Chances are, Dr. Wee has affected your experience at Tulane in some way. She is not only the infamous and beloved Brain and Behavior professor but is also TUNA’s advisor, co-director of the undergraduate Neuroscience Major, co-director of Masters Programs in Neuroscience, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs of SSE, advisor for SSE Counsel of Students, and Advisor for Science and Engineering Honor Society. Although my interview with Dr. Wee was restrained to 15 minutes, I felt like I could easily talk to her for another 2 hours. I dare you to find a more interesting person at Tulane; it’s not gonna happen.
Dr. Wee holds steadfastly to her motto, “When in doubt, do the friendliest thing.” For the past 22 years, Dr. Wee has been a favorite professor to many, including me. Wednesday morning, I was lucky enough to sit down with her and get a glimpse into her life and experiences at Tulane. It was apparent that once I stepped into her office, her personality was as colorful as the memorabilia tacked onto her walls. While it seems that some professors these days have an unfriendly demeanor towards students, Dr. Wee admitted that Tulane students are the reason why she loves teaching so much. This, of course, is reflected in the classroom. Her charismatic teaching style is crammed-full of funny and realistic analogies that keep students laughing and at the edge of their seats (even at 10 AM). Despite the fact that the Brain and Behavior class is notorious for being difficult, students are constantly fighting to get off the waitlist each semester.
It comes as no surprise that Dr. Wee wouldn’t want to live anywhere less exciting than the Big Easy itself. Her favorite times in New Orleans are spent listening to the music that the amazing bands of NOLA have to offer while at the same time being surrounded by a diverse and interracial group of people. She paints a picture of this description by telling me about a scene in Tulane’s recent production of “Nine Lives,” in which a band is playing, everyone is clapping and everyone is thinking, “Wow, this is New Orleans.” She states, “It’s like being at JazzFest; it’s like listening to my friend’s band with the bayou behind me and a beer in hand. That is New Orleans; there is nowhere else in the world you can get that.”
What’s her advice to students, you ask? “Find your passion and follow it. Do whatever you want to achieve in life, put in hard work, and do it because you want to do it. Whatever you want to do is going to take hard work, so it’s imperative that you be passionate about it.” The tragic injury of Tulane footballer Devon Walker makes its way into our conversation and with that, she shares with me her second piece of advice: appreciate everyday you have. “I’m an optimist,” Dr. Wee, a breast cancer survivor, proudly says.
My interview ended on a note about the experiences dealt with Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Wee’s recalls one of her most memorable moments as “Just being able to come back after Katrina. Everyone wanted to be back in New Orleans, we wanted to be back. It was a weird time then; we had no stoplights. You would see old friends in grocery store and give them a hug and listen to their Katrina story…just knowing we were going back after the storm was a powerful moment.”
And with that, my interview came to an end. On a final note, I encourage all you Her Campus readers to shoot Dr. Wee an email or to stop by her office in Stern just for a chat. You’ll be glad you did.