Editor’s Note: This is the thirteenth in a series of spotlights on mathematics and statistics faculty. Ms. Janusa joined us as an instructor in FaLL 2018.
Do you have a hobby or collect something? How did you get into that?
I enjoy sewing although I have not spent much time sewing lately. In particular, I like creating things that I cannot purchase. I made my children’s Halloween costumes when they were young. My grandmother made me clothes when I was in elementary school, and my mom made all my dance costumes. My interest in sewing arises from my admiration of their creativity and wanting to make things like they did.
Tell us about an adventure you had, or would like to have.
While in college, I participated in a program of college students living with families in D’Havré Belgium. I could barely speak or understand the French language so it was an interesting month for the family and myself. I have many fond memories of my experience like the day the mother told me that she was cooking endive. I wanted to tell her that I had never eaten endive. Her face looked panicked because what I really said was “I do not eat endive”. The Belgians only had fresh food in the home so there was nothing else for her to prepare if I did not eat endive. Endive ended up being one of my favorite meals in Europe that summer.
What was one of your biggest successes or failures?
My greatest blessing is my family – both growing-up and as an adult. Michael and I have been married for 30 years and have 3 children Michael, Katherine and Christopher. I’ve enjoyed every phase of our marriage.
As I reflect to the past, my biggest success was earning my Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. I have 5 older brothers, but I was the first person in my family to attend college. During my early years in grammar school, I was behind in math. However, over time I was able to overcome this and eventually excelled in math and physics. When I started college, I did not realize that the odds were against me being successful since I was a first generation, female student. This task was even more difficult because throughout my college career, my mother battled and eventually passed away leaving a void in my life.
What kind of music, books, movies, sports, games, cars, etc. (pick one or more) do you like? Is there any particular reason?
I do not watch many movies, but my favorites are older movies with Cary Grant. In particular, my favorite is “An Affair to Remember”.
Most cars that I’ve owned only served for transporting the family; however, my favorite car is the one I owned in college – a red and white ’73 Mustang Coupe with a 351 Cleveland engine. It was beautiful and fast.
I enjoy listening to music that reminds me of special moments. For instance, I recall our family vacations when I listen to my father’s favorite singer Charlie Pride or my mother’s favorite song, “Tears of a Clown” sung by Smokey Robinson. I recall singing with my youngest son, ‘This is gonna be the best day of my life, I’m going to make a hundred and five’ as we would drive to school on exam days, and he would get that 105.
What is the closest you have ever come to dying?
I believe the scariest event in my life was when I was a child. My older brother placed me on his shoulders and jumped on his bike to ride me through the neighborhood. The more I cried and screamed, the more he enjoyed the event.
What did you do to put yourself through school, or what weird job have you held?
I served cocktails in a lounge while I was in college. My best tip while working was not in money, but instead in meeting my husband, Michael.
The thing that really makes you cool and unique is something that I would never have thought to list here. What is it?
I grew up in a small town down river of New Orleans called Chalmette. My favorite foods are from the area – fresh creole tomatoes, boiled (gulf) shrimp, gumbo, beignets, po-boys (on New Orleans French bread), and many more Cajun delicacies.