Years in teaching: 10
Year appointed at Winsor: 2012
Winsor courses/levels you teach:
Honors Chemistry (VI), Engineering & Design I & II (VII, VIII), LS STEM Courses (III, IV)
Other Winsor activities: (club advisor, coach, dean, class coordinator, etc). Entrepreneurship Club advisor, Lamp advisor
What three words would girls use to describe your teaching style?
I don’t know, so I polled them anonymously and the most frequently used words were “engaging,” “interesting,” and “quirky.” That last one made me smile, but I couldn’t disagree either.
How would you describe your relationships with students?
The students are amazing people with interesting stories, creative perspectives, good-natured humor, and brilliant talents. I think we all bring the best out in each other and do what we can to support those around us. Since they can really hold their own in a conversation, I like to talk with them as intellectual peers and, for sure, the learning is mutual.
Do you have a favorite lesson or project to teach?
It’s difficult to choose one (and why bother), so here’s a list of my favorite things we do in Chemistry: appreciating the counter-intuitive consequences of the wave-particle duality, dissecting the philosophical underpinnings of scientific reasoning, following the life of Fritz Haber from fertilizer through World War to understand stoichiometry, using short stories by Borge and Pynchon to explain thermodynamics, and discussing what Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring can teach us about chemical equilibrium. And in Engineering: the first moment that students see electricity run through their circuits to do something, programming microchips to intelligently respond to the environment, applying CAD/3D printing or fabrication methods like machining to make something from the imagination, and uniting the lessons learned from smaller projects into unimaginably complex systems for a final project.
What do you love about teaching?
Learning. I mean that in a lot of ways.
What’s the best thing about teaching at Winsor?
Everyone has something to say that’s worth hearing and they’re doing things that are exciting to see done.
Is there a lasting lesson you hope girls take from your classes?
I hope they learn that there is no authority on truth, that it is accessible to anyone, that its pursuit is a valuable use of their time, and that its deployment is their responsibility.
Favorite Winsor tradition?
My favorite is the lamp of learning. On the one hand, running around with an anachronistic method of lighting to represent aspirations for future discovery is paradoxical, but on the other, it is an icon of the continuity between generations who all wish to illuminate the truth whether they live in a world of LEDs, lamps, or campfires.
I try to spend my time writing fiction, reading philosophy, thinking about art, building instruments, and listening to people with something to say.
OPTION: Favorite _______: (book(s), author(s), quote, artist, thinker, teacher, etc. -- you pick one category). And explain why!
My favorite album is John Coltrane’s “Stellar Regions.” It’s an explosion of spirit, innovation, and discovery, recorded but left unreleased for decades. I remember getting it, not really liking it, listening to it over and over again anyway as if its secret would emerge, and then suddenly feeling like it did. It taught me that negative opinions about any music tell you more about the listener, good or bad, than the music itself.