I’m an alumnus of Rockhurst and then Creighton. At Creighton, I studied Atmospheric Science and liberation theology. While at university, I lead a student community focused on living out a faith that does justice through relational service and discernment. Ultimately, my Jesuit education “ruined me for life” by asking me to be a contemplative in action, to remain intentional in each thing I do. It brought me to strange places like the Dominican Republic as a student, and then for a year to Rwanda, where I served as a volunteer teacher at a Jesuit high School, St. Ignatius. I taught physics and algebra, and learned mostly successfully to co-exist with a monkey who liked to steal mangos from my room.
I’m prone to eating too many tacos al pastor and confidently telling you I know where I’m going when I’m actually lost. I like to travel/backpack and find it important to remaining the person I am. I especially like long walks; I’ve walked the Camino (and want to again) as well as the Congo-Nil trail. Traveling has nurtured a love of food in me, and I really enjoy making meals and sharing them with other people.
I am an active storm chaser and try to document a part of the world that few see directly. I remain absolutely fascinated by the underlying patterns in weather, and enjoy the difficulty of making a good forecast.
At Rockhurst, I spend most of my free time leading the science club and helping coach students on our FIRST robotics team.
Throughout my educational journey, I’ve consistently worked to braid my interests in science, social justice, and service. The question of how to do this led me to teaching, and back to the Rock. I work to mirror those questions in my classroom. High school students are still very much learning what gives them life and makes them the people they are. It’s important that we anchor those questions in the needs of our communities and the world. In my class, they are working to become better. However, they are not working to become “better than” another person, but rather “better for” them. They are working because the world needs them and the unique person they were created by God to be.
It’s important that students have authentic contact with the world that challenges them. I challenge students physically by leading them up mountains or across glaciers with our Outdoors Club. I challenge them academically by putting them in a lab and having them ask “what happens when?” I challenge students to put feet to the gospel and examine their world views through our TIE program, which I help lead to Tijuana each summer. I challenge students to become gentler people of conscience through our Kairos retreat program. In each thing I do, I work to challenge my students to do more - I challenge them to thrive.
Questions should be posed by the real problems of the world, and we need to be developing our skills and students so they can help shape the world into a more just and human place. Ultimately, I ask that students ask themselves “how different do I want to be?” and live out the answer to that question with their lives.
It’s noisy and kind of dirty (like most places I go, I guess). Maybe it looks a little like chaos (just not too much) because chaos can give rise to new ideas. It’s a place where the students are actually doing science, which means getting dirty, asking questions, sometimes failing. It is certainly an active place, with the tools and instruments to help us see the world differently. It’s a place where students can take a nagging interest and help cultivate it into a passion. What I’m saying is that my dream classroom is a representation of the world.
In the same breath, the world should be my classroom. Jesuit education calls for students to enter the gritty reality of the world and learn its stories. Science doesn’t happen in an academic pursuit but rather in an attempt to understand the world around us and our place within it. In that, my classroom should be a place of respect for each person in the room. It should be a place to have the support of a community as we each work to figure out a little more about the path we’re walking together.
My goals for STEAM are wrapped up in the words above. Ultimately, I want our students and teachers to be deeply creative people, people working tirelessly and joyfully to understand and improve the world around them. I want to give them the tools and skills they need to learn to approach complex situations and questions and embrace them, and find the deep life that comes from doing just that.