Getting to know...Stefanie Baker
Stefanie Baker teaches biology at Wofford, but geography has become second nature to her. Her travels, after all, have taken her from coastline to coastline and from Japan to Switzerland.
In fact, she is currently in a race with her father and with husband Greg to see who can visit all 50 states first. The rule is one has to touch their feet on the ground for that state to count, and Baker has close to 30 states on her list. Unfortunately, that pales in comparison to Greg, who is closing in on 40. But it’s more than her dad, a former truck driver.
She didn’t have to travel far at all to meet Greg. They marched side by side in Clemson’s Tiger Band.
“We did that for two years,” she says. “We got to go to so many places together. We went to every away game, and even to a bowl game in Japan.”
After graduating from Clemson, Baker got her first job at Erskine College, where she taught for eight years. Greg, meanwhile, worked in Asheville, N.C. The Bakers lived together in Greenville, S.C., so they put a lot of miles on their cars.
Then Stefanie got the job here at Wofford, starting last semester. She and Greg now live in Inman, and the shorter commute is very much appreciated by the parents of 1-year old Matthew Baker.
“When I found out about the opening at Wofford, I knew about the academic reputation,” says Baker. “The locale didn’t hurt, either, but the academics and especially the people here sealed the deal.
“I felt right at home here. I didn’t come in feeling ‘new.’ The only time I feel new is when someone asks me where a building is.”
Baker isn’t teaching Interim this semester, but is already planning to do so next year at this time.
“It’s something I did a lot at Erskine, because we had the same system there,” she says. “I’m trying to think of something that will get me outside of biology and something that’s fun.”
Perhaps she could teach a course on baseball. After all, in fourth grade she played on a little league team with her brother, coached by her father. There’s no crying in baseball, and she has been a fan of sports ever since.
Another passion of hers is Disney. One visit to her office will tell you that. Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh reign supreme.
“If my students make an A or a B on tests, they get a Mickey Mouse stamp,” says Baker. “It may sound corny but the kids like it because they know right away if they did well or not because they can see the stamp.”
Meanwhile, Baker’s goal is to collect stamps on her passport. Traveling, once foreign to her, is now in her blood. And she plans to convert her son some day as well.
“We love to travel and that’s something I want my son to experience, because it’s something I didn’t get to do growing up,” she says. “It wasn’t until I got into college that I started traveling. I want him to see the world.”