Teachers College Professor Chris Emdin Awarded Tenure
Chris Emdin, a prominent professor at Teachers College, was awarded tenure at Teachers College and garnered a research position at Harvard University. At a recent gathering to celebrate his accomplishments, Emdin reflected on this extraordinary point in his life. “Everybody in this moment is so special. So, spend time with people around you. You have the most brilliant scholars in the world here and you also have the coolest writers here.”
Dr. Pola Rosen, publisher of Education Update, was able to meet Lilith Hepzibah Emdin, mother of Chris Emdin, at the event where the two chatted about the early days of the professor’s life.
Dr. Pola Rosen (PR): When Chris was very young, was he interested in science?
Lilith Hepzibah Emdin (HE): When he was five years old he started reading … but after reading those books he said ‘mom there is nothing else to read.’ And I said ‘ok, create your own stories.’ That is exactly what he did.
PR: Which part of the country were you in?
HE: We were in Washington DC for a while, then we left and we spent some time in Africa.
PR: Where did Emdin grow up?
HE: He grew up in Africa. We spent five years in Nigeria, from the age of four years old until he was nine. He started creating his own stories in that period. By the time he was nine years old, he had written probably 10 different storybooks.
PR: Do you have any of those?
HE: We probably do. I know that his father kept a lot of them.
PR: What kind of stories did he write?
HE: Most of them were mystery stories. He spent his time writing stories where people had to figure out how to solve the mysteries. That was the interesting thing about Chris’s youth. He went to a private catholic school in Nigeria. It was basically English. He also spoke native languages. He still does. I think Chris learned a little bit of French during those years too. He was always interested in communicating.
PR: He was a researcher for a year and then he was into publishing a book. Do you think any of this stems from his early interest in writing?
HE: I do think so. The point is that in order to produce something of that quality you need to have a background.
He went to a Catholic high school in Washington DC. From there we moved to the Bronx. His sister died four years ago. She was a lawyer.
PR: What did you do to have two such intellectual children?
HE: I always forced them to do things and to read. I said reading is a foundation of everything. And you are going to use your mind to think outside of the box. You can always find your own story.
Members of Phi Delta Kappa, an honor society just elected Emdin as President. Members of the Society present were Rich DeCiccio, Joe DiLeo and Dr. Pola Rosen. President Susan Fuhrman spoke about the illustrious work of Emdin to a crowd of 100 faculty and students.#