The class was a little tougher than I expected, so I went to office hours. About halfway through the semester, I got an email saying that Professor Grossman had recommended me for the Cline Symposium, a conference put on by the social science research center on campus. I went to the symposium and left having learned some new things, met some interesting people, and formed some memories that I won’t forget. Without that time spent in office hours, I don’t know if I would’ve had the same experience at U of I.
Professors at U of I want me to succeed as much as I do.
Last spring was a difficult time for everyone. However, that did not stop Professor Jill Jegerski from making her (now online) Spanish class as great an experience as possible. Her office hours were always open, and she was quick to answer questions via email. Professor Jegerski was flexible when her class needed her to be flexible, and she kept us on track when we needed a reminder or two. I could always tell that she wanted me to succeed, and that reminder allowed me to finish a difficult semester in a strong manner.
UIUC professors will always go to bat for you.
I knew that getting an internship the summer after my sophomore year was going to be difficult, so I when I needed a letter of recommendation, I turned to one person I knew would be able to help me out—Professor Marie Henehan of the Department of Political Science. Without a second’s hesitation, she agreed to write me a letter of recommendation. The end result was a beautiful letter that made me a competitive applicant for the position I wanted. While the internship may have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, that does not diminish the fact that Professor Henehan was willing to go to bat for me at a moment’s notice. She’s not the only professor like this—countless U of I professors do the same for their students every day.