As I was reading the New York Times over coffee, the article Professor Is Named to Public Housing Board caught my attention; it isn’t every day when you hear about a professor, such as Emily Youssouf of NYU, taking on such a big leadership role.

Taking a look at Emily Youssouf’s profile I learned of her extensive list of experience in finance and housing before becoming appointed. Just some highlights, she was once Managing Director at JP Morgan Securities, President of the New York Housing Development Corporation, and President of Natlis Settlements LLC.


Image: Arlyna Blanchard via Flickr

Emily’s experiences and achievements have led me think about what makes a professor a good professor. If there is one thing that blows me out of the water about my professors every quarter in college, it is the extensive backgrounds they have. Many of them are well traveled and experienced, having lived, studied, and taught in other countries. Not only have they dedicated years to their own research, but also many have held jobs outside the teaching realm before they even became professors. From my observations, it is the accumulation of one’s experiences outside the university that bring something unique to his or her teaching and make for a good professor. The more experiences, places they have seen, and people they have met, the better able they are to demonstrate how the concepts they teach in the classroom apply to the real world.

Although knowing my professors’ far-reaching, adventurous backgrounds can leave me feeling like I’ve just barely started my life, it truly is an inspiration and it is also great to know that I am gaining my education from the best: those have been around the world and back. Twice.