By Macaire Grobe
When Sudhir Khetan made the decision to begin his teaching career at Union College, he knew he was about to encounter a college experience that was quite different from his own.
Spending his undergraduate years at Johns Hopkins University and doing his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, Khetan was used to large institutions and professors that put research first and teaching second, but Khetan is determined to be different, and for him, Union’s engineering program is the perfect place to start.
Khetan received his inspiration to become an engineer from his father, who was trained in mechanical but worked in electrical engineering as well.
Wanting to help others and liking the interdisciplinary aspect of his father’s job, Khetan decided to venture into the world of biomedical engineering. His research mainly consists of materials science, with his Ph.D studies concentrating on the effects of polymeric structure on stem cell behavior.
However, rather than choosing to focus his career on research, Khetan decided that he wanted to teach and liked the opportunity that Union presented him with. His excitement on sharing techniques and subjects that are familiar to him but new to his students is near-palpable when he speaks.
“I know how students are; I was a student not so long ago,” he said jokingly, “but teaching is challenging in a way you wouldn’t see as a student. It’s not the content that’s difficult, it’s conveying it in a way that’s easy to understand while still making it interesting.”
He understood that with a liberal arts college smaller class sizes would provide a more intimate classroom setting, but the level of camaraderie amongst faculty and departments is something he did not expect.
It is, however, quickly becoming one of his favorite parts of Union.
When asked what he was looking forward to most, his answer was immediate, “I can’t wait for an opportunity to have a course close to my Ph.D I want to see my students get excited about the things I research.”
Life is a little different for Khetan on the other side of the podium, but amidst all the changes and new experiences he’s undergoing, one thing is certain: as a professor who puts the academic interests of his students first, he will be a perfect fit for Union.