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  • Writer's pictureOscar Amos

(S)haping (T)omorrow's (E)ngineering (M)inds: An Interview with Ms. Weigle

(Get to Know pt. 11)

For the past 15 years, Ms. Weigle has been an integral part of Parker School and its STEM department. ⁤Her diverse background, which intertwines a plethora of experiences, is exemplarily integrated into her classroom. Drawing from her extensive career in bioengineering, her dedication to excellence goes beyond her classroom, acting as a role model and inspiration for STEM students. ⁤⁤

Ms. Weigle's journey at Parker School has been just as multifaceted. ⁤⁤From her initial roles as an advancement and marketing associate to her time as a webmaster, she has demonstrated flexibility and a willingness to embrace new challenges. ⁤⁤This interview delves into Ms. Weigle's journey to being a teacher, exploring the various stops along the way–all contributing to who she is now. ⁤

  1. What inspired you to pursue a bachelor's degree in bioengineering?

I attended the University of California, San Diego right after high school. I was undecided and wanted to have the opportunity to explore some different options for my area of focus. I enrolled in a history class, a psychology class, an economy class, and a chemistry class for my first quarter. No surprise the chemistry class was my favorite. As I began to look into majors, bioengineering was the most interesting to me. I was very excited about helping people live better lives through medical enhancements.

  1. What motivated you to transition from bioengineering to teaching chemistry and math?

I wanted to explore the teaching profession when I moved to the Big Island. I was not able to continue working in the bioengineering field when I moved to Waimea over 20 years ago. If I could not work in the field I loved, I thought it would be fun to teach math and science concepts to others.

  1. Did you ever envision yourself as a teacher in Hawai’i, and what brought you here?

I moved here because I met my husband here when my friends and I came on vacation. I would have never imagined I would end up living in Hawaii. I feel so lucky to live here.

  1. How did your experience as a development engineer influence your teaching approach in chemistry?

I loved my job as a development engineer. I felt passionate about the work we were doing and I enjoyed being in the lab. My past experiences make me want to help students find a field that interests them. I think chemistry is fascinating and fun, and I hope that my students feel the same way. I want students to leave my class with enough lab experience to be comfortable and safe in any lab environment. 

  1. How have you utilized your background in marketing and consulting roles in your teaching career?

I was very lucky to work in the marketing field, and it was that experience that first led me to work at Parker School. I feel fortunate to have had a role in the Advancement Office, I gained insight into how important the advancement and marketing offices are to the school. 

  1. What are some of your favorite topics to teach in chemistry and math, and why?

One of my favorite topics in chemistry is stoichiometry because it is when so many seemingly unrelated topics all come together…writing and balancing chemical equations, calculating mole quantities, molar mass, etc. I also enjoy teaching thermodynamics because students are able to actually feel the change in temperature of the surroundings. It is nice to have something students can see/feel/measure for themselves. 

In Algebra 1, I enjoy teaching systems of linear equations. So many of the other concepts all come together at the same time.   

  1. If you could teach any one of your hobbies as a class (aside from math or chemistry), what would it be, and why?

I like to go on walks/hikes with my dog, watch TV, and do puzzles. I am not sure any of those things would be offered as a class. 

  1. How do you foster an inclusive environment in the classroom?

I try to include everyone, give all students the same opportunity to learn. I try to be flexible when students have different needs, like using notes on assessments or listening to music to help focus. 

  1. Which topic in chemistry do you believe is the most applicable to everyday life?

I think that depends on what people do in everyday life. I guess solubility might be useful to most people most of the time, for example, if you want to dissolve an ionic compound (salt) you would use water, but if you want to dissolve a nonpolar compound, like an oil, you would use another nonpolar compound like a different oil or gasoline. Most people (hopefully) use soap or cleaner of some kind which is a surfactant with polar and nonpolar properties. 

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