I didn’t even know what corporate finance was when I started at SOM last fall. I certainly did not think I would take any course with “finance” in its title, much less actually enjoy it. So I was surprised to be cheering aloud when my Corporate Finance professor, Heather Tookes, won this year's Alumni Elective Teaching Award. Yes…this fall, I actually did learn how to calculate WACC, what a beta is—and the difference between an asset and equity beta—and the difference between NPV and APV. (If the last sentence meant nothing to you, you’re in the same place I was 18 months ago: if you take Corporate Finance with Professor Heather Tookes, you’ll figure it out. Really.)I really feel like I learned a new language that can help me evaluate why things are priced as they are, and whether a strategy makes sense or not, in business or other sectors. I think I most appreciate that in Professor Tookes’ class, even as she made the class one of my most rigorous (see all I learned, above) she met us where we were. In my class of about 40 students, there were maybe 3 with finance job experience. The rest of us were mostly former teachers like myself, government employees, and not-for-profit types. In a discussion on leveraged buyouts, when a classmate asked why she shouldn’t just feel “icky” about the job cuts often a part of LBOs, Professor Tookes completely validated the perspective, making the class feel accessible to us all and making us feel safe to engage as we could, with our skeptical perspectives and even if we didn’t always know the technical terms for a complicated concept. Congratulations Professor Tookes on your Elective Teaching Award, and thanks!