Letter: Dear Susan Alunan

A student writes a letter to a political science professor who made her feel accepted in academia.

Dear Susan Alunan,

Thank you for being a phenomenal professor, mentor and friend to me these last few years.

Thank you for teaching me the classics in Introduction to Political Philosophy, and after making sure we had John Locke on lock, taking the time to introduce us to a diverse breadth of other great philosophical thinkers like Al-Farabi, Gloria Anzaldúa, Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire and Audre Lorde. As an ambitious young woman of color, learning about these non-white philosophers excited me. I never had the chance to study these perspectives before, and I am so much better off now because of it. 

I remember ending that semester so inspired and feeling like I truly belonged in academia. The topics I was interested in were just as worthy of study as any others in the mainstream.

You helped me transition from a student to a student leader by appointing me as one of your first civic engagement interns as part of the Civic Engagement Internship for the political science department. I learned my voice matters and people like me matter. As I pursue a career as a lawyer, I know I belong in this country and in its politics and government.

Thank you for fostering a sense of community within my personal and professional life — something that started on the fourth floor of Gladfelter Hall and has extended much, much farther. You introduced me to role models and friends alike.

You showed me that a woman shouldn’t have to sacrifice her personal style to look professional.  To this day, I am envious of your black blazer that ties on the side. So fly! 

Thank you for letting me host our first-ever Temple in the City event in my orange heels.  Working with women like you taught me to wear what makes me feel confident and what matters most isn’t our outward appearance, but the ideas, morals and ethos we carry within. You gave me the courage to wear my natural curls during job interviews and tranquility that I will wear long after, knowing I never have to change myself to conform to others’ expectations.

Thank you for your open-door policy and for mentoring students like me. You reassure me time and time again that the path to success is not linear, and for that, I will always be grateful. You are the inspiration for many things I do at Temple, including the speech I will give at College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony on Thursday.

Thank you for accepting me for exactly who I am. My experience at Temple would be nothing without wonderful professors like you.


Maha Ouni

Senior political science and history major

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.