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The Fowler College of Business Celebrates Mother’s Day 2019

What does being a mom and a professor/lecturer in the Fowler College of Business mean to some of our faculty members? We asked 10 of them about how parenthood has influenced and inspired them in their careers and in their lives. Here’s what they told us:

Beth Chung with son Alex

Management professor Beth Chung and her son, Alex.

Beth Chung

Management Professor

Q: What are some of the challenges you have found in your role as a single parent?
It was difficult to manage both the rigors of academia and being the only person responsible for him. I was the only person to take him to school, to after-school activities, doctor appointments, etc. I have managed by arranging my teaching schedule around the times that he needs me the most.

Q: How has your work as an academic been an influence on your son?
I think it has made him an independent thinker. He knows not to accept everything as fact, to challenge assumptions, to ask questions, and to look for alternate solutions. He has strong opinions, which aren’t always similar to mine, but he feels free to express them.

Q: As a parent and a very busy professor, what are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
I’ve learned that you can’t be amazing at everything all time. At certain points in your life, you are going to focus on one aspect of your life more (such as research) while other times you will focus on other things (such as family) more. There’s no point in being perfect at everything because it is not going to happen. It is important to have balance and to feel a sense of peace with that.

Zuzana Colaprete and family

Finance lecturer Zuzana Colaprete (left) with her mother, daughter and granddaughter.

Zuzana Colaprete

Finance Lecturer

Q: Did your work as an academic influence have any impact on raising your children?
My mother was a professor of French in the Czech Republic and therefore she always required from me to excel at school. I had the same requirements for my daughter and I am sure I will be involved in the education of my grandkids. A helicopter grandma? I hope not.....

Q: Do you have any advice for other moms who both in academia and in a full-time job?
I really cannot talk much about academia as I work so little at SDSU. I consider teaching to be my hobby, I do it because I love it. I have a private estate planning law practice - that is my real job.

Q: What do you find most rewarding in your role as a mother?
The friendship and closeness I have with my daughter. She is 39 year old and my best friend. She is a genuinely good person and a wonderful mother to her daughter. I’m very proud of her. I guess my husband and I have done something right:-)

Julie Hansen with family

Julie Hansen with sons Alex (left) and Markus

 

Julie Hansen

Accounting Lecturer

Q: Has you experience in academia played a role in your sons’ decisions to attend college?
I asked my oldest son that question and he said ‘maybe just a little’.  He knows I went to college and that has inspired him to do the same.  He is fascinated that I am teaching college students and I come home with many stories about class and my students, which helps him become comfortable with the idea of going and helps him visualize himself as a college student. 

Q: Has being a parent affected your teaching? If so, how?
When I look out into the “sea of students”, I see them as people and can imagine my own son in a class like mine.  Being a parent helps me be both kind and understanding while being strict and fair.  Even though I have MANY students, I like to get to know them, as individuals.  I do not think I would have that kind of interest or patience if I were not a parent.

Q: What aspect of parenting brings you the most joy?
Watching my sons become independent, stand up on their own, yet still stay close to me is probably the most rewarding part of parenting. It is such a cool thing to see them grow into people, be kind to animals and people, to know the ethics of doing their part, to make a situation better for their participation, and for never forgetting to hug their mom!

Narelle MacKenzie with family

Accounting lecturer, Narelle McKenzie with her son, Alex.

Narelle MacKenzie

Accounting Lecturer

Q: How has your work as an academic been an influence on your children?
My son would hear my war stories with students and the special requests that would be made. He learned that I wanted to treat all my students equally and wanted them all to do well, but not at the expense of any other student.

Q: Has your role as a parent influenced the way you interact with students? Or colleagues?
I teach a freshman class each fall and know it is a huge adjustment from high school to college. I tell these students I am not their mother, albeit I am old enough to be their mother. Just like I ensured my son took responsibility for himself and his actions, I reinforce to these students that they need to be accountable for turning up to class on time and submitting assignments on time and keeping track of their schedule. A bit of "tough love.”

Q: Do you have any words of wisdom for parents like yourself, who do double duty as a lecturer and a working professional (in this case, a CPA)?
You can have flexibility - balance is a bit of a myth. You decide what is important and make it work. It is important to remember that if you are given the flexibility to work remotely at odd hours, you are being trusted to be an adult - it is a profession, but ultimately we work for our families, or at least I do.

One more thing. I am very proud of the man my son chooses to be. He wants to serve his country which is why he enlisted in the Navy.

Morgan Poor

Assistant management professor, Morgan Poor Miles.

Morgan Poor Miles

Assistant Management Professor

Q: You are about to have your first child. How will becoming a parent influence your work as a researcher and teacher?
For one, I believe it might actually help me be more efficient at work. That is, the new time pressures and perspective of parenthood can from what I have been told, force one to better prioritize, focus, and make the most of the time spent on and at work. I also expect that the experience of parenthood itself will change my perspective and influence the lens through which I view my teaching and research. I'm particularly excited about this change since I study consumer psychology and teach integrated marketing communications so the additional insight and perspective into parenthood could lead me to interesting and important research questions and teaching topics that I might not otherwise have thought of.

Q: As you enter parenthood, has anyone been an influence or an inspiration to you? If so, who?
I actually feel like I am surrounded by inspiration! First, I was raised by two amazing parents who loved me unconditionally and encouraged and supported me in pursuing my personal and professional goals. I am also lucky to already have a strong support system of other academic parents, including friends, coauthors, and colleagues who have demonstrated that the balancing act of work and family is incredibly challenging, but doable. My department right here at SDSU has also been wonderfully supportive during this entire journey and has already shared so much insight and knowledge about how to manage the road ahead.

Q: Do you have any advice for women who are considering motherhood for the first time?
Learn to let go. From the moment my spouse and I decided to start a family, I was struck by the lack of control that I had over the process. Then, once I did become pregnant, it was a whole new world of worry and stress. So these past 8 months, I've been learning to let myself control what I can control and then let go of the rest; because once our little human arrives, the worry and stress do not magically go away, but will increase tenfold.

Amy Randel with family

Management professor, Amy Randel and her family.

Amy Randel

Management Professor

Q: Did your work as an academic influence your children’s decision to attend college?
Even if I wasn't an academic, my children would have chosen to attend college, however, I do think having two professors as parents has had an influence. We regularly tell them stories about what our students do well (and not so well). As student-athletes, our kids have been presented with decisions that would prioritize sports over academics, but they know that our values are about education always coming first.

Q: What is the most rewarding part about being a mother?
Seeing your kids making good choices, being kind to others, and doing things better than I did.

Q: Have there been women how have inspired or helped you along the way? If so, who?
My mother. She was the first in her family to go to college and was also a first-generation American. She earned a Ph.D. just before I was born and, even with a couple of temporary moves overseas, two kids, and societal pressure not to work, she found a way to have a professional career.

Avneet Sidhu with family

Finance lecturer, Avneet Sidhu with daughter Pavan, and son Rohin.

Avneet Sidhu

Finance Lecturer

Q: You are new to the field of academics – has your new role impacted your parenting style?
My work in academia provides a way for me to communicate with my kids about important values in a context they understand. My son is 12 and my daughter is 9, so they’re of course familiar with the concepts of schools, teachers and grades, but they haven’t really considered how the world looks from their teachers’ perspectives. I now have a little more credibility when I’m talking with them about translating values like responsibility, accountability, grit and hard work into action to meet expectations.

Q: Has your role as a parent influenced the way you interact with students? Or colleagues?
I’m getting better at not segregating or compartmentalizing my personal and professional lives. Teaching has merged my two “skill-sets” in a way I didn’t expect, but that I find refreshing.

Q: Do you have any words of wisdom for parents like yourself, who do double duty as a lecturer and a working professional (in this case, an attorney)?
I have learned to accept that “having it all” doesn’t always mean that you have it all concurrently, and it doesn’t look the same for everyone. I made certain choices in my career so that I could be more available for the kids and also keep working. And now, those choices allow me to continue and expand my law practice, teach interesting and relevant topics, and still be present for my family.

Management chair, Chamu Sundaramurthy

Management chair, Chamu Sundaramurthy with her daughter, Priyanka

Chamu Sundaramurthy

Chair, Management Department

Q: Did your work as an academic influence your daughter’s decision to attend college?
My daughter is starting a Ph.D. program in the fall, so perhaps my being an academic had some influence….

Q: Does being a parent impact your research or teaching in anyway?
As my daughter has grown up and gone to college, I have gained additional perspectives on the life of a college student, which has helped me better understand some of the challenges my own students are facing. It’s been a while since I’ve been in my twenties, so seeing my daughter take on certain questions and challenges has certainly been a refresher of sorts.

Q: What advice would you offer to your colleagues as their children leave the nest?
When my daughter left home, I felt an emptiness. But soon, it was filled with joy as I got to watch her fly and become a strong woman who can spar with me, as well as support and inspire me.

Nita Umashankar with family

Marketing professor, Nita Umashankar with her daughter Anjali (left) and son Vikram.

Nita Umashankar

Assistant Marketing Professor 

Q: Has becoming a mom changed your career perspective? If so, how?
Yes absolutely. I work ten times harder in my career now than I did before having children. I do so to set a good example for them, show them what a woman can achieve, and provide for them.

Q: What advice would you offer SDSU professors or any working mother with young children?
Be kind to yourself, don't feel like you have to sacrifice a major facet of your life, and know that at the end of the day, working moms can excel in both the career and family domains.

Q: Have there been women how have inspired or helped you along the way? If so, who?
My mother worked really hard at her job and at home and is an incredible source of inspiration. I have been inspired by many female leaders in the political, legal, and business arenas. They juggle an incredible number of roles and seem to excel in several domains. I am also inspired by stay-at-home moms who have a very difficult and demanding job as well.

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MIS professor, Helio Yang with her husband and sons.

Helio Yang

Management Information Systems Professor

Q: How does being a mom impact the time you devote to work now that your children are adults?
I have spent more time advising students on extracurricular activities that either enhance their academic knowledge or build fellowship relationships. It is also refreshing to have time to learn new technologies and research methodologies myself.

Q: Did your children impact or inspire your research or teaching? If so, how?
My sons are avid technology learners and users. In all my classes, there is always a technology component where students have hands-on experiential assignments. They also inspired my research in healthcare supply chains, from sourcing to distribution.

Q:  Do you think that having children has influenced your relationship with your students and colleagues?
The motherhood experience makes me more patient with diverse students, and helps me understand learning is a process and encouragement is the best way to accompany students on the journey. I also have more empathy on the work-family balance challenge faced by my colleagues.