Students with parent professors lecture on going to school with family members

For some, the thought of running into your parents on campus may be frightening; they could hear about your activities from the weekend before, or maybe check up on your grades more frequently than you’d prefer. This is a foreign concept, however, for students whose parents work at Trinity.

The two daughters of Daniel Lehrmann, Pyron professor of geology, currently attend Trinity and believe that having their father be so easily accessible is an advantage to their education.

“I don’t actually see my dad unless I am actively seeking him out for something, but it’s kind of nice to have him here because if I need anything from home, he can bring me whatever I need,” said Dinda Lehrmann, a first-year art and psychology double major. “It’s especially nice because this is my first year in college and I get homesick sometimes, but I always know that I have support if I need it.”

Asmara Lehrmann, a sophomore geology major, has had a different experience interacting with her father at Trinity, as he is a professor in the department of her major.

“My dad and I are really close so he can give me advice about anything in my field or also in life,” Asmara Lehrmann said.

Asmara is also planning on getting closer with her father and learning more about her major by taking one of her father’s geology classes in the upcoming fall semester.

“I am excited to take his paleontology class next semester. I think it is always really cool to see a parent on the job, doing what they are passionate about,” Asmara Lehrmann said. “I am excited to not only learn all about fossils but to also get a new kind of mentorship experience with my dad.”

Annelise DeJong, who graduated in 2016 with degrees in urban studies and business analytics and technology, enjoyed the advantages of having an extra place to visit during stressful times.

“My freshman year was actually really hard for me, so having my dad there in his office all day long was just like having a place that I could go to for comfort. College was the first time where we spent a lot of time with each other, and we got to know each other as friends rather than just a father and a daughter,” Annelise DeJong said.

Her father is James DeJong, who taught Spanish and French courses at Trinity. His daughter had even taken the opportunity to enroll in one of his classes during his ten-year teaching period.

“My father was literally my very first professor on the first day of school of my freshman year, right at 10:30 a.m. How crazy is that?” Annelise DeJong said.

Other students have avoided taking classes taught by their parents, but still enjoy the opportunity to see them on campus.

“I would prefer not to take one of my dad’s business law classes, but it’s still nice having him around on campus,” said Matthew Burke, a junior biology major.

William Burke, associate professor of business administration, is still close with his son, despite a pursuit of different interests.

“Me and my dad are best friends, so whenever I walk by it’s like I’m just seeing my homie in the hallway,” Matthew Burke said.

Despite some misconceptions, students whose parents teach while they attend Trinity believe they’re still getting the best experience and education possible.

“Sometimes I worry that other students think I get perks that I do not deserve, but I think my peers know that I work very hard for my accomplishments,” Asmara Lehrmann said.

Matthew Burke, whose father has been teaching at Trinity for most of his life, has enjoyed seeing how the university has changed and improved over the years by visiting his dad and two older brothers, who also attended Trinity.

“I got to experience Trinity before all the new buildings were built and it was not nearly as extravagant as it is now. I’ve been able to see and visit Trinity for 20 years of my life, it has been really cool to see how it has changed,” said Matthew Burke.

Annelise DeJoung got the chance to work alongside her father while she attended Trinity, as she previously worked in the foreign languages department. While this opportunity, in addition to taking one of her dad’s classes, allowed her to see her dad in action, she’s been directly exposed to her father’s teaching before.

“My dad is also a pastor, so I always heard him preaching with such conviction. Since he was my pastor growing up, I’ve always been taught by my dad,” Annelise DeJoung said.

Even if their parents teach classes that may not appeal to them, students have found comfort in knowing that members of their family are close and accessible while they pursue their education.