By Christina Dimauro
Professor Natalie Coe may be one of the most recognizable professors at Sacred Heart University because of her outgoing personality and unique pink hair.
Before arriving on the Sacred Heart campus, Coe had traveled extensively throughout the world. Receiving both her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
“As an undergraduate, you don’t get grades until your final exams at the end of your last year. Those exams are extremely stressful because they determine what rank of degree you receive, but up until then there’s no worrying about GPAs of whether you got an 89.95 or a 90 in a class,” said Coe. “That’s not to say that the professors don’t give you a hard time, however, they did not sugar-coat their criticism.”
She also travelled to places like the Soviet Union, when it was still considered the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia during the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and Cuba during the so-called special period.
As for arriving at Sacred Heart, Professor Christel Manning, who teaches religious studies, suggested that Coe apply here.
“Christel told me that Natalie was a really creative and interesting person,” said Theology and Religious Studies Professor Brian Stiltner. “So I interviewed Natalie and I found her to be an engaging conversationalist who knew her stuff about philosophy while also having great instincts about how to engage students.”
Being a philosophy professor is not something Coe had planned for, but she loves teaching students.
“As a philosophy professor she takes the opposing perspective and is able to bring diversity and engage students with her experiences in a difficult course,” said Manning.
Coe has also had many different careers throughout her life before deciding to become a professor, including glassblowing.
“I fell in love with glassblowing when I saw the great maestros in Venice, so I took it up as a hobby and then I got a job as a studio assistant to a well-known glassblower,” said Coe. “I’m drawn to challenges, and glass is the hardest artistic medium to master; it’s so intense and requires so much focus that it’s almost meditative.”
Outside of teaching, both Coe and Manning spend a frequent amount of time with each other, as both of their kids are involved in ice hockey.
“Natalie actually lives in my neighborhood, I have babysat for her young son, taken our kayaks out on the river and she has been to my house many, many times for dinner,” said Manning.
Aside from teaching, Coe is also a mother and enjoys introducing her son to the things she loved, like Tintin books and eating icicles. She also enjoys cooking and baking, as well as going out to eat.
“But, I’m not a snob. In my opinion, Super Duper Weenie ranks right up there with the fanciest restaurant in New York,” said Coe.
As for the distinct hair color choice, Coe explains that it’s her way of being rebellious.
“My standard answer is that I’m having a midlife crisis, but I couldn’t afford a Jaguar-E type, so I dyed my hair pink instead,” said Coe. “I was very rebellious when I was young, but once you have a kid and a house and ‘grown-up’ responsibilities, it’s not so easy to pack up and move to Cuba or do any of the other truly insane things I did. My only remaining outlet for rebelling against the status quo is my hair.”