by Sarah Goraya
Ms. Moore is the new Chemistry teacher this year, teaching sections of Honors Chem and AP Chem. This Tuesday I sat down with her in the chem room, and with a symphony of toddler wails from the ITC in the background, interviewed her to get to know her better. Here is our conversation:
*Note: Answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.
So this is your first year at HB. How long have you been teaching?
I taught physical science at the high school level for one other year besides this one but I’ve been teaching chemistry at the college level for about 3 years.
When did you decide that chemistry was what you wanted to do?
I actually started college at Youngstown State as a pre-med major so I always thought I wanted to go to medical school after my four years of college. It was my second year of college and I was taking organic chemistry, which was required as a pre-med. I had a wonderful professor who was enthusiastic and passionate about the subject and it was contagious – I just really loved learning chemistry and it solidified in that class. At that point I asked him if I could do research with him in his lab on campus and he said yes. Once I started doing research in his lab, I changed my major, immediately, to chemistry and decided that I probably wanted to go to graduate school for chemistry instead of medical school.
Now you’re here at HB – what’s your favorite part about HB?
My favorite part about HB is actually a love-hate relationship. The schedule at HB is very hard, I’m sure on the students, but for the teachers it presents another obstacle when you’re planning because you have to factor in these other things like drop-days and extended periods and stuff like that. But I actually love it because I love seeing my students at different times of day, like seeing their different energies, and I think it’s a nice way to provide variety for the students and faculty.
Another thing, I just really appreciate the high level of engagement from the students. They’re just very much self-starters, motivated, and they care about what they’re doing. That’s very refreshing, and it keeps me motivated too.
You said you like seeing students at different energies. Are you a morning person or a night person?
I think my morning classes probably see my highest level of energy. I kind of need to wake up a little bit, have my coffee, but once I do, and that chemistry happens with the caffeine, I’m very ready to go!
What is your favorite coffee?
Typically I don’t purchase my coffee from somewhere else in the morning, I just brew some in my Keurig (#notsponsored) but I’d say my favorite are… you know the whole Dunkin’ Donuts vs. Starbucks debate? I’m definitely on the Dunkin Donuts side.
Staying on the subject of food, what do you think of the food here?
I love the food here. It’s very special for me because I actually have Celiac disease so I have to have a strict gluten-free diet and it’s really hard to eat at places other than my home because of that constraint. At HB, they’re very accomodating of all dietary constraints, they label things very well, and they’re very good about avoiding contamination. So I couldn’t be happier – there’s actually options for me beyond, like, salads which are gluten-free.
What is your favorite food?
It’s broad, but I really like Chinese food and Thai food.
What activities did you do when you were in high school?
When I was in high school, I was a tennis player. I was also in our orchestra – I played violin. I also was obviously in Science Club, I loved science from a really young age. I was a member of our National Honors Society. Those were the core things. At HB you guys have a lot of opportunities that we didn’t have at my school so I would definitely do SREP if I went to HB now.
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I would say my favorite thing to do would just be to probably play a game. My fiance and I are very big on Bananagrams right now. He was an English major in college so it’s kind of fun to battle him. Or watch TV, I’m a big fan of The Office. I like to read occasionally some non-science things. I try to work out, like, when it happens. (Same, Ms. Moore. Same.)
If you could travel or live anywhere, where would you?
I don’t travel too much but I would definitely love to explore other parts of the world. I am Polish so I would love to go to Poland and try to find out my ancestry, like where they lived in Poland and visit that area and learn about it. My fiance is Lebanese and we also talk about going to Lebanon sometimes, so definitely our countries of origin would be really fun. Aside from that I would also love to go to the Galapagos Islands.
Can you speak any other languages?
I studied Spanish all through high school and it was my minor in college. While I don’t consider myself fluent in Spanish, I can speak it.
Do you have a go-to outfit?
Basically a dress and a cardigan and a pair of flats.
What’s your favorite color?
Purple! I like them in a plummy purple, like deeper purple.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I would want to have the ability to bring peace. Yeah. Anywhere, at any time, resolve conflict. I think I want my superpower to have an effect beyond myself, just because if you’re gonna get a superpower, you should probably share it with other people.
Do you have a motto? Something you like to live by, or a quote you like?
I guess one of my tenants is to affect positive change where I go. Whether that’s helping when I can if students are struggling, trying to volunteer or talking through something difficult with a family member if they’re having a hard time with something. I’d like my students to know I can be there for them and try to positively support them.
Finally, do you have any other interesting facts about yourself?
I’m about to publish my first publication! My graduate research advisor and I wrote an education paper in chemistry education. Our manuscript has been accepted and it will be published in the journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education probably within the year. At least, I think it’s interesting!
After this interview, she proceeded to ask me if I had enough material to write this article. Considering this is the transcript after a bunch of cuts, definitely. With a capital D. We are so happy that Ms. Moore joined HB this year, and I am so glad that I had the chance to learn and share about her outside of academics. Make sure to say hey when you see her in the hallway!