Jeri Little

Professing the Love of Motherhood

Written by Crystal Schupbach

Students look up to their professors as a main source of inspiration and support while they’re away from home. This admiration is clear when students talk about the kindness and care they receive from Academic Counselor and Lecturer in Business Christy Maier and Assistant Professor of Psychology Jeri Little. Both women are helpful and receptive to the students who show up at their office doors, and both share a common bond besides this willingness to help. They are mothers.

Mrs. Maier, mother of John, Thomas, David, Max, Phillip, and another on the way, said that her handful of children contribute to her broad understanding of students, and her students have an equal influence on her job as a mother.

“I love how all of the different jobs help me do a better job,” she said. “They work together to help me understand my function. Being a mom has given me insight to various types of personalities because I live with them, but working with students helps me understand various problems that my own children might be having.”

Mrs. Maier’s journey into motherhood began when she was teaching high school, and by the time she started teaching college, she had her second child. She has been a part of the Hillsdale College faculty for eleven years and said her children have inspired her to continue her career in academia as well as caused her to strive for balance in life. Like many parents, she wishes to be an example for her children, showing them the importance of her academic and professional interests.

“When I don’t have these interests outside the home, I become absorbed in things that don’t matter,” she said. “Do my kids have the best decorated cupcakes? Things like that just don’t matter.”

Dr. Little, who taught research design and biological psychology during the spring 2017 semester, has one little one at home—ten-month-old Sophie. Dr. Little explained that Sophie’s life has caused her to form a deeper understanding of certain psychological concepts by providing her with new perspectives.

“I never loved developmental science because it was hard to learn all the time periods in which certain things happen; either when the baby is in utero or after the baby is born,” she said. “Since being pregnant and having a baby, those things are much more apparent. Now I know when babies are supposed to be able to walk, about when they smile. It’s made it more interesting and fun for me.”

Family and her career have always been of the utmost importance to Dr. Little.

“Everything is important now,” she said. “I really love my career, and the fulfillment that I have from doing work here gives me the energy to spend time with Sophie as well. My life has changed because I am a lot busier and have less free time, but I am pleasantly surprised at how doable it is.”

Both Mrs. Maier and Dr. Little attribute part of this ease to the support of the Hillsdale community.

“My department has been very supportive, as well as the female faculty,” Dr. Little said. “There is a great community of women, including spouses of faculty, who have given us clothes or toys. They made the transition a lot easier.”

Crystal SchupbachCrystal Schupbach, ’20, is a Michigan native studying psychology and journalism. A few of her favorite things include dogs, summertime concerts, and garage sales–in that order.