The Louis D. Beaumont Dad’s Association Distinguished Professor Award has been presented to a full-time faculty member each year since 1968. Nominations are received from students, and a small group of invited students then choose from among those nominated who should receive the award for the year for displaying a dedication to quality teaching. This award is incredibly meaningful to faculty because it is given by students.
This week The Woods Today continues its series on WWU professors nominated for this year’s Beaumont award with the pleasure of getting to know Brenda Popp, Assistant Professor in Finance.
Brenda Popp has been teaching for 20 years and was drawn to it after having the opportunity to tutor undergraduates in Finance. She almost took a job at a local bank before an opening came up at William Woods. Her finance professor recommended that she apply for it and she’s been at The Woods ever since.
“Teaching students definitely outweighed the banking position when considering the intrinsic value between the two jobs,” she explained.
Mrs. Popp once ran a business for catering and party planning out of her own home.
“I was awarded an Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Department of Education and recognized in the State Legislature as an ‘An Apple Pie of Missouri.’”
One memory that stood out to Mrs. Popp from working at William Woods was being asked to stand in as the mom for a member of the men’s basketball team on senior night. Her own son had died a few years prior, and she knew that the player had no idea how much it meant to her to be able to be his stand-in mom for the night.
Mrs. Popp’s advice for new college students, specifically at William Woods, is to get to know your advisor.
“As I tell my advisees, I am their advisor for life,” she said. “I have mentored many of them through changes in in their academic coursework, helped them obtain good internships and wrote letters of recommendations even several years after graduation.”
Learn more about Professor Popp as she answers the following questions:
How many years have you been teaching at The Woods?
I have been teaching for 20 years and plan to retire in spring 2021.
Name an interesting fact not many people know about you.
I started my first business in 1981 as a catering and party planning business out of my home. During the last years of business, my staff and I served about 1,000 people per week. The highest number of people my “little business” served was 2,000 in one day. I was awarded an Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Missouri Department of Education and recognized in the state legislature as “An Apple Pie of Missouri.”
What is your favorite memory from working at The Woods?
I had a William Woods basketball player, from West Virginia, ask me to stand in for his mom on senior night. My 19-year old son had died a few years prior so I know he had no idea how much that meant to me.
What has been your favorite class to teach and why?
I would say it is a toss-up between Corporate Finance and Personal Finance because I have lived what I teach both in my professional business career and my personal life. I also get to tell Rado Popp stories about hunting and fishing as a “need” rather than a want.
What is the best advice to new college students?
Get to know your advisor. As I tell my advisees, I am their advisor for life. I have mentored many of them through changes in in their academic coursework, helped them obtain good internships and wrote letters of recommendations even several years after graduation.
What is the best or most memorable moment you had with a student?
There have been so many that I have a hard time picking one. However, staying with one of my advisees, Ilia Lipartiani and his family in the Republic of Georgia will stand out forever. I had a chance to gain a better understanding of an international student’s challenges when attending school in another country, especially one so different from the United States.
What drew you to what you now teach?
I went back to get my Masters when I was 40 and had an opportunity to tutor Finance to undergraduates. I figured out that I could help them understand the difficult financial concepts by using real life examples (tractors and combines). Actually, I almost took a job with a local bank when a job opening came up at William Woods. My finance professor recommended I apply for it. Teaching may not pay as much in dollars as the banking position, but teaching students definitely outweighed the banking position when considering the intrinsic value between the two jobs.
What stood/stands out to you about The Woods?
As a Business professor, I have the greatest admiration for Dr. Barnett. She is an amazing leader who has had the courage and acumen to make some tough decisions in difficult times. Besides the wonderful students, I have also had the opportunity to work with very hardworking and brilliant colleagues.