Penguin Hall Faculty Spotlight: Humanities Teacher Dr. Gable

Dr. Gable, far right, with her sister and mother

One of the great lessons we learn in life is how to face — and overcome — our fears. Dr. Gable, a Humanities Teacher at APH, shared this seemingly simple yet profound life experience for conquering her own fears: “I wanted something more than I was scared of it.” Dr. Gable’s passion for her dreams and goals is a quality that is characteristic of so many APH students and faculty. Read on to find out what fears Dr. Gable had to overcome to arrive at where she is today!

How are you different or the same today compared to when you were 16 years old?

“As a 16-year-old I was painfully shy, and I’m still an introvert in every way possible. But at 16, I could never imagine speaking in front of a class or giving a conference presentation… that’s changed. But I’m still the same in a lot of ways, I’m still quiet, I’m very invested in friendships, and I still want a pony!” 

How were you able to get out of “your shell” and gain confidence?

“I wanted something more than I was scared of it… I wanted to get a PhD and so I had to do things that I was uncomfortable with, and I just did them. The first time it was awful, and the second time it was a little less awful, and then the third time it was fine. Every time I’ve gotten over a fear in my life it was not because I was brave… it was because I had to do it, because of something else I wanted.” 

What was your favorite subject or class in college and why?

While not for everyone, the beauty of a liberal arts education is that you often end up taking a class in a subject that you didn’t know you loved! For Dr. Gable, that subject was Sociology: “It was a whole new way of thinking about things that I hadn’t been exposed to before, and a way of thinking about people and groups that I didn’t know I was interested in,” she shared. This multidimensional way of thinking is something that has not only helped her as a Historian, but as a person. And, it gave her a deeper understanding of the D word  — diversity. 

“It taught me to think about diversity… We automatically think, ‘We’ll just add as many people to the mix and figure it out.’ The class taught me the reason why we do this is that different people’s experiences shape their knowledge. So when you read something and find someone who’s not like you, you’re not just reading about them and their experiences — you’re learning a new way to think about the world, you’re helping to rearrange your own paradigms and that can really impact the way you’re able to see and notice things.”

What do you love about teaching at APH?

If you’ve ever walked into an APH classroom, one of the first things you notice is the furniture arrangement. There are no desks, only tables, which nurtures participatory discussion and a Socratic Seminar style of teaching. And, it brings teachers to the table with their students. “When I was in high school, my teachers were these strange mythical figures… [at APH], it’s not like that; I know my students, I talk to my students… and I really appreciate that closeness, and it makes me better as a teacher, because we’re humans to each other.”

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Did you know that Dr. Gable was originally interested in being a Chemistry major in college? “I have a deep and abiding interest in science. Now, I read a lot of science fiction and history of science. I’m a closet science nerd,” she laughs. Her favorite sci-fi authors? Ursula K. Le Guin and Roger Zelazny, to name just two for your reading list!