Thank you to our science department!

By BELINDA KUO AND ADRIAN HERNANDEZ
STAFF WRITERS
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PHOTO BY CANDICE LEE

Daniel Choi

How has your first year at Wilson been so far?

“It has been really good. It is really similar to the school I grew up at so it feels like home even though it is a different school. [I have] been having a lot of fun.”

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

“[Being the person who was able to make a student understand a concept they did not understand a concept they did not understand in other classes] and make them feel like they can do it. A lot of times I think they can do it, but they probably did not do well when they tried before then they feel unconfident. In the end, it is bringing up a student’s confidence.”  

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

“I like playing tennis and snowboarding.”

What is your ideal vacation?

“Traveling somewhere I have never been to before, but not for too long because then I get tired and will want to go home.”

Jacob Evans

What made you want to follow this career path?

“My high school chemistry teacher was a big inspiration for me. He encouraged me to go to college and I [his teaching method] inspired me to learn and I wanted to be able to do to that for high school students as well.”

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

“Hawaii.”

What is your favorite candy?

“Probably Redvine.”

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PHOTO BY CHRIS CHAN

Ernesto Leon

What draws you to science rather than any other subject?

“Science has the ability to ask questions that normally wouldn’t be asked in many other subjects. It has more of a practical application. There’s actually something to work [toward].”

What or who encouraged you to become a science teacher?

“Growing up, I did not know what I wanted to do. I knew I liked math and science from a young age, and a teacher in helped me develop [my passion for science] in middle school.”

If you could teach any other subject, what would it be and why?

“If I were qualified, it would have to be quantum physics. I would like to have a class where we talk about all the possibilities of using computer software, quantum physics and even quantum chemistry in some level to build devices that are going to drive artificial intelligence.”

What does being a teacher mean to you?

“Being a teacher has different meanings at different times. Sometimes, it’s more about interacting with the next generation of people who are motivated and interested in learning a subject and inspiring students to pursue a career in the path. The other part has a lot to do with exposing students to things they have never seen before.”

How do you hope to influence your students?

“I think the best influence is being a good role model, [teaching them the path] to college and what it takes to succeed and upping the rigor. I would like everyone to [pursue science] but that’s not idealistic. Basically, I would say have a good time but [knowing] and [understanding] that there’s going to be challenges [that must be overcome] is more important than anything else.”

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PHOTO BY CHRIS CHAN

Chris Pham

What is your favorite part about being a science teacher?

“I love nature, so I want students to appreciate the beauty of the world around us.”

How do you hope to influence your students?

“To be the best that [the students] can be for that particular day.”

How long have you been teaching science?

“Since 2001, so 18 years.”

How do you maintain a social life outside of your career?

“I don’t have a social life. My only social life is only with family and nature.”

What was your favorite subject as a student?

“I loved English.”

If you could teach any other subject, what would it be and why?

“Auto Mechanics because I love to work with cars. Instead of buying new things, I like to fix them.”

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PHOTO BY CHRIS CHAN

Justin Ro

What draws you to science rather than any other subject?

“In science, there are always multiple ways to do things and multiple right answers. [I enjoy] the experience of investigating and being able to figure things out.”

What is your most memorable experience as a science teacher?

“My most memorable moment is when students figure out how to solve a particular problem and when they tell me that it works. Especially with my engineering classes, when they build their circuit or their mechanical systems, they are so proud when it works and are able to share that with me.”

What was your biggest challenge in becoming a teacher?

“The biggest challenge, especially teaching in science, is with the development of the next generation of science standards, students have to go from just memorizing or being able to solve problems to actually doing the science, figure things out and set up the labs. Students not only have to tell what the right answer is but also be able to show the path they need to take to solve [the problem].”

How do you hope to influence your students?

“I hope to influence them so they love science and by loving science, they have a better scientific [mindset]. I would love to influence them to go into engineering or some sort of field of science since that’s where a lot of the jobs are in nowadays. I hope they can major in STEM so they can make a global impact later on as they continue on in college and their career.”

What was your favorite subject as a student?

“My favorite subject was math. Math always [has] an answer, so it’s kind of like being a detective where you solve everything step-by-step until you reach the conclusion. That’s also why I like teaching, so I can [guide] to students through investigating their hypotheses.”

Jinasha Udeshi

What draws you to science rather than any other subject?

“You can make [science] come to life. In subjects [such as] history, you’re retelling someone else’s life, but with science, you can play with it, read about it, manipulate it, predict things with it and really bring it to life.”

What or who encouraged you to become a science teacher?

“I actually had a terrible AP Biology teacher in high school and I was so discouraged because I really loved biology. But I had an amazing English teacher, so that drew me to teaching.”

What was your biggest challenge in becoming a teacher?

“The first few years [of teaching] are really challenging. But the cool thing is that every day is different and every period is different, so I never got bored. Grading is still hard; it’s the most draining part of my day.”

How do you hope to influence your students?

“I hope they learn skills such as how to read data, how to interpret data, how to carry out an analysis and how to read a difficult textbook. I hope they see how much I love what I do and how [important] it is to be passionate about what you do.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I read a lot on parenting because I feel like that is so challenging for me. I can do my job at Wilson with high school students, but being a mom to an 8-year-old and 10-year-old is exhausting. My kids are behaving exactly as they should be, but I am also trying to be the best parent I can be.”

What is the craziest moment you had in the classroom?

“In my first two years of teaching, I accidentally drugged my students. They were supposed to blow into this vessel so the [carbon dioxide] would change the color of the liquid, but they sucked [the liquid] in. Their tongues got numb, students were throwing up and [I had to call poison control].”

Sharon Wu

What is your most memorable experience as a teacher?

“Getting to know the kids and their interests outside of the classroom.”

What or who encourage you to become a science teacher?

“My major was in science, and I had a college professor that encouraged me to teach.”

What does being a teacher mean to you?

“Getting to know the kids, helping the kids out and treating the kids like young adults.”

What is the hardest part about being a science teacher?

“Getting students interested in science because often students are not [interested].”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I like to hang around my son and we like to play Roblox together.”

What was your favorite subject as a student?

“As a student, my favorite subjects were astronomy and astrophysics.”

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PHOTO BY CANDICE LEE

Patricia Branconier-Habash

Why did you want to become a biology teacher?

“I have always had an interest in science, knowing facts and how things work and function. Science has always been something I have been curious about way before STEM was a big thing, but it is was something that really interested me early on starting fifth grade.”

What is your favorite memory while being a teacher?

“As a teacher, my favorite memory so far is watching my classes get over their fear of the fetal pig dissection, embrace it and ultimately make the lab a fun learning experience.”

What is your favorite food?

“Enchiladas”

If you had one day to yourself, what would you do?

“To be very honest, I would probably spend the day at the spa by myself.”

 

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PHOTO BY CANDICE LEE

Mark Fessenden

What is your favorite song?

“‘Just The Way You Are’ by Billy Joel because it is me and my wife’s song.”

What is one of your favorite student encounters?

“I have had so many incredible students across the board and I do not think I could pick one. I have had so many students that have come so far from where they started to where they ended and I watched them improved. I do not think I could pick one.”

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

“Just helping people get excited about science. It sounds cliché because so many teachers would say that, but seeing the light come on after a difficult concept where a student gets it. Also,  it is fun just trying to figure out how to teach difficult concepts where they understand it and they can enjoy it and apply it to the world.

What is your favorite dessert?

“My wife’s German chocolate cake.”

Jung Han

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

“More money I guess, so that I would not have to worry about retirement or anything like that.”

What is your favorite dessert?

“Ice cream.”

What made you want to follow this career path?

“I did not really know what I wanted to do in high school, so I first started off thinking I wanted to be a marine biologist, but then I found out they make do not make a lot of money and it would be hard to support a family. During that time I was coaching badminton and since I liked coaching I decided to try teaching. I got my credentials, became a teacher and so far I have loved it.”

What are some favorite memories while being a teacher?

“Just seeing student’s success. For example, in [the Biomedical Sciences] pathway, we try to get students to be more proactive to get professionals to coach them and to get internships and sponsorship. Just seeing some of the students succeed in that and the look on their faces are probably some of  my most memorable memories.”

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PHOTO BY CANDICE LEE

Sean Kane

What are some of your favorite TV shows?

The Walking Dead, Survivor and Spartan Races programs”

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet?

“Joe Torry or Joe Matten.”

What is one of your favorite experiences with students?

“I like to [watch students work hard and struggle on the material until] they suddenly get this look on their face where their eyes light up and you can see the light bulb go off. This happens to students at different stages, but this is one of the greatest things ever when you get that experience.”

What is your favorite part of teaching?

“Student interactions; I just like to be around the students [because]they are amazing. It is fun listening and working with them.”

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