Meet the Professors: A Series

One of my favorite parts of WashU has been the amount of time that I’ve been able to spend talking to professors about coursework, academics, and life. This week I’ll be starting a 3 part installment on professors that I’ve had my freshman year at WashU and their “shining moments.”

Let’s get started!

Professor: Dr. Dorothy (Dottie) Petersen

Department: Economics

Position: Economics Undergraduate Academic Coordinator

My first interaction with Dr. Petersen was virtual (surprise, it’s the 21st century). I had several questions about the economics department at WashU and also wanted to know the difference between the Economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Economics and Strategy major in the Olin Business School. I expected brief answers (she probably gets way too many emails from people like me) and instead received paragraphs answering each of my questions. Obviously she worked some serious magic since now I’m here at WashU as an Economics major in the College of Arts & Sciences!

I was seriously in awe at the timeliness and thoroughness of her response, especially to a random prospective student (me!). I met her again at an economics major overview session when I came to campus over the summer. As the academic coordinator for economics majors, she was infinitely knowledgeable about everything that had to do with economics majors. So imagine my surprise when I walk into my Introduction to Macroeconomics class on the first day of school and there she is, standing at the front of the class!

Being thorough was not confined to email conversations and information sessions, but also when I asked questions in class. She taught class at a brisk pace but always made sure to pause for any questions students had. Just through the way that she approached teaching her class, I felt very comfortable asking questions ranging from the more complex to those just asking her to reword an explanation. Despite the class being taught lecture-style, Dr. Petersen incorporated ways for us to interact with classmates through team quizzes. I really enjoyed Dr. Petersen’s energy in class and how she used both presentation slides but also the chalkboard to illustrate various concepts and graphs.

At the end of the day, the large class size was just another detail like how it was lecture style, or how I took notes with paper and pen. I was so grateful to have had the opportunity to know Dr. Petersen in both a classroom and non-class setting.