The walls of this office are bare. A few boxes are still packed with what will fill the empty bookshelf. The occupant of this faculty office moved in last semester but hasn’t had time to properly settle in.
Marra Kraemer has been an adjunct professor at Pierce College since 2001. This is her first year as full-time professor in the English department.
This year held another first for her as she recently returned from maternity leave after giving birth to a baby girl, Cora Jane Kraemer.
“I was pregnant in the interview,” Kraemer said. “I was so grateful and happy to be hired. At the same time it coincided with a major life change, which was a little difficult but the staff here, the faculty, the English department has been very welcoming and helpful with the transition.”
Kraemer didn’t start out studying English. While in college she initially began as a pre-medical major, but with one year left before graduation she came to a conclusion about her educational path.
“I was a year away from finishing when I realized I hated pre-med, and I thought ‘well that’s ridiculous why would I do that for the rest of my life if I hate it now’,” Kraemer said. “I went to see a counselor in tears because I had one year left and I didn’t know how I was going to finish.”
While reviewing her options Kraemer discovered that she could build a different degree on other classes that she had taken. These hadn’t been for her original degree, but for her own enjoyment.
“We looked at my transcripts and it turned out I had done all the English prerequisites and some of the major classes as electives,” Kraemer said. “I had just done them for fun and I really enjoyed them. Of course what I was going to do with it once I graduated I had no idea but as soon as I switched I loved it and I loved the classes and it just felt like home.”
Chair of the English department Donna Accardo said Kraemer takes great care in getting the best out of her students, pushing them to succeed.
“She is known for how much she cares about her students and how much she wants them to succeed,” Accardo said. “Her standards are very high, which is great. She expects a lot from her students but she does everything possible to help them meet those standards.”
Fillip Shaposhnik, a 21-year-old student, is a Political Science major in Kraemer’s English 102 class. He finds Kraemer’s classes appealing because she involves the students in the discussions.
“She is very enthusiastic and fun. She explains everything pretty well,” Shaposhnik said. “I really enjoy her as a teacher, it’s too bad I can’t have her for more classes.”
Kraemer’s involvement at Pierce College goes beyond the classroom. Along with wanting to help her students, Kraemer wants to benefit the school as a whole.
“I do a lot of committee work,” Kraemer said. “I work with the student success committee, which is really a nice part of being a full time faculty member, being involved in politics and improving the campus.”
Pierce College seems to be a perfect fit for her, according to Kraemer. She said she feels at ease here on campus.
“It is such a nice community,” Kraemer said. “We’ve got a very diverse student population, which is very similar to the high school that I grew up in so I feel really comfortable here.”