Anna Panszczyk is a lively, enthusiastic professor that was born in a suburban Polish community in Brooklyn, New York City. She mainly grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Anna has one younger sister and didn’t learn to speak English until the first grade. Growing up, Polish was her first language. Both of her parents emigrated from Poland, and she is extremely proud of her Polish heritage. When Anna was younger, she dreamed of being a writer and having a small garden on a terrace. She has incorporated this dream into her current career as a writing professor at Boston University.
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Prior to being a professor, she was an undergraduate student at Boston University. When Anna was looking at colleges, she was attracted to the idea of living in a large city. She had grown up going to a small school where everyone knew each other, so she liked the idea of being lost at a bigger school. When she decided to attend BU, she was extremely happy. One part of BU Anna specifically remembers is how great the professors were.
As a student, Anna struggled with math. When she had to take a statistics class, she spent hours going for extra help and meeting with her Teaching Assistant. She was especially nervous in the weeks leading up to the final exam. She spent hours and days preparing for the exam. Yet, when she arrived and sat down to take the exam, she suddenly forgot all the information. She became extremely overwhelmed and started crying. She got up and left the classroom. Her TA saw her leave the room and went in the hallway to check on her. The TA then saw how upset she was and talked her down, helping her to finish the exam. Anna knew all the information but let her anxiety for the exam get the best of her. All she needed was confidence and her TA gave her just that. Ever since then, Anna had an interest in teaching and helping other students feel comfortable and supported just like she was during her time at BU.
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Once she finished college at BU, she attended the University of Carolina-Chapel Hill for graduate school. She then went on to become a full-time writing professor at BU. She says it was a miracle to return and teach at BU. When reflecting on her own experiences, she thinks back to that moment in the hallway when she was overwhelmed. She then reminds herself that writing isn’t easy for everyone, just like math wasn’t easy for her. Anna wants to give students all the tools for success. In her opinion, success only comes with support, which is why she strongly emphasizes that you have to believe in your students.
Anna’s teaching style isn’t like most professors. Instead, Anna enjoys interacting with students and taking their feedback into consideration. She likes when students feel comfortable to contribute their own opinion, even if this means disagreeing with her own. She also avoids lecturing at all costs. She wants all students to feel engaged and part of a discussion. Anna has been teaching at BU since 2012 and doesn’t have any plans to switch careers.
In her free time, Anna enjoys writing and spending time with her seven-year-old son. She also loves going to the movies, hanging out with friends, and exploring different food places around Boston.
Anna believes that teaching is something she will always be passionate about. She hopes to make a difference in student’s lives by giving them the support they need to be confident in their own work. Thank you for inspiring us, Professor!