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Philosophy teacher Sarah Lesson is one of four faculty members featured.

Philosophy teacher Sarah Lesson is one of four faculty members featured.

Philosophy teacher Sarah Lesson is one of four faculty members featured.

Philosophy teacher Sarah Lesson is one of four faculty members featured.

Charlotte Maxwell and Grant Wetmore

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Sarah Lesson, Philosophy

 

Q: What do you hope to accomplish here?

A: More than anything, I hope to be a small part of the story my students tell about how they fulfilled their dreams. It’s hard to say how grateful I am to join the community here at Santa Rosa Junior College and for the chance to share my passion and knowledge of philosophy in our classrooms.

Q: What was your dream job as a child?

A: For the first 12 years of my life I was sure I would be a veterinarian when I grew up. Sadly, I eventually realized that I’m not strong enough to see animals suffer, so I’d be useless in that field. But to this day, I’m amazed by people who are able to do that important work.

Q: What is your best college memory?

A: It’s hard to pick one. School is my happy place! Makes sense that I chose to be a teacher. Now I never have to leave college.

Q: What is your favorite junk food?

A: Easy, chocolate. Does wine count as junk food?

Q: What is the best career advice you’ve received?

A: It sounds corny. But if you’re able, pick a job that’s truly meaningful to you. Money can buy a lot of things, but it can’t buy you purpose or fulfillment.

Q: What inspired you to work in your chosen field?

A: Philosophy is one of the few places in life where the questions matter more than the answers. I continue to be inspired by my discipline because it invites us to cultivate an appreciation for uncertainty and complexity in a world that’s constantly trying to sell us vacuously simple, sure solutions.

Q: How do you relax at home?

A: I cook, bake, embroider, abuse a ukulele, hike, play video games and mostly snuggle with my dogs, Calliope and Persephone, who are my best friends, and my cats, Arthur and Jeremiah.

 

Lillian Rankins, Health Science

Q: What do you hope to accomplish at SRJC?

A: I want to be able to give to students the knowledge that I have gained over my 36 years of my nursing career and to learn from them. I want to show the students and the community what the college is standing for in this nursing program and to usher students into careers and help them be better prepared. I want to get involved in different clubs when I’m able to and just really come into the JC family. I want to give them my experience and take from their experience.

Q: If you eat eggs, how do you like them prepared?

A: Over-easy.

Q: What was your favorite class as an undergraduate?

A: Creative writing because I have a vivid imagination, and it gave me an outlet to express myself.

Q: What is the soundtrack to your life?

A: “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”

Q: What is the best career advice you’ve received?

A: Whatever I do, do it with my whole heart and my whole might. And to know that I am the eyes,  ears, mouth and hand in the heart of God and to give the best service I can.

Q: If you had $5 million how would you spend it?

A: After I pay my bills, I think I would like to invest in an unwed mothers program to get unwed mothers the opportunity to better themselves. It would be a program with accountability to start them off with jobs to help them get started.

 

Leon Hsu, Physics

Q: What do you hope to accomplish at SRJC?

A: To make a difference in students’ lives by helping them to succeed in physics. I used to be at a research intensive university and part of my reason for coming here was I really liked the teaching part of my job.

Q: If you eat eggs, how do you like them prepared?

A: I like them fried.

Q: What was your favorite class as an undergraduate?

A: I had a physics class called “Physics of Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear War,” and a couple other things. It has now taken on the less aggressive title of “Widely Applied Physics.” But, in that class, we looked at how physics could be used to get order of magnitude estimates for a wide variety of applications, from looking at how deep submarines could go, to how big the blast would be from a nuclear bomb, to how airplanes fly and how to design a plane that could fly at different speeds. To me that was really exciting.

Q: What is the best career advice you’ve received?

A: The best career advice I received was from an older professor at the University of Minnesota. He told me that I had to give myself permission to do things badly, because we all try to do everything as well as we can. But sometimes there’s too much to do and you do the best that you can, and if it doesn’t come out great, you have to say, “That’s OK, I’ll improve on it going forward.”

Q: What inspired you to work in your chosen field?

A: I had a job tutoring physics. I found that students, every semester, would come in with the same questions. So I felt like there should be something one could do to the physics classes to eliminate these common questions that students have. I became very interested in what you need to do in a physics class to learn the material.

Q: If you had $5 million, how would you spend it?

A: I have a lot of different ideas. I could use some of the money to support research in physics education. I could provide a foundation for scholarships for students in need who are interested in physics or the sciences.

 

John Kincheloe, English

Q: What do you hope to accomplish at SRJC?

A: I hope to encourage my students and the greater college community to appreciate the value of writing and the value of good critical thinking and to think about various political and social issues in a new and more exciting way. I’m really passionate about new media and technology, and how students participate with it in their own lives. I think part of my job is to be an advocate for writing and to think about how writing takes place in every classroom and the value of writing in students’ greater lives.

Q: If you eat eggs, how do you like them prepared?

A: Scrambled. I can only eat them scrambled. It’s so terrible. My wife always makes fun of me because she can eat them in all the different ways, but I can only eat them scrambled with a lot of cheese.

Q: What was your favorite class as an undergraduate?

A: I had so many. I went to UC Santa Barbara as an undergraduate, so the one I always talk about is a class I randomly took. It was film studies for general education. It was called Film Music. I thought we would be discussing scores of movies, like John Williams and Alexandre Desplat. But it turned out that the class was all about movies about music. It was taught by this film director from Hollywood who had spent her career doing indie films about the punk scene in Los Angeles. I’m really passionate about music and film, so taking that class was incredible. Our final for the class was to write a paper where we argued on behalf of our choices for a soundtrack to our lives.

Q: What is the soundtrack to your life?

A: I listen to everything. I started listening to Michael Jackson and pop music from the ‘90s. My dad is a big jazz fan, so I listened to a lot of jazz music in junior high. I listened to a lot of ska in high school and Ben Harper. From there, I got turned on to punk music and emo music, and then from there it developed into indie music. Now I just listen to blues and rock. My wife is really into country, so now I’m getting into country. It’s all over the place.

Q: What is the best career advice you’ve received?

A: The best career advice is to go into a job where you’re learning all the time. Another piece of advice, even if it’s to your detriment financially, is to do something that will improve your professional experience. When I was a master student, I decided to stay an extra year in the program because one of my mentors said, “if you’re getting professional experience, you should stay.” That made all the difference.

Q: What inspired you to work in your chosen field?

A: My dad. Both of my parents were teachers for their entire careers. After I got my BA, I went to Japan and taught English for a year. That made me really inspired to come back and get my credential so I could teach in America. From there, it developed into working with English and then feeling like I wanted to become a college instructor. And now here I am.

Q: If you had $5 million how would you spend it?

A: I always say I would pay off all my debt. My wife and I just bought a house, so I’d pay that off. Then I’d pay off my parents’ debt. Then I’d pay off my wife’s parents’ debt. Then if there was money left over, I’d buy a new car for us, and I’d put the rest in a savings fund for my new baby who’s coming in March.

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