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MACC’s Dr. Suzanne Martin Retires

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Chances are if you’ve taken biology in the last 25 years at Moberly Area Community College, you’ve experienced the genius and passion that embodies Dr. Suzanne Martin. Her recent retirement ends a famed era in MACC’s Biological Sciences Department. Compare notes with any of her students over the last quarter century and you’ll hear some repeating themes.

The learners love her. “She’s so crazy, cool and quirky,” they’ll say. “She challenges me in a way no other science teacher has,” they’ll comment in awe. “I didn’t like biology [or botany] before I had Dr. Martin, but she’s so passionate about it. You can’t help but get excited too.”

The slackers dread her. “Biology with Dr. Martin is a ton of work,” they’ll whine. “Her tests are so hard,” they’ll whimper. “We actually had to dissect a pig and ID the organs. It was disgusting,” the slackers sputter.

But regardless if they loved her or sighed with relief when they finished her classes, no student ever questioned Dr. Martin’s total commitment to her calling. She wanted everyone to love science as much as she did; to find the beauty in a single-celled organism as they gazed through a microscope; to be fascinated with her snakes, African hissing cockroaches and menagerie of stuffed and pickled animal friends; to enjoy trekking through nature collecting rare mosses and fungi. There was no denying her almost childlike fascination with each class project. No matter how many years she slid her scalpel down a pig’s belly or how many thousands of times she pointed out a cell’s nucleus, it was always fresh to Dr. Martin. And that, in turn, made every class new and exciting for her students. They never knew what to expect when they entered her class each day.

Aaron Wood, a 2010 MACC graduate and MU senior in Biomedical Engineering said, “While at MACC, I worked under Dr. Suzanne Martin as a lab assistant. This was my first true introduction to what a lab looks and feels like. Dr. Martin gave me the freedom to perform experimental trial runs as well as set up experiments for some of her classes. The time I spent in her lab sparked my passion for lab work and experiments. That passion led to my joining Dr. Sheila Grant’s Lab at MU and to my research in hernia meshes as well as collagen gels with EternoGen, LLC. This summer I will be performing cancer cell research at Iowa State University. I owe these successes to Dr. Martin’s introduction to lab work at MACC.”

Dr. Martin began teaching as an adjunct for MACC in 1983 and was hired as a full-time faculty member in 1988. During her time at the College, she has been awarded the Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award and the Missouri Community College Association Senior Faculty Service Award as well as achieving the rank of Professor.

MACC Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Paula Glover said, “Dr. Martin's love of teaching is evident. She always tried to make learning relevant and interesting to her students. It was not uncommon to see her bringing into class something she picked up while on a trip or in her own backyard to turn into a learning experience for her students. She is a role model for lifelong learning.”

MACC hosted a retirement tea in honor of Dr. Martin where faculty, staff, current and former students packed the Blue Room to wish her well and express their gratitude for her years of service to higher education. She will be sorely missed by all who experienced her love of the teaching profession.

 

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