By Laura Roberts
Becky Samberg always wanted to go into a helping profession. Originally from Potomac Maryland, she started her undergraduate work at Shippensburg University as a social work major, with a minor in English. An inspiring college composition professor helped her determine that a career path in composition and rhetoric was a better fit.
After completing her graduate degree at Miami of Ohio, Becky went back to her roots to teach English in Maryland, and then made her way to NYC. There she taught and worked on multiple projects including teaching prep classes, textbook writing and ushering at off-Broadway shows.
“You have to do a lot to live in New York, including live in a 300 sq. ft. apartment with your sister,” laughed Becky.
She began her career at HCC nearly 22 years ago, and currently teaches first year studies English courses, college composition, and the freshman seminar course. In addition, she chairs the First Year Studies department. “Our priority is to support student success,” said Becky. “We do that through the coursework that we offer and partnerships. For instance, for our students with the greatest amount of academic skill building needs, we have them work as a class in the Center for Academic Progress (CAP) once per week as part of their coursework.”
She continued, “We also support those students that are coming in at the college level but need assistance with building confidence and developing their academic plan and life goals. We help them understand how the college works as institution, what the expectations are in higher education, and the ways in which they need to behave and think in order to be successful.”
Within the First Year Studies department, there are a variety of disciplines, including first year studies courses in Math and English, the first year experience course and ESL courses. The supplemental instruction (SI) program also falls within the department, which Becky brought to HCC. Additionally, to further student success, the department makes an effort to work collaboratively with those other departments that have the same disciplines.
Her favorite part of teaching, is watching students grow.
“The first day of class I have them do a writing sample to get back into the writing mode, but at the end of the semester I give it back to them to revise and edit it. They are amazed at their progress,” she said.
“I like seeing them grow as students in their confidence and their abilities, how they build relationships with each other, and I like to be able to build relationships with them,” she continued. “If you can do that, they are more open to learning. If they know that you’re there to support them, that you know the content, it helps them to build their skills and their trust in the institution and the faculty that they’ll meet after they leave my classroom.”