Areerat “Poy” Lertchaipitak, Ph.D., has served as assistant professor of business and financial planning for almost two years. She says she loves her role because it allows her to build relationships with students and work with her husband, Eakamon Oumtrakool, assistant professor of financial planning. Poy’s passion for teaching developed during her time as a graduate instructor, receiving positive feedback and thanks from her students for how much she had helped them learn and grow. Beyond her regular teaching responsibilities, Poy serves as an advocate for women’s leadership on campus and also hopes to inspire all students to become financially literate.
Why do you love working at OC?
I love working at OC because I love the culture and friendly environment on campus. Faculty, staff and students make me feel like I am at home every day. I also love how fast anything can be done and how simple it is to connect with my students. For example, when I need to invite my students to my office, they usually can come right away. Most students live on campus, so they are highly engaged and respond swiftly.
Where does your passion for teaching stem from?
My passion for teaching started when I was a graduate part-time instructor at Texas Tech University. I taught different financial planning classes to non-major students. I remember my first class was Money for College Students. This class mainly focused on building basic financial management skills for college students, like creating a budget and paying off student loans. My first class was so much fun. At the end of the semester, students thanked me for helping them become smart with their money and even told me I saved their lives because they didn’t need to ask their parents for money as often. This is a big reward for me as an instructor!
How would you describe your teaching style?
I would call my teaching a blended style. I find that students in different classes in different semesters often have different learning styles. I usually adjust my teaching style based on the audience. I frequently ask students what they like or do not like about the class and redesign accordingly.
What is the average day in your job or some of the unique things you are responsible for?
My average day at work includes teaching two or three classes and keeping my door open for students. Another unique thing that I am working on is developing financial literacy activities. I would like to see all OC students become financially literate. For example, I advised and encouraged financial students to create a financial awareness event. This is a one-day event that is open to all OC students, Financial Education Day. I plan to hold this event during every spring and fall semester. Moreover, I encourage financial planning students to provide outreach services by presenting financial planning topics to OC students during seminar classes.
Why is fostering women’s leadership important to you and what is your role in doing that on campus and beyond?
I believe that women are as capable as men. Unfortunately, many times, women have been told that they should not take leadership roles in many aspects, such as finances. I hope to make female students feel confident in making informed financial decisions, and further, have strong careers in the finance industry. I am doing it through my teaching, creating financial events and discussing the topic with students outside the classroom. I hope to see Olivet College students, especially female students, equipped with financial knowledge and being successful professionally and financially.
Why do you encourage students to attend OC?
I encourage students to become Comets because OC students receive special attention from faculty and staff. Our student to faculty ratio is 16:1, allowing relationships to be easily built. If I notice a student needs extra assistance, I can offer help immediately.
What do you look forward to in your role?
I am hoping to see all OC students financially literate. I hope that all students are highly involved with financial planning events, workshops and presentations. I also hope to see students taking BUS 215: Personal Finance, offered in fall and spring semesters. This small investment can help students make informed financial decisions and save them a lot of money over time.
What is the number one piece of advice you share with students?
My number one piece of advice for students is to be smart with your limited resources – time and money. Time management is a crucial skill for college students. There are so many interesting events, clubs/organizations and other activities while students are in college; however, the most important thing is studying. Students should make studying their first priority, but make time for other activities in their free time.
Same idea as time allocation, college students should know that they should use their money on their most important expenses, such as educational related expenses, especially those who take out student loans. They should be cautious about spending their future money on unnecessary things.
What is an interesting or little known fact about yourself?
I am from Thailand! Thailand is a small country located in Southeast Asia. My country is beautiful and has lots of tasty food. It is also very hot and humid, which is why I enjoy living in Michigan much more than Thailand – and also the light traffic. Additionally, I like to cook Thai food, so I can cook most Thai dishes that I crave.
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