This article is part of an ongoing series in which members of our university community document their experiences, both on campus and beyond, from their unique perspective.  

Faculty members at St. Edward’s take pride in getting to know their students as individuals. And their students like getting to know them. So we asked two professors, Trish Baynham and Stephanie Martinez, to give students (and us) a peek into their daily lives and what it’s like to prepare and teach a class remotely during this challenging time.

Baynham and Martinez joined other faculty teams this summer to teach different sessions of a Freshman Seminar course for new Hilltoppers. The course explored topics around Covid-19 — from history and art to science and economics. Their session, “Staying Well in a Global Pandemic,” combined Baynham’s expertise in epidemiology and microbiology with Martinez’s expertise in health communication. Here’s what they happily shared about the course, their students, teaching and themselves! (See student videos from the class in this story.)

Morning Meditation

Baynham:  I begin my morning with a cold shower followed by yoga and meditation. This totally wakes me up and helps me to start the day with a relaxed, clear mind. 

Trish Baynham's Tea Set

Baynham:  This is the mismatching tea set I use for my Irish Breakfast tea. The teapot and creamer are from my mother, and the mug is from a trip to London with students, so they are special to me.

Trish Baynham's Office at St. Ed's

Baynham:  I miss my office at St. Edward’s. I always have candy and raisins so that students can drop by for a quick “hello” and a snack.

Stephanie Martinez

Martinez:  Dressing up for my Zoom classes makes me feel more energetic, but I hate shoes, so you’ll see a photo of me (below) lecturing dressed up, but with bare feet.

Martinez's Royal Family Tea Cups

Martinez:  My morning routine is breakfast (rice cake, peanut butter, banana), Earl Grey tea in one of my nerdy tea cups, and a long walk with my two spoiled-rotten rescue dogs, Sophie and Wrigley. 

Sophie Rides to Starbucks

Martinez:  Sophie rides with me to Starbucks to get my once-a-week coffee. She not only knows the word Starbucks, but runs to the door when I spell S-t-a-r-b-u-c-k-s.

Baynham's Home Office
Zoom Prep for Pandemic Class
Martinez Teaches Pandemic Class on Zoom

Baynham:  In our work areas at home, Dr. Martinez and I met with the Summer Course coordinator, Dr. Mity Myhr and our outstanding technology expert, Jenny Cha. Our class presentation included showing videos and a TikTok, and we needed to be sure that everything was working well.

Textile Wall Hanging

Martinez:  This summer my new house project is turning the guest room into my home office. One of my favorite additions is a hand-made weaving by Lily Primeaux, a Communication alum.

Danny Devito Web Icon

Martinez:  We’re playing practical jokes on each other in my house. In this case, my 14-year-old daughter changed all my folders on my computer to Danny Devito’s face when I went for a walk. I kept one because it makes me laugh.

Stephanie Martinez & RBG portrait

Martinez:  I’m inspired by people who don’t give up. I just ordered a picture of Ruth Bader Ginsberg for my new home office to remind me every day to never give up.

Students Doing Research in Science Lab

Baynham:  One really special thing about St. Edward’s is our international students. Thalita de Souza performed research for a week during the summer of 2019 and will attend my epidemiology class remotely from Brazil.

VAX computer game

Baynham:  We had students in our summer course play a VAX Game (warning, it is addictive) that simulates a pandemic outbreak. Their goal was to protect and save as many people as possible. 

Student Research in Science Lab

Baynham:  I worked with research students online this summer and look forward to working with them in person this fall. RJ Barnhill is a previous student and Caroline Podvin is continuing work with a face-covering project this fall. 

Faculty meeting on zoom

One the biggest benefits of teaching at St. Edward’s is our colleagues and how well we work together and support each other — virtually and in person. We’re all mastering the art of Zoom meetings

The best part of St. Edward’s is our students. We gave our class an assignment to create a public service announcement on pandemic safety measures. They dove into the challenge — and really had fun!

The students formed 12 remote teams, and each produced a PSA to promote safety on the hilltop. These two video samples show how they aced the project with their talent and teamwork!

Trish Baynham and Students in London

More About Trish Baynham

What would most people be surprised to know about you? I earned a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do during graduate school, but now I am a little more relaxed. I’m currently a certified yoga teacher and a meditation teacher.

What inspires you? Our alums! I love to hear how they’re doing and invite them back often to inspire the next generation. They are always generous in supporting current students, and we eat lunch together afterwards to catch up.

Your favorite teaching experience? The pandemic makes me think of my trip with students to the UK in 2013. It was part of a class focused on the history of infectious disease and medicine and how science is accomplished. We visited medical museums and heard from experts. Students shared research on scientists of different eras. It was an amazing educational experience!

What do you look forward to most this fall? Seeing our students. I have some research students who are currently determining the best balance between a face covering that is comfortable yet also protective. I also get to teach epidemiology, which couldn’t be more timely.

Stephanie Martinez in Chicago Cubs Face Mask

More About Stephanie Martinez

Describe your time on the hilltop in three words. Engaged, Inspired, Dynamic

Your idea of happiness? Spending time at the beach with my spouse, daughter and two dogs

Your advice to students about remote learning? Organization is key to online learning. Stay organized and don’t fall behind. If you have a discussion forum for your class, get involved, offer examples even if you don’t need to do so. You can get some great information and learn about your classmates this way.

What’s unique about teaching at St. Edward’s? Collaborating with colleagues not only in my department or school, like teaching the pandemic class with Dr. Baynham, and working closely with undergraduate and graduate students.

Your favorite sports team? I’m a huge Chicago Cubs fan! My family in Chicago sent me a Cubs facemask. The only bad part is that it’s too big for my face.