Content Notice: This story contains references to gun violence.
I am an Associate Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan, but I used to be utterly terrified of teaching.
Let’s rewind: As a graduate student at Virginia Tech, I dreamed of writing a textbook. I loved how engineering concepts could be expressed in the language of calculus and complex phenomena described in terms of neat little equations. My experiences as a teaching assistant were rich and filled with rewarding interactions with students who often struggled with the advanced engineering concepts I taught. I was a straight-A student and on target to finish my doctorate degree in the most minimal time possible. I was propelling into an academic career and there was nothing that could stop me.
And then the shooting happened on April 16, 2007.