"I love the College of Charleston!" economics professor Marcia Snyder says. Her passion for the school is made evident to all who enter her office door with an ever-increasing collection of Cougar memorabilia lining the wall.
"I love working here and love the students," Snyder says. "We have the best students in the world."
It was love that first brought Snyder to the College of Charleston in the early 1990s and it was love that allowed her to return to her alma mater, this time as a professor, nearly a decade later.
Her husband's military career originally relocated the Ohio native to Charleston nearly 20 years ago. While here, she completed her undergraduate degree by dividing time between her role as a full-time student, wife, and employee at BP Oil. "I would usually go into work at 5:00 a.m. and work until 8:00 a.m., then come [to the College] and go to class, then go back [to work] at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon and work the rest of my hours for that day," Snyder recalls. "Then I would come home, study, and start all over again the next day."
Snyder moved overseas to London (once again a military move) the day after she graduated. While she may not be a fan of long airport lines, delayed flights, and jet lag, she finds embracing the culture of the destination vital. "I like the culture in other countries," she says as she reflects on her travels. With passport stamps including Italy, England, and Brazil among others, she marks Florence, Italy as her favorite adventure. "Even though I didn't speak the language, I felt at home," she says.
Her role at the College of Charleston has sent her on incredible journeys as well, including a visit to Brazil to establish a study abroad program. Though the program has yet to become a part of the College's curriculum, she still marks the trip as an enlightening one. "It was so different than anything expected," she says. "I expected a third-world country, but it's not. They have all the conveniences we have [in America] and, in some ways, they are ahead of us, especially in regards to energy and clean energy resources."
Though she has no foreseeable travels planned, that doesn't keep this professor from exploring. Snyder has turned her attention closer to home and is currently critically examining how students learn and how professors can incorporate new teaching methodologies so students will embrace more life-long learning. She wants students to retain the knowledge and instruction received at the College well beyond the next test. She says students should learn for a lifetime and her research is aimed at how to make that possible for them.
Her desire to see students succeed for a lifetime is not just limited to a research thesis, but it is the philosophy supporting the way she operates her classroom. A self-proclaimed "student advocate," she explains, "I am on the students' side."
She wants students to get the most they can out of their education and have quality advising. She feels passionately about students being able to afford the materials and tools they need to learn.
Snyder is highly respected and trusted by students for her helpfulness and advice. Junior Robert Jeroszko says: "She wants her students to succeed. She pushes all of her students and helps them the best she can. That says a lot about someone: when they sacrifice their time and energy for you to do well."
"She wants more than anything for you to learn the materil...and for you to remember the material," says senior Jillian Boland. "She will do anything to help her students do that like re-covering material, explaining things differently, and holding study sessions before tests."
Her passion for her students extends beyond the walls of the traditional classroom to a group of 35 select students: the College of Charleston's baseball team. Snyder, quite possibly one of the team's biggest supporters, loves the "strategic nature of the game" and can be found consistently in her seat, inning after inning, donning her signature Cougar paw earrings.
A superstitious nature prevents her from sitting anywhere else or even from wearing anything other than a select collection of Cougar baseball gear. Her love for the game originates with her father. "My dad had three girls and he wanted boys," Snyder says. "I was the first girl and could throw a baseball, catch a baseball, and hit a baseball before I could walk, I think." The family made regular trips to Cleveland Indians games where Snyder shared sweet memories with her dad and sisters. She spent softball seasons from junior high to high school graduation under her dad's coaching.
Marcia Snyder's life and career most notably exude passion. Her passion for life, her students, and a sport that holds fond memories makes her an approachable, dependable, and resourceful ally for students. Her ambition to have her students truly learn and be successful has earned her a spot in the hearts of many students, making her corner office in the Beatty Center a mainstay for many years to come.