Mark's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    TEACH Roadtrip

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Alexandria, VA

MARK HANNUM

Neuroscience Lab Director
Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology

“Fear of the unknown is innate to humans; it's never going to go away. But you just have to kind of accept it and take that jump off the cliff.”

INTERESTS:

Education Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Education Experience Goals Passion Exploration Risk Acceptance Courage Choices Values Transitions Pride

FOUNDATION:

Teaching / Mentoring

TAGS:

advice, change, double major, experience, fear, goals, lab research, neuroscience, passion, physics, process, risk, success, teacher, teaching, technology, the unknown, thinking, travel, undergrad

BIOGRAPHY:

  • He was a math and physics double major and he was ready to enter the research field and become a professor.
  • One day, his advisor showed him an article that said that each American state only gains one new degreed physics teacher each year.
  • He decided, "Okay, I should devote some of my life to teaching these kids."
  • Before that, and his now-wife decided that they wanted to go explore Europe, and he got a job teaching in Austria.
  • That job gave him some time to learn the craft of teaching and mature as a person and as a teacher.
  • Afterwards, he returned to the U.S. to fulfill his goal of teaching physics; now runs a lab at one of the best public high schools in the country.
  • He always had his teaching goals in the back of his mind, but he never let those prevent him from pursuing big opportunities, like going to Europe.
  • He loves his work because the human brain contains so much mystery, and it's amazing to pass along that sense of wonder to his students.

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