At the end of a long semester of learning complex computations and theories, you might expect Computer Science Professor Shai Simonson to challenge students with a tough final exam. What you might not expect is that he also invites them out onto the Stonehill athletic fields for a game of Ultimate.
Being able to build one-on-one connections with students, whether it’s in the classroom, in the math labs or even out on the playing fields, is a unique benefit at Stonehill, Simonson says, and one that prepares students well for future success.
“Because we have a relatively small group of students, it helps us achieve a certain understanding of the material,” he explains. “This way, the students end up reaching a level that they never expected to reach.”
Simonson isn’t satisfied by rote learning or having students mimic what they hear in his lectures. He works hard to help students discover solutions for themselves. When they really “get it,” he says that the look of happiness on their faces is priceless: “Finally they’ve mastered a concept, and it’s a concept that’s become their own.”
It is these critical thinking and problem solving skills that employers are looking for when they contact Stonehill about internships and job opportunities. Simonson says he often plays the role of matchmaker by setting students and graduates up with alumni at businesses across the country. “And the feedback from these companies about Stonehill students has been superb,” he says.
At the end of the day, Simonson says he couldn’t ask for more than the personal satisfaction he’s gained as an educator and a member of the Stonehill community: “I found something I really do like to do, which is teach and be with students, give over my love for a subject to them, and watch them discover things for themselves. It’s just the best job I could imagine.”