Lucas Clemens ’24, who is double majoring in Chemistry and Biology, while minoring in Physics and Mathematics, named Dr. Shameka Shelby as his favorite teacher. Dr. Shelby wears two academic hats when it comes to Lucas; she is his teacher and academic advisor.
“Dr. Shelby is my advisor, and she has put up with so many of my shenanigans!” Lucas said.
Like Dr. Shelby, Lucas is a first-generation college student who wants to pursue a Ph.D. and become a professor. He says she was helpful in showing him a path that challenged him academically and encouraged him to take advanced Physics and Chemistry courses early in his college career.
“She’s definitely a huge role model for me,” said Lucas. “The majority of the Chemistry, Biology, and Physics department being people of color has made me feel so comfortable and welcome as a member of a minority group in STEM and has shown me that my success is ultimately very possible.”
Lucas says Dr. Shelby takes the advising portion of her job seriously and never hesitates to let him know if he is doing too much or just enough.
“I told her from day one I needed a push, and she has never stopped doing just that!” Lucas said.
Dr. Shelby joined the faculty at FSC in Fall of 2015 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. She received tenure and was promoted to an Associate Professor in May of 2021. She says the thing she loves about teaching is being able to spend so much time with her awesome students during such an important time in their lives. She also enjoys getting to share her passion for science and how it impacts people.
“Since most of my classes deal with a lot of very specific information pertaining to chemical processes occurring in our bodies, I really aim for students to walk away from my classes with the broader picture of how to logically approach thinking about how biological systems work,” Dr. Shelby said.
Lucas takes Organic Chemistry 1 and Honors Research Seminar classes with Dr. Shelby. He plans to take her Biochemistry class in the fall. He says her teaching style is relaxed and it is obvious that she wants to engage with her students at all times.
“It feels like there’s never a dull moment with her, even though Organic Chemistry, can be pretty boring at times,” Lucas said. “Her examples are always relevant to the class and it’s clear she wants us to learn and grow rather than just retain information from a test. No matter how early her class is, she always comes with energy and is ready to teach.”
Lucas looks up to Dr. Shelby and hopes he can use what he learns from her in his career. She has had a significant impact on his life in the two years that he has known her.
“I can’t wait to see where I will end up in the next two years before I graduate,” Lucas said. Trust and believe, she will be one of the first people to find out.”
Professor Appreciation Week is held in the first full week of May of each year. The week provides an opportunity for students and school officials to show their appreciation for the hard work professors do. Several Florida Southern College students shared who their favorite professors are and why they appreciate them.