Rowena Misayah has had a long career as a teacher, both inside and outside of formal classrooms. As a family physician for 16 years in the Philippines, Dr. Misayah worked at a teaching hospital, instructing and mentoring midwifery and nursing students. At Daley College since 2005, Dr. Misayah now teaches and mentors students studying biology and anatomy/physiology, and created a pathophysiology course. She’s also been the director of the honors program, advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and is currently the Chair of the Biology Department.
No matter how busy she gets, she has time for her students; students like Jairo Villalobos, who considers Dr. Misayah a mentor, and went to her for guidance when applying to Yale University.
She believes her role is to steer and guide students, saying, “Our students have what it takes to be successful, but sometimes don’t have the benefit of someone experienced at home guiding them. I am happy to mentor students, help them figure out financial aid, write recommendation letters, or just provide the voice of experience.”
Dr. Misayah feels at home at Daley, and knows the caliber of her peers and of the students they teach. She believes so much in the education available there, that all four of her children graduated from the college before transferring on: one is now a nurse at Rush University Medical Center, and the other three are studying computer science at UIC.
Not all of her students go on to pursue degrees or careers in science, but she hopes that they are able to take something tangible away from her classes nevertheless: the capacity to keep learning, the humility to learn from other people, and the ability to collaborate.
“I hope my students always look back to where they came from and help others be successful, too.”
Dr. Misayah received Daley’s Distinguished Professor award in 2010, the youngest to receive it, as well as the American Association of Women in Community Colleges’ Phenomenal Woman award that same year.