Know Your Professor: Nanette Veilleux

April 30, 2015


Dr. Veilleux teaches computer science at Simmons -- and we nominated her for U.S. Professor of the Year!

What is your favorite class to teach?

Introduction to Computer Science. The students are totally new to CS and learn so quickly. Getting a program to work is a thing of joy and beauty. I like watching students discover that. 

What's your favorite book? 

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace… unless the ending is totally disappointing.

Fill in the blank: When I was in college, I ___ 

was not encouraged to become my authentic self except in non-endorsed political actions. I met my husband as we tried to take over a nuclear power plant. Not only did we make the world better (not yet best) and safer (not yet safe) but we learned how to organize thousands of people towards a single goal.

If you could travel to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why? 

Back to Rwanda. It’s a nation that believes the future is theirs and bright. I miss my Rwandan students -- I taught in the University of Rwanda, Kigali for a semester on sabbatical.

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? 

None. I am in the best profession in the world. I teach at Simmons, where good teaching is respected and I do basic research with colleagues at MIT and BU. I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s. 

Except, possibly to be a rock ‘n roll star… naw…too many late nights.

When I'm not teaching, I'm ____ 

organizing Transition House’s 40th anniversary celebration. T-House is one of the oldest Shelters for Battered Women (old fashioned term: we now call it “intimate family violence”) in the nation. We opened our doors in 1976 after pasting our phone number on bathroom walls in women’s rooms. We’ve been full pretty much ever since. The world has changed in 40 years and one of the best changes is that beating a woman is not a joke anymore. 

Favorite quote? 

“First, solve the problem. Then, write the code.” - Jack Johnson. 

Or “Frustration is the feeling you feel just before you learn something.” - Me. 

What's your least favorite word? 

All words are good words if used imaginatively. However, if you must know: Moist.

I love my students because ____ 

they are interesting, optimistic and energetic and teach me new things all the time.

How does it feel to be nominated for U.S. Professor of the Year

Nice to be recognized but there are so many great professors here at Simmons -- it feels a bit odd.

What advice would you give to students considering attending Simmons?

Faculty teach here because they want students to thrive, not just learn or become successful but to all out, take-no-hostages, thrive in work, love and play.