This school year has seen an influx of new faculty and teachers at Sequoyah’s high school, among them Kate Schafer, the biology teacher.
Schafer grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and expected to become a vet because she “always loved animals and being around animals.” But after taking a marine biology class during a summer in Cape Cod, she fell in love with marine biology and ecology. She observed, “What’s not to love, right? I mean it’s about how living organisms work and function and there’s endless things to be curious about with regards to that.” She continued to learn about those subjects and engage in many volunteer experiences, including a time where she “worked for a nonprofit that was setting up a marine protected area in Jamaica.” She “had a lot of teaching opportunities starting as an undergraduate and those really helped [her] to see first of all how much [she] enjoyed teaching, but also what a rewarding experience it was.”
Before coming to Sequoyah, Schafer taught in the Bay Area at a school in Silicon Valley for 15 years and was hopeful that Sequoyah would be a place that “would allow me to teach in … the way I knew that science should be taught: by doing science, by engaging with science in a way that did not involve me standing up in front of the class and relaying information.” Reflecting on her experience this year, she noted, “All of my hopes around being able to teach biology in a way that allowed students to engage with the material in a more meaningful way have been realized and I’m super excited for…what that will look like moving forward.”
Schafer loves the outdoors and is looking forward to the sophomore trip to Alaska. “It’ll be the first real travel adventure that I’ve had since February 2020,” she said. She also loves running, backpacking, and swimming, and recently has been “doing a lot of nature journaling and working on my drawing and painting skills.”
If you see Schafer around campus, be sure to say hi!