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Oct 20, 2018
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(Courtesy of Dermot Donnelly’s Twitter account)

He got an anonymous note from a student after finals. It inspired him

Students often have mixed emotions when a semester ends and finals are over – anxiety, stress and relief.

One student at Fresno State felt particularly thankful for the time spent and things learned in Fresno State associate professor Dermot Donnelly’s science course.

Evidence of that gratitude was in an anonymous ‘thank you’ note Donnelly got on Dec. 14. It had been signed by “a very grateful NSCI 1A student.”

Donnelly said he found the card stuck on a notice board by his office door.

“I don’t know who left it,” he said.

He tweeted the photo of the note just as finals week had ended. It read in part: “Thank you for making science a fun subject.”

Donnelly told The Collegian that the course, integrated science in physics and chemistry, is for future elementary and middle school teachers. He said he strives to make it engaging with a newly-redesigned lab, made possible by funding through the National Science Foundation through the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program.

“I’ve spent the last two and a half years redesigning the course and introduced a new lab structure this fall that supports students to be creative and design their own experiments,” he said.

The note from the thankful student also suggested the course would “help me become a better teacher in the future.”

It wasn’t the first time Donnelly got gratitude from his students. In the fall of 2015, he said students from the same course thanked him with a local tea house gift card.

“I felt revitalized reading the card,” Donnelly said. “I am ready to bring the same energy and enthusiasm into spring 2018.”

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