Get to know Mercer University‘s faculty members a little better through our “Faculty Flashback” series. Some of our professors will be sharing personal and professional details of their lives in a Q&A as well as then-and-now photos from today and their college days.
Dr. Linda Hensel, professor and chair of the Department of Biology, has worked at Mercer for more than 25 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and immunology from University of Washington and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in genetics from University of Wisconsin.
1. What advice, related to life or college, would you offer students at Mercer now?
Enjoy and be proud of your journey. The journey is as important, if not moreso, than the goal.
2. What is something you wish you knew in college that you know now?
Just one human face-to-face interaction can shape individual journeys.
3. What made you want to join the team at Mercer?
Exceptional students that wanted not only to learn but to mold the future.
4. What do you love most about your work?
Being able to facilitate learning and care for people from diverse backgrounds (including race, gender, ethnicity, sex, class, etc.).
5. What are some of the projects/accomplishments you’ve been most proud of in your career so far?
I am most proud of my former students who have become exceptional high school STEM and English teachers, military leaders, faculty, surgeons using cutting-edge technology, researchers at prestigious institutions, dentists that foster future dentists, patent lawyers, activists, and so many healthcare nurses and doctors that are working long hours assisting COVID-19 patients right now. I am also very proud of the research that David Goode and Jeff Denny inspired me to do with undergraduates in designing, synthesizing and efficacy testing a new class of anti-microbial drugs through the BOMM Program. We actually do authentic research in introductory courses that link biology, organic chemistry and mathematical modeling. The BOMM has changed the life direction of many students.
6. What is your favorite spot on Mercer’s campus?
My favorite stroll around campus is walking down the flights of stairs at the UC and remembering what the campus looked like in 1994. My, how we have grown.
7. What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work?
Reading and learning about science (drug design and genetics are my favorite subtopics), women’s studies, LGBTQI activism, and racism in the world; tending to my pack of four rescued canines; knitting and other types of fiber work and knitivism; raising orchids; and swimming and martial arts to maintain health.