The Shock of the New

For one “rookie” professor, it’s been perfectly painless

It’s never easy, in any job, to feel like “the new kid on the block.” Adam Tegnander knows that feeling well – but it didn’t last for long.

“I had just spent nine years in the private sector and joined the faculty at SUNY Cobleskill having never taught before,” says the Assistant Professor of Biology and Director of the Histotechnology department. “Plus, I was stepping into the midst of a lot of PhDs, while I ‘only’ had a master’s. But it turned out I really didn’t need to worry.”

What Adam soon found was that he had joined a community of professors who readily saw him as a new colleague to be welcomed. “They were happy to offer advice if I asked,” he says. “Some provided it without me having to ask. I think they just sensed when I might be feeling a bit at sea.”

Compounding the newness of it all was the fact that histotechnology was (and, at least for now, remains) a somewhat little-known subject area that deals with the collection of various types of human tissue samples which are then prepared for use by pathologists and others in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. While the department did exist for years before Adam arrived, his desire is now to build it into the largest of its kind in the country.

“One overarching factor that is helping me bring new students into histotechnology is that our associate degree holders are in great demand by medical and other health-related facilities all over the northeast,” Adam notes. “Some of them have jobs being held for them even before they graduate.” Nor is his student population solely composed of students coming straight from high school; in a number of instances he has attracted those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. “They come back,” says Adam, “because a degree in histotechnology can be a great resume enhancer.”

Adam himself is a SUNY Cobleskill graduate, having earned his associate degree in histotechnology in 2003. He went on to complete his B.S. from SUNY Oneonta, then his master’s degree from Quinnipiac in 2008.

Today, Adam is enjoying his new career, his students and and his faculty colleagues. “The relatively small campus community here makes it easy to connect and form friendships,” he says. It is a situation he expects to become even more gratifying in 2018 – because by then he’ll have become simply one more friendly, familiar face on SUNY Cobleskill’s block.

Feature photo of Adam Tegnander, Director of the Histotechnology Department, taken by Mohamed Baligh ’12, Communications & Marketing New Media Specialist

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