At Mines, it is not uncommon to get lost in the world of the engineering. However, the presence of English classes is certainly alive and well. One of the reasons is Shira Richman, a Teaching Assistant Professor in LAIS, who advocates and inspires the writing spirit within her classroom.
But for Richman, a career in education was the last path she wanted to choose. “My whole family told me I was going to be a teacher, and I rebelled against that for a while.” In this rebellion, Richman worked a variety of jobs around the globe ranging from an environmental agency in India to social work in an Isreali kibbutz. She has even tried her hand at commercial fishing up north in Alaska. But recently, Richman’s travels have brought her to Golden where she has spent the last three years teaching at Mines. And even though she tried to avoid the education career, Richman truly enjoys her job. “I feel like [through teaching] I have a lot of say on how I do things, and I am doing something positive. Teaching gives me a way to engage in deep thinking and push [my students] to do the same.”
In an attempt to help her students grow, Richman has extended her campus presence beyond the curricular. Richman is currently the faculty advisor to the “Board and Gaming Club” and the new “Photography and Sketching Club” as well.
As a result of her experiences, Richman encourages her students to reach for the diversity that she has exemplified and to think outside the box. “The students that excel are the ones that make unusual connections and have genuine interests in the views of others. Also, maybe you shouldn’t work quite so hard all the time. Get distracted every once in a while!”
Richman loves teaching, but is a true creative writer at heart. When she is not on campus, she can often be found immersing herself in a good book or letting her imagination flow through creative writing. Currently, Richman is working on writing her own novel, a short story that has ballooned into a grandiose project.
Unfortunately for the Mines community, this year will be Richman’s last. Due to the state of her husband’s career, the couple will be travelling across the Atlantic as they move to Germany. “I am very sorry to leave this job because I love to teach here,” Richman said. “Students here are so smart and they really try to understand how things work. This is my favorite job I have had, but I have an incurable case of wanderlust.” But as Richman’s days in Golden are coming to a close, she will be living out the words of one of her favorite authors, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”