Faculty Profile: Michelle Benedict
By Tiffany Scott
Michelle Benedict is a motorcycle-riding, keyboard-playing assistant professor of math whose passion for life comes through in all she does—particularly teaching mathematics. However, the dynamic teacher says she didn’t always want to be a math professor. She received her first degree in chemistry with hopes of becoming an archaeologist. "I could see myself digging for bones out in a desert somewhere," she says. She started graduate school at Georgia Tech on the science track, but after getting a job as a teaching assistant in the math department, she realized math was something she enjoyed even more.
"I couldn't believe they would pay me to teach math," she says. "It was just so much fun."
After finishing graduate school, she was hired as a lecturer to teach math. However, life circumstances returned Ms. Benedict and her two children to Augusta.
She began teaching at Augusta State in 1981, only three days before classes were to begin. She was given one hour's notice and preparation before beginning her career here. "It was such short notice, I was actually teaching a month before I was officially hired," Ms. Benedict reminisces.
The university has been more than just a place to teach, it is also where she met her husband, James Benedict, also a mathematician in the Department of Math and Computer Science.
"We both found ourselves divorced at the same time, with two kids each, and we thought how it takes another math person to get a math person," she says jokingly. So a fairytale romance took place on campus, and almost 17 years ago Michelle became Mrs. James Benedict.
With her marriage to Jim Benedict 17 years ago, came her interest in playing keyboard. The couple’s band, Mama ‘Chelle and the Amazing Jim Daddies, has been performing since 1990 and has played at numerous concerts for the university and local charities. Both faculty members were also regular members of the university’s Jammin’ Jags, an impromptu group of university musicians who also performed at university events and off campus. Both she and Dr. J. Benedict play in the university’s Pep Band.
Ms. Benedict has found a way to merge her two loves of math and music. She and Dr. J. Benedict have plans to conduct an ASU summer camp, Star Math Academy, for selected rising high school sophomores from the Academy of Richmond County and Lucy C. Laney High School for a “holistic quadrivium experience” for students in geometry. The project will involve discovery learning, music through Suzuki violin and drum circles, exercise through walking and dance, and healthy life philosophy through nutrition. The quadrivium is an original liberal arts program that studies four areas.
Despite her varied interests, Ms. Benedict says that she just wants to be remembered as a good teacher. She has earned this honor, having been selected as the Outstanding Faculty Member in 2001-02. She and Dr. J. Benedict were also awarded the 2007 Alumni Association’s Town and Gown Award.
Ms. Benedict earned a bachelor’s degree from Lambuth College and a master’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Name: Michele Benedict
Position: Assistant Professor of Math
How long at ASU: 27 years
Most proud of: When students come up to her off campus and thank her for teaching and helping them. She says it does her heart good.
President's Award | Nursing Scholarship | J. Leightner | Construction Update | IT | Jaguar Golf | Faculty Profile | Staff Profile | Campus Notables | Across Campus | May Photos | June Calendar | Birthdays | Table of Contents
ASU Report Online is published monthly by the Office of Public Relations and Publications. Submit your items for publications prior to the third week of the month.
Phone: 706-737-1444 • Fax: 706-737-1774 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A unit of the University System of Georgia.
Contact webmaster for more information.