"They told you about that?" she said, eyes widening.
They did. It's come out that she occasionally throws objects at her students.
Namely, a foam stress ball in the shape of a human heart (she'll toss it to them when she puts them on the spot in class - they can squeeze it to handle the "stress" of facing a tough question, get it?).
Her targets? They don't seem to mind. At the College of Pharmacy's Fall Honors Convocation, the students honored Dr. Oestreich with the college's Distinguished Teaching Award.
"I guess I remember being them," Dr. Oestreich said. "And I always appreciated when a teacher did a good job, but also cared."
She said she has a long way to go to match those great teachers she remembers. But the reviews say she's on her way.
"Julie walks our walk," said Ally Dering-Anderson, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice. "She's a great pharmacist and encourages our students in greatness. Average isn't her standard, greatness is. The students respond to that."
"She helped me for an hour and half when I am sure she had other things to do," wrote one student, who nominated Dr. Oestreich for the award. "She also doesn't just give you the answer; she wants you to work it out because that is how you actually learn."
At times her classes can be "crazy," with foam stress balls and occasional jokes -- "I try to be myself and be honest about it," Dr. Oestreich said - but they aren't easy.
She's teaching not to the test, but to the real test - to life as a practitioner, and all of the challenges that will bring.
Dr. Oestreich is active in the SHARING Clinic and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). The students seem to feed off of her enthusiasm. Why?
"It's understanding where they need to go," Dr. Oestreich said, "and having a strategy to get them there."
These young people are more than just her students.
"These are future colleagues," Dr. Oestreich said. "We're not just trying to get them through the program and then they're gone. These are people we are going to look to as our alumni. As potential preceptors."
A few might even decide to become teachers. That's what happens when you have a good one who cares.
Congratulations, Julie!! Great to know more about what you do and how you look out for your students. We are honored to have you in our choir. Anne Kohler