By: Haneesha Paruchuri, Jo-Jo Feng, David Lisk, Rebecca Geiger, Heidi Dong
For this academic year, IMSA replaced a significant number of faculty members. And over the remainder of this semester, the Acronym will be profiling all of the new teachers and introducing them to the IMSA community. So, without further ado, welcome the new chemistry, social science, and world language departments’ faculty members.
“I’m as much a student in education as an educator. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with students and participating in their mastery of the subject” says Dr. Thurmond, the new Chemistry teacher. His words hold true since he left the industrial side of chemistry to have a full time teaching career. He previously worked in drug discovery with a pharmaceutical company located in Woodridge, IL. Although great, it wasn’t the job for him. He spent the last six years teaching at Plainfield North High School and a couple of area colleges before he came to IMSA. Dr. Thurmond was quickly welcomed since his interests in learning matched that of many IMSA students. He likes how IMSA students are self disciplined and eager to learn. With IMSA’s focus on student inquiry and research, Dr. Thurmond is excited about the present opportunity to resume research while helping student research.
Dr. Thurmond lives in Aurora with his wife and three children. His hobbies include driving his three children to their chosen sport, learning new math and science concepts, and reading about and watching soccer.
Meet Dr. Kitty Lam, the newest member of the Social Science department. Teaching at IMSA is quite a change for Dr. Lam since she has never taught at the K-12 level. Before coming to IMSA, she taught World History, European History and Soviet History at Michigan State University. Dr. Lam grew up in Canada and her perspective of high school is different from our experiences. Despite the differences she really likes it here, especially teaching the IMSA students. “They are such interesting, well-rounded individuals. They all have so many fascinating hobbies. It’s nice to see that students want to be here and want to challenge themselves to do better” says Dr. Lam. Her students’ enthusiasm made her realize that she could teach in the same manner as she would at a liberal arts college. But don’t worry, she understands that we “are still teenagers dealing with the emotion challenges of…well, being a teenager.” Therefore, Dr. Lam tries to see students outside of class and get a sense of the IMSA experience.
“Tell me about events – sports, music, cultural events, you name it! I will do my best to attend” says Dr. Lam. It’s amazing to see a teacher put in this kind of effort to relate to her students.
Fiona Spence, also known as Madame Spence to her French students, is from Chicago, and after living in several different places over the past decade, she has returned to Chicago and currently resides in the Lake View neighborhood. Madame Spence studied at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, for her undergrad, later studying abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris. She then returned to Illinois for her certification to teach in Illinois at De Paul University, Chicago.
Before becoming a teacher, Madame Spence worked in business. She has taught at a French elementary school, at a middle years program (grades 6-9) at an international baccalaureate school in Idaho, at the Chicago High School for the Arts, and as of this year, at IMSA, where she teaches French 2 and 3. “Teaching is such an interesting job that fully engages me,” she says. “I get to work with a lot of people and share a language and culture that I love.” Her favorite part of IMSA? “The community – the students, parents, fellow teachers and administration! Everyone is great!”
你好老师。Meet Ms. Zhang, the new Mandarin Chinese teacher. Born in Shandong province in China, Ms. Zhang has been speaking Mandarin all her life. She’s lived in Shanghai, Indiana, and Chicago, teaching in all these places. She has taught Economics, Mathematics, English and Mandarin. At IMSA, she teaches both Mandarin 1 and 3 students. When asked about her favorite aspect of teaching at IMSA, she replies, “I like how the IMSA students are independent and interested. They initiate participating in the class by asking intellectual questions.” IMSA has many talented students and the world language curriculum of complete immersion is more focused on the students. “I think that everyone is lucky to be attending IMSA” says Ms. Zhang. Let’s thank her kind words and welcome her to the IMSA community.
Look out for more teacher profiles in the future!