Renz teaches Pre-AP Biology, AP Biology and Human Anatomy at Foster High School in the Tukwila School District, a small suburb just south of Seattle. A study by The New York Times in 2010 found Tukwila to be the most diverse school district in the United States.
Question 1: Why did you decide to teach?
Answer: I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. My mom was a teacher and I saw the impact she had on students’ lives. I wanted to do that, too.
Question 2: What do you do to remain current and bring the latest science into the classroom?
Answer: I recently had the opportunity to work for two summers in a “real” lab studying cerebral malaria. Bringing real-life research experience into the classroom has made science real for my students. I also subscribe to peer-reviewed journals like Science so students can have access to the latest research.
Question 3: What do you find most compelling about your job?
Answer: I am most proud of the work I do with underrepresented students in science. My honors and AP classes reflect the diversity of the school. Sixty percent of my students are female, 90 percent are students of color, and over 70 percent are non-native English speakers. I have a ton of students who decide to pursue a STEM-related career or college major.
Question 4: What fuels your passion for science and teaching?
Answer: The students. Many are coming from refugee camps. They deserve to have the best education. I strive to give them that love of learning through my passion for the science fields.
Question 5: Tell us about a hobby or passion outside of work.
Answer: Being on or under the water, either on my boat or SCUBA diving, is how I escape. There is nothing that beats the feeling of weightlessness as you drift in the underwater world.
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