Janis Jarecki-Liu, also called “The Brain Lady” by her children, is a professor and department chair in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
She has been at Clarion for 27 years, and she said her favorite aspect of Clarion is the small rural, friendly community.
“It’s a nice place to raise a family,” she said.
Her favorite part of the annual Autumn Leaf Festival is crafter’s day and the food.
Ironically, she said, when she was younger her mother gave her two options: to either become a nurse or a teacher; at that point in time, she didn’t want to be either. She wanted to be a doctor or an archeologist then, but she said she loves teaching because it keeps her young.
Jarecki-Liu received her undergraduate degree in Biology at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. She continued on with school to earn her master’s in Speech Language Pathology at Clarion, and earned her doctorate at Kent State in Ohio for Speech Language Pathology.
Her favorite class to teach is her graduate course, which deals with language disorders. The classes she misses teaching the most are the freshmen introduction classes she taught prior to becoming the department chair.
“It was fun getting to know that first year class,” she said.
Jarecki-Liu’s favorite advice to give to her students is, “Be passionate about what they are interested in pursuing and learning in terms of discipline. It doesn’t always have to be a career.”
She said, “Communication is the currency of human interaction, and helping people that have lost that ability to regain it back, is probably the most rewarding thing anyone can do. Without that ability to communicate, you wouldn’t be able to do any other job, or enjoy time with friends and family. I think what we do is pretty awesome. Through our treatments we change the neurologic structure.”
Her favorite aspect of her job as a teacher is working with the students who want to learn and enjoy learning.
She said they listen to what she has to say and are excited about what they are learning.
Irish music of any kind is Jarecki-Liu’s favorite to listen to, and the song she enjoys most is “Grace,” by Anthony Kearns.
She enjoys Pride and Prejudice, which is her favorite book and movie. Jarecki-Liu said she doesn’t have a favorite television show, because she doesn’t have much time to watch TV, but when she does she enjoys the PBS network and HGTV network, or Netflix.
In her spare time, she takes care of her two kids, and travels with them, but, she says, not as much as she’d like to. Jarecki-Liu enjoys knitting as well, and used to be a care-giver for her mother and husband for a long time.
She said she loves to read. “I can’t even sit down at breakfast without reading something, even the cereal box,” she said. She is currently considering learning to play the dulcimer, a folk musical instrument.