Interview with Senior Lecturer Mahli Mechenbier

Dean Spalsbury and Senior Lecturer Mahli MechenbierIn this interview, Senior Lecturer Mahli Mechenbier gives advice to incoming Freshman and English majors, as well as shares with us how she got into teaching and why she loves Kent State Geauga/TAC. 

1.    Why did you choose to work at Kent State Geauga/TAC?
I like being surrounded by faculty of different disciplines, whereas at the Kent Campus I would primarily be around faculty from the English department. I like the diversity because I can not only learn about students as a whole (through all their classes, not just English), but I can also ask my colleagues questions I have throughout the day—"do I need to have this rash looked at?" (Biology), "my condo neighbor plants some weird things in the yard: why do you think that is?" (Psychology). 

2.    What is your favorite thing about the campus?
I like all the activities at the campus that were interactive (before COVID-19) with all of the faculty, staff, and students. For example, our annual kickball game we have, or when we would have cookouts at the campus for everyone. 

3.    What was your job before Kent State?
Before I worked at Kent State, I was employed by the juvenile court system. I chose to leave that job because I kept seeing kids get caught in the many layers of the court system and not get out, and I felt like I was not making a difference. At Kent State, I am making a difference in others' lives through my teaching.

4.    What skills do students need to develop if they choose to pursue a career in Business Writing?
Since COVID-19, online communication has gotten worse than it already was due to working remotely and typing quickly. Online, people have a tendency to type without thinking (like in a zoom chat).  Students need to work on their grammar and overall online presence:  You may be at home, but you are still in a professional setting in the meeting.  

5.    What advice would you give a Freshman who is just starting college?
My advice to Freshman is always to bring paper and take notes; if you don't, others assume that you don't care about the class, and you think nothing important will happen that needs to be written down and remembered for later.

6.    Do you think students retain information more through writing or typing their notes?
In my experience, students who write their notes retain more information because writing is slower, and your brain processes the material as you write. However, I have noticed that the younger generations type fast, which is useful in class because you can type a lot of information at one time.

7.    Why do you always choose to teach in computer labs?
I choose to teach in computer labs because I always bring up pop culture in class to make my lecture current and relatable. I want the students to have a computer in front of them because if they do not know what event I am referencing, I encourage them to look it up—on the computer, not on their phones. There is nothing wrong with using Google; however, I also want students to know there is another way to get information, like through the library, so I want that database accessible in class, too. 

8.    What is a good career for English majors?
The English major is more than just reading books; it is about editing, clarity of writing, and communicating through writing. I recommend looking into Kent State's Professional and Technical Writing minor. That minor expands your major, because businesses need editors—especially now where the majority of communication has shifted online.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 11:46am
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 10:52am
Madison Velka