By Laura Jean Null
In college, when you think of a professor, you are most-likely thinking about the one teaching the class, while the students are the individuals learning.
However, for Professor T. Storm Heter, he is both a student and professor here at East Stroudsburg University.
When asking Heter if he is interested in extending his education, he laughed and said, “this morning I had a test”, in French I.
Being a first-generation student himself and being a product of the public-school system, Heter said he identities with a background coming from the working class.
From his undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri to his graduate work at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he put himself through college, paying for his own degree.
Heter originally perused English because of his love for literature but found himself liking debate.
However, he began to turn his passion for debate into a curiosity for interpretation and “wanted to know what was good”. His passion for understanding and gaining knowledge got him interested and now having a career in philosophy.
Although, getting a degree and job was not as easy as it is typed and read on paper. Heter claims Kansas City as his home, saying “I had a pretty dysfunctional family growing up.”
He described his parents as hippy artists, that had a passion for art and jazz/blues music. His grandfather was a well-educated man, but his father was more of a hippy and transferred Heter with values about being an intellectual.
With better guidance, Heter believed he could have picked better schools and could have been in more control with more ambition in his schooling.
However, he does not regret the choices he has made and is grateful for where he is at now saying, “I am a product of all state schools.”
“I had Professor Heter for Black Humanism and he opened my eyes to many issues we are dealing with today in society.”, said Communication major Francis Abbamonte. Continuing, Abbamonte said, “he’s also great with advice. I don’t have any classes with him now, but I still drop by his office here and there because he’s always willing to help students.”
“Whatever I can learn to help people.”, said Heter. As a professor and student here at ESU, Heter is involved in much more on and off campus activities.
Being a life-long musician playing the guitar, he is also part of the University Jazz Ensemble. Also, he is a co-founder and a Head Coach of the statewide known, Fredrick Douglas Debate Society. Along with that, he the co-director and is part of the ESU Diversity Dialogue which use to be known as Race Relations.
Some of Professor Heter’s favorite courses he likes to teach here at ESU include Black Humanism, Human Rights, Philosophy Law and Africana Philosophy.
Due to Heter’s knowledge and understanding of human rights taught in his courses, he was asked about a current controversial topic in the United States, the Dreamers and the DACA situation in the government, and what his thoughts were.
“I think we need to be true to our claim that we are an immigrant nation.”, said Heter. Continuing, “Immigrants are often the hardest working. We need to be excepting and tolerant.”
Describing the university, Heter says he loves all the students at ESU, but hopes in the future that it will be easier to get resources and expand clubs. Further, Heter would like to see the University “higher more people of color” and create a more diverse facility.
Heter says he is inspired by his students, music, family, ideas and debates, art, and activism.
To him, activism does not mean specifically getting out there and marching.
It means changing and getting involved. Additionally, a figure he looks up to hangs in a frame above his office desk, Sara Ahmed.
Ahmed is an Australian-British scholar and writes in a way where she is, “able to be very powerful and not worry what you think, and draws you in… delicate balance,” said Heter.
Ahmed focuses some of her areas of studies on critical race theory and feminist theory, concepts that interest him.
Heter describes himself as wanting to be strong both mentally and physically, saying, “In this role I want to be a good teacher perusing my own goals.”
He says he wants to hear a person develop their own voice and he wants to be the kind of person to inspire students to find a meaningful book, poem, anything.
Professor Heter is just one of the more than 300 highly-credentialed faculty who teach at East Stroudsburg University.
ESU takes pride in their diversity and working to implement programs that enhance human rights, while promoting respect and assuring equality to all and Heter is part of this movement.
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