The new faces on campus this year aren’t just limited to first-years and previously remote sophomores, but also faculty members such as Aditi Sahasrabuddhe, Benjamin Schaefer and Emma Romeu.
Professor Sahasrabuddhe is an assistant professor in the political science department currently teaching World Politics and International Political Economy. She graduated from Cornell University in June with a Ph.D. in Government. She joked, “Crises are always in my life. I started college during the global financial crisis and now teach during the pandemic.”
Professor Sahasrabuddhe grew up in Mumbai, India, and spent her later years in the US and the UK, where she previously studied. According to Professor Sahasrabuddhe, she decided to come to Wellesley due to the quality of research and the diversity of the student body. During her interview with the faculty, she immediately felt their supportiveness and was eager to work alongside bright and experienced colleagues. She added that the perfect balance between the urban setting of Boston and the tranquil Wellesley campus was hard to turn down.
Professor Sahasrabuddhe admits that since she is not a natural public speaker herself, she wants to engage reserved students in discussions. She hopes students can become more confident and accustomed to expressing their valuable ideas and is looking forward to seeing students’ growth in the classroom throughout the semester.
“In our first lesson, she shared that she was a more passive listener back in her student days,” Sandy Liu ’25, who is currently taking Professor Sahasrabuddhe’s World Politics, said. “She was shy to speak up during classroom discussions so she wholeheartedly understands introverts in the classroom.”
Professor Saharasbuddhe hopes to continue growing as an instructor at Wellesley.
“I received emails from students I taught at Cornell and they were telling me how they encounter concepts I taught in lessons,” she said.
Professor Schaefer, a visiting lecturer in the anthropology department, is also currently a doctoral student at the University of Illinois, Chicago studying hair recovered from mummies who were sacrificed in the Andes. Their interest in human sacrifice relates to one of the classes they are teaching this semester, titled “The Archaeology of Human Sacrifice: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of the Politics of Death.”
In addition to their class on human sacrifice, Professor Schaefer is also currently teaching Forensic Anthropology.
“I’m really excited to teach the classes that I do because they really are thematic to my dissertation research,” they said. “It’s allowing me to build my pedagogical skills while also implementing and integrating my own research praxis.”
Professor Schaefer is originally from Western Massachusetts, and they took the position at Wellesley partially to be closer to their mother. When they finish their studies, they would like to become a professor while also working at a museum. So far, they have found Wellesley to be a welcoming environment, especially after teaching virtually for over a year.
“It’s not so different from my undergrad experience besides it being [a historically] women’s college,” Professor Schaefer, who is queer and nonbinary, said. “A lot of the topics that I’m covering … the politics and subjugation of the body … in other more mixed-gender classes it takes a little bit longer, but here I’ve found that everybody is right there and they understand what’s going on.”
Professor Romeu, a visiting lecturer in the Spanish department, arrived at Wellesley on Sept. 10. She is currently teaching Spanish 241 and Spanish 269, The Caribbean Experience, which were originally slated to be taught by Professor Joy Renjilian-Burgy.
Professor Romeu is originally from Cuba, so she is excited to teach students about her region of origin. She first moved to Miami around 20 years ago and then relocated to Boston, having also taught Spanish at Berklee College of Music, Emerson College, Boston University and University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Before coming to the US, she also lived in Mexico and has worked in various industries such as oceanography, children’s journalism, environmental journalism and literature. She has a degree in geography and loves to incorporate her background in environmentalism into her work as a Spanish professor.
“I have had a life with diverse professions, and that has made my life very interesting,” she said. “I am interested in bringing my knowledge and experience about nature and the Caribbean to Wellesley.”
Professor Romeu is excited to teach at Wellesley because of the College’s tradition and renown. Even though she only started at Wellesley two weeks ago during the pandemic, she described her experience so far as “precious.”
“It is a challenge to continue transmitting everything that one knows through a mask for the first time in my life,” she said.
Nevertheless, Professor Romeu and her fellow new faculty members are optimistic about the relaxation of COVID restrictions on campus and their experiences so far.