By Ali Petrazzini || Contributing Writer
When I was first offered to write a piece about a professor of my choosing, I, without any hesitation or doubt, immediately thought of Professor Allison Troy to put in the spotlight. This vibrant and dynamic woman deserves the utmost recognition for her ability to effortlessly leave a positive impact on all of the students she encounters. As a Psych 101 professor, Troy has the opportunity to teach students of all different backgrounds and interests due to the general education requirement this class fulfills. And she most certainly does not take advantage of this fact! From the moment that I first stepped into her classroom, I knew Allison Troy was going to be one of the best professors I’ve ever had at this institution. Without even acknowledging this accomplishment, Troy is able to flawlessly integrate required material and engaging topics into her curriculum to keep all of her students on-task and captivated. While using real-life examples and fun thought-experiments during class sessions, she creates an environment in which students are actually excited to learn. This quality is undeniably rare in the realm of professors across the nation and I, as well as the majority of her other students, definitely appreciate the opportunity she has given us that promotes the enjoyment of learning in a standard college setting.
However, Troy genuinely does not see this attribute of her teaching style as a reason to be recognized or rewarded. Instead, she describes the honor and happiness she feels when she notices the continuous engagement of her students during class sessions. For example, her favorite memory from her time at F&M actually occurred in one her classes last week while she was teaching about the psychology of personality. The students were so cheerfully immersed into the subject that they actually expressed overt disappointment when the class period had to come to an end. This fond memory brought a twinkle into Troy’s eyes as she thought back to her feeling of blissful content when her students revealed their reluctance to leave her classroom. She never felt the need to be recognized for the positive impact she leaves on students because just knowing that she made a difference in their appreciation for learning was enough to make her happy.
At this point, I am sure that I have convinced most readers that Allison Troy, without a doubt, is an amazing, one-of-a-kind professor. However, I feel that it would also be beneficial for those reading this article to discover how this woman has further fueled my admiration for her character as well. Besides being extremely approachable and sweet in general, Troy displays different personality quirks during her class sessions that result in students having an even higher level of respect and adoration for her. Whether it’s relating topics in class to personal anecdotes about her adorable 2-year old daughter, or including a reference to Game of Thrones in a PowerPoint, Troy effortlessly maintains the engagement of her students throughout the entire class period. She has no qualms about sharing embarrassing stories or revealing her “nerdy” side during class in order to better relate to her students. She even professed her love of science fiction, multiple popular TV shows, and other things to me during our interview that she considered quite “nerdy”. Fortunately, the way her eyes lit up while talking about these passions with me is exactly how she teaches the ideas of Psychology to her students.
While Troy has always loved the subject of Psychology, her love of teaching did not come until much later. As she progressed further into her study of psychology at NC State, she continued to believe that her future career would involve some form of research and analysis. However, after having been forced to accept a teaching position during her time in grad school in order to pay her bills, it was this occurrence that allowed her to realize her passion for teaching. And while she is a self-proclaimed introvert, Troy has gradually learned over time how to effortlessly speak in front of large crowds. Teaching a whole classroom of students has helped her develop these skills as well due to the fact that students often have the tendency to ask random and/or weird questions. With a slight chuckle, she described to me how her students frequently like to apply what they are learning in class to the subject of drinking. She is amused by the fact that students can relate any topic of psychology to a question about alcohol and bad-decision making. But it’s these situations that really do perpetuate the engagement of her students in the classroom.
However, she does not judge those who ask extremely random questions, and she completely understands their motivation due to her experience in raising her 2-year old daughter. Her daughter, named Rosemary Troy, has quite a strong personality and is not afraid to argue with most people. For example, the smiling Allison Troy retells the story of the time when her daughter refused to acknowledge her mother’s presence unless she was referred to as Strawberry Troy. And with the consideration and understanding that only a good mother could possess, she did just that! It, therefore, has become obvious that the responsibilities of being a mother and a professor can overlap enormously as both positions require an immense amount of patience. So, with the help of caffeine, of course, Troy has managed to successfully balance her responsibilities as both a mother and professor and continues to demonstrate this skill through her unwavering energy in the classroom. Franklin and Marshall College is lucky to have such an energetic and motivated woman as a part of its faculty, and I am beyond grateful to have her as my Psych 101 professor for the rest of the semester.
Junior Ali Petrazzini is a contributing writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.