This year, IMSA is excited to welcome Ms. Lassandra Walker to the science faculty as an Advanced Biological Systems (ABS) and Methods in Scientific Inquiry (MSI) teacher. With a strong background and interest in studying diseases and physiology, Ms. Walker looks forward to teaching her expertise and favorite subjects in her first year, while applying what she has learned from over seven years of teaching at the college level to her work at IMSA.
Ms. Walker has taught for fifteen years, starting at the college level; in 2015-26, she transitioned to secondary education. Ms. Walker’s background at colleges included teaching at Indiana University Northwest, Governor State University, and East-West University, where she believes she developed a large number of skills that would be valuable for IMSA students. In her time as a secondary school teacher with experience from pre-K through twelfth grade, Ms. Walker believes she developed the abilities necessary to understand students’ learning styles and inspire them in the world of science. Ms. Walker describes how “I am already adapting to the college-preparatory environment where students are smart and independent, where my experience at the college level is more applicable.” She describes how her teaching career has impacted her, explaining the joy of seeing students succeed in biology and then returning to her with gratitude, and inspiring them to become scientists.
Similar to the rewarding feeling of teaching, Ms. Walker also worked during the peak of the pandemic in CORE, (Community Organized Relief Effort) a humanitarian organization created by actor Sean Penn to support people during their hardest times. Ms. Walker is thankful to have been able to work in this organization as she enjoyed the feeling of service to the community outside of teaching, all while knowing the risks of working in the field before the arrival of the first COVID vaccine, with cases at an all-time high. Experiences like this continue to drive Ms. Walker to achieve more in her teaching career and help students succeed in the sciences.
Ms. Walker believes that IMSA is an incredible environment for her to help students prosper, as she believes getting a chance to prepare them for college levels of science in high school is a major advantage and as a teacher who already has been at that level, she knows the best ways to nurture these students for strong careers. Currently, Ms. Walker is teaching ABS and MSI, where she already aims to apply some of her college experiences to match the independence of her students; in the second semester, she will be teaching pathophysiology. One of her goals is to teach microbes and disease in her future at IMSA.
Ms. Walker also aspires to propose ideas in the future for new science courses at IMSA, including toxicology, immunology, and public health (epidemiology). A large part of Ms. Walker’s learning has been focused in these fields, and she believes these can be a fresh addition to the biology curriculum. From her view, toxicology would not be entirely focused on the understanding of drugs or poisons, but instead cover a spectrum of causes for harmful effects to humans from foods and liquids to materials. Immunology would also be an interesting topic to discover for students, since this would deeply analyze the immune system and its response to antigens, germs, etc. Public health has recently risen as a topic of interest, which deals with the impact, analysis, and control of epidemics, and Ms. Walker believes her experience studying and being a part of supporting the community during the COVID pandemic are strong qualifications for teaching this course. Ms. Walker hopes that her enthusiasm moving forward at IMSA will allow her to accomplish these goals and help her students find success in biology.