The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

Original Art by Emily Dow
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Times Square traffic jam in New York City by joiseyshowaa on flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/joiseyshowaa/7454479488
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Jackie and her brother, Daniel.
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April 10, 2024

New Bio Teacher? Who’s that?

Getting To Know Dr. Asamani
Original Art by Mina Chioldi
Original Art by Mina Chioldi

At the start of our 2022-2023 school year, Dr. Asamani joined our school to teach Biology and AP biology as well as  Freshman Research. This may be her first year here at HSMSE, but she has been teaching high schoolers for 20 years, 19 of which were at the School for Excellence in the South Bronx. Throughout her teaching career, she’s usually taught Living Environment and Biology. However, she has also taught Chemistry, Earth Science, Forensic Science and Intro to Scientific Research.

Although mainly focused on life sciences, her experience in teaching different science classes raises a question: we all see the “Dr.” in her name, but what’s her doctorate in? Dr. Asamani earned an undergraduate degree in Biology and Molecular Biology, masters in Medical Informatics and Science education, and finally a doctorate in Science Education. This variety allows her to be a versatile science teacher, even at the college level, where she explains: “I teach biology, and I also teach pre-service graduate students, to teach them how to teach science.”

As a lifelong “STEM person” herself, Dr. Asamani gravitated towards HSMSE for its STEM focused curriculum and community. “I need a space with like minded progressive people that are interested in pushing the STEM agenda and making sure that children stay interested in the field so that we can have more, especially women, [in the field].” As one of the few female STEM teachers at our school, Dr. Asamani strives to “push and make space for more girls to pursue science careers.” She says that “being in this space will hopefully encourage other girls to cement their interests and say, ‘I see she did it, I can do it too.’ ” 

We already know that Dr. Asamani teaches Biology classes here at HSMSE, but what’s her favorite thing to teach within the subject? When asked this question she responded  “Any time I teach reproduction, I see that kids have a lot of questions and misconceptions that they bring into the classroom, and I welcome that. I respect your agency, what you’re bringing into the space that you occupy. Everybody is adding something to that space and that’s valuable.” She adds that, “some people want to believe how the world started scientifically, some say nooo, that’s not what the bible says. Those kinds of tensions that kids bring, they want to explore and I think it’s great and that helps them stay curious too.”

When I asked her for her first impressions of HSMSE’s school environment and the students, she immediately responded: “I love the students, I like their tenacity to learn, they stay curious, and most of all they’re kind to each other.” She also had some advice to share: “Don’t give up, I know we all went through COVID and so many changes have happened, you’re gonna have tough times, but it’s not the end of the world. I see that HSMSE kids always want to get the A+, but even if you aren’t, it’s not the end of the day. Use any failure in life as a stepping stone to be successful. If you have not failed, you have not succeeded. That’s my motto and that’s the saying I hold dear. The beginning may be rough but aim for a strong ending, it’s more important than the beginning.”

Dr. Asamani got into the sciences because of her own curiosity about how the world works, which she now nurtures and encourages in her students. “From childhood, I have always been very curious. I ask very intuitive questions about the world around me. I know, especially my mom, used to [get] so mad, cuz I would ask the craziest questions and she was lost for answers. She was just like, ‘I don’t know, go ask God’ ” Dr. Asamani has dedicated her career – as a teacher and scientist – to pursuing those crazy questions. “That sort of curiosity took me in that direction to try to understand the world around me. Yeah I didn’t go into physical science but I ended up in life sciences. However there’s so much to learn, try and figure out how everything is all put together”.

As a final question, I asked Dr. Asamani what she would want people to know about herself, and she said, “I’m a fun loving person, I love to laugh, I love to explore, I’m a traveler, I love to see the world. I like to know what’s going on around me so I can make it my business [and] build my knowledge base of everything that I possibly can. I like to know what’s happening, whether it’s finance, science, the climate, I like to know what’s going on around me. Sometimes my friends get mad because I ask so many questions, but it’s just because I want to satisfy my appetite for knowledge and information.”

I personally have Dr. Asamani as a teacher, and in her classroom, she tries to promote critical thinking and positivity, motivating us to find answers to questions ourselves. We have had many projects that foster our creativity and our curiosity, provoking us to do our own research. Dr. Asamani is a fortunate addition to this school whom I think all students should eventually meet.

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