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Classroom Connections: Mercer
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 11/05/2019
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Courtesy: Southern Conference

Football player Sidney Otiwu and Dr. Caryn Seney

About Sidney Otiwu:
  • Redshirt junior linebacker
  • Native of Buford, Ga. 

About Dr. Seney: 

  • Professor & Assistant Chair of Chemistry Department 
  • Owns a B.S. in Chemistry from Centre College and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Wake Forest University
  • Has been teaching for 23 years, all of which came at Mercer as she joined the Mercer faculty in 1996 

Sidney Otiwu and Dr. Seney in front of the Bear statue on Mercer's campus

Q&A with Sidney Otiwu:

  • What did you like most about Dr. Seney's class? I’ve actually never had her for a class, but I have spent a lot of time talking with her. She really cares about the students and is really patient. She is a good listener, compassionate and reassuring. 
  •  What makes Dr. Seney a good teacher? She wants everyone to succeed. She is flexible and will work with students to make sure they understand the material.
  • What is something you’re involved in outside of class and sports that we may not know? Sports takes up a lot of time, but I enjoy being a part of the African Student Association. The association tries to inform people about Africa. We raise money by selling food that comes from the countries in Africa.
  • How do you manage academics, athletics and a social life? What is your key to good time management? The key to time management is to connect with your classmates. They can be a support team that reminds me to study, practice and even take a break now and then. They help relieve some of the stress that comes from being a student-athlete.
  • What is your favorite spot on campus? The University Center. Because of the connection we have as a team, when you see a football player you sit down, then more teammates show up. Before you know it, we are pushing tables together. It is a really great bonding place.
  • What is the most important skill you've learned through participation in your sport? How to adapt in times of adversity. It makes me more resilient.
  • Do you have any nicknames? Or if you could choose your own, what would it be and why? On the football team they call me the Nigerian Nightmare. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate my heritage, but as I’ve grown up, I’ve embraced my cultural heritage. And I just want to be a nightmare to the other team.
  • What are your plans post grad? I want to be a physical therapist.

     Q&A with Dr. Seney:
  • What was it like having Sidney in your class? Interestingly, I haven’t had Sidney in my class. I had a student, one of my advisees and Chemistry students, with whom he was friends. When this advisee came to advising sessions or stopped by my office to chat, he often attended too. As a result, I began asking Sidney about his classes, life plans, etc. I would’ve loved to have had him in class – he genuinely cares about what he’s doing, his friends and teammates. In addition, he is uplifting and optimistic; always reflective.
  • What is your favorite sport or hobby? What do you like to do in your free time? My favorite hobby is camping. In my free time I enjoy being with my family – family is extremely important to me. We enjoy playing games, listening to music, cooking dinner together.
  • How often are you able to watch your student-athletes compete? I try to go to at least 1 game, if not more, per student-athlete in my class. Because I teach a broad spectrum of students, I try to attend different events in which they are involved; so, it limits my ability to attend multiple games throughout the season.
  • What’s your favorite spot on campus? Right behind our building is a small patio area in which rocking swings were just added; it is now my favorite spot on campus.
  • What is your favorite thing about teaching? Without any doubt students are by far my favorite thing about teaching!
  • What would students be surprised to find out about you? I hitchhiked through the South Island of New Zealand, had just enough money to purchase a one-way plane to Stewart Island (southern-most island of NZ), and then realized, there was very little to do to earn money so that I could get a return ticket back to the southern island of NZ. As a result, I worked on a salmon fishing boat to earn enough money to return. It was the worst-smelling job I had. Needless to say, I don’t eat fish…
  • What is one class your schools offers that you wish you could take? Stagecraft – I would really enjoy learning the behind the scenes work that is required to run a production.

About Classroom Connections: In its second year, Classroom Connections is a weekly feature that showcases student-athletes away from the playing field and highlights the relationship between student-athlete and professor. 

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