Mentor Community Spotlight: Susan

I received an invitation from Coursera to become a Mentor the night before my 73rd birthday and I felt like I was given an opportunity.

Our spotlight this week is on Susan. Susan is a Mentor in the course Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome.


Share something about yourself Susan Witter

My name is Susan. My hobbies since I have retired are online courses, gardening, nutrition, family, and the pursuit of health and happiness. I received an invitation from Coursera to become a Mentor when I had just finished the course Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome. It was the night before my 73rd birthday and I felt like I was given an opportunity.

As in any new opportunity, it will lead you to new growth and enlightenment.

What was your first Coursera course, how did you find out about it and why did you decide to take it?

Listening to World Music, offered by University of Pennsylvania on the old platform, was my first course, which was a grand journey of culture, politics and music. A friend had told me about Coursera and since then I have also taken other Coursera courses on epidemiology and emergency medicine leading to Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

What’s your favorite Coursera course and why?

My favorite Coursera course is perhaps my first course – Listening to World Music. Dr. Carol Mueller and her TAs did wide reaching researches from Africa’s first people, the throat singers in Mongolia, Cuba’s cultural mix to the Aborigines in Australia. Since then I have taken perhaps 10 or more Coursera courses that have influenced my daily life and even my family. Perhaps as in the first love, others that follow are compared, perhaps unfairly, to those that first put the sparkle in my eye and a glistening light in my synapses. That’s why my favorite one so far is still the first course I took.

What impact have Coursera courses had on your life?

I am interested in current science that affects human health. I have mentored the course Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome taught by University of Colorado Boulder and University of Colorado System Colorado. The science-related questions on the forums were stimulating, and I was able to research and lead students to recent peer reviewed papers. I am currently on a sabbatical from mentoring this course.

What does Coursera/Mentor community mean to you?

Coursera opened a new world to me.

When I started mentoring, I had just retired after 48 years of professional life and wanted to return to college, but because of limited night vision I was not able to drive to campus within a 30 radius.