Community Educator Spotlight | Elise Banfield

We are pleased to feature Elise Banfield as one of our community educators for the month of October

About Elise Banfield

Elise is an accomplished, seasoned psychology professor. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at Genesee Community College (G.C.C.), where she was recognized in 2012 with the prestigious StateUniversity of New York’s (S.U.N.Y.) Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2013 with PhiTheta Kappa International Honor Society’s Paragon Award for her work advising students. Her journey to veganism started as an on and off vegetarian until March of 2013, when she then began her transition to veganism for health reasons. While the changes she experienced were profound, it wasn’t until she learned about the factory farming trade, along with the benefits veganism brings to the environment, did her passion for veganism truly take off. She is currently an active member of Animal Rights of Rochester, and also enjoys regularly attending.n teaching this year.

When did you start your teaching career?

EB: I began my teaching career in 1995 as an adjunct instructor at Jamestown Community College, and taught on and off until 2002, when I then made it my full time career.

What makes you want to teach?

EB: I absolutely love inspiring people to grow, especially youth. To me, there is nothing more exciting than helping a hard-working person achieve his/ her goals and get to where he/ she want to be. Teaching psychology will often give students a new perspective on life. I’ve always said that the psychological self and physical self go hand in hand. They truly are married. When students take a psychology class, they often gain clarity and insight that, while not always easy, helps them to understand where they’ve been and where they want to go. That to me is incredibly motivating.

How do you stay healthy?

EB: Psychologically I make time to meditate and practice mindfulness moments each day. I also have found that adopting a vegan (primarily whole food, plant-based) diet has helped me tremendously. I start with a smoothie of veggies and fruits for breakfast, and that ensures that I start the day on the right foot! Finally, leading an active lifestyle (both socially and with regards to physical fitness) keep me at my best!

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your career?

EB: The most challenging aspect is staying current with my knowledge base. It is important to keep up with the latest research, as it is easy to simply teach what I know. I also work with students from a variety of skill levels, so I continuously work to make my lectures approachable and interesting for all students.

When you aren’t working what do you like to do?

EB: I love to go for “walk and talks” with friends, out to dinner and drinks, and just relax with my two dogs on my deck. I also enjoy mentoring, and am currently mentoring 4 youth.

What are you working on now?

EB: I currently teach introductory psychology, child psychology, developmental psychology and a speech class. I also teach a social psychology class once a year.

Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?

EB: I am totally energized by my mentees, and am happy to mentor when given the possibility, whether that would be mentoring someone along their journey to veganism, or a teen/ young adult as they find their way in the world.

To learn more about Elise or connect with her, reach out via the following channels

Photo credit: Elise Banfield

Register for Elise’s class How to Transition to a Plant Based Lifestyle on Thursday October 12th here

Published by Calvin Eaton

(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a disabled community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, equity, justice, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc. a non-profit online and community-based organization for accessible education and events that promote justice for all.

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